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Motorcycle & Harley-Davidson Memorabilia, Advertising to Highlight Petroliana Sale

by Special to WorthPoint (08/13/13).

Three mid-20th century Servi-Car “trikes” (three-wheel motorcycles), including the one shown, will be sold at an auction hosted by Matthews Auctions on Wednesday, Aug. 28.

DAVENPORT, Iowa. – A single-owner lifetime collection of motorcycle memorabilia—much of it Harley-Davidson and to include vintage clothing, posters, accessories, parts, signs and even three operational Servi-Car three-wheelers—will be sold at an auction hosted by Matthews Auctions on Wednesday, Aug. 28.

The auction will be held at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 5202 Brady Street in Davenport, at 10 a.m. (CST). In addition to the motorcycle items, the sale will also feature nearly 100 examples of porcelain and painted petroliana, automobilia and antique advertising signs. For those unable to attend, Internet bidding will be facilitated by Proxibid. Telephone and absentee bids will also be accepted.

The three three-wheelers—or “trikes,” as they’re called—are from the mid-1900s (two are circa 1950s; the other was made in 1965). They are Servi-Cars, three-wheelers often used by the police or owned as novelty vehicles by the general public. All three are operational and could conceivably be driven off the auction site. They are expected to gavel for $7,000-$15,000 each.

This Harley-Davidson Motorcycles vintage cardboard sign, professionally framed, circa 1915, carries a presale estimate of $4,000-$5,000.

Harley-Davidson signs will feature a vintage cardboard sign, framed, made circa 1915 and reading “J.D. Dickerson, Rural Home” (est. $4,000-$5,000); a Sales-Service single-sided embossed tin sign (“Leo N. Herrick, Rochester, N.Y.”), with bar-and-shield logo, circa ’20s/’30s (est. $3,000-$4,000); and a Sales-Service double-sided metal flange sign (est. $4,000-$5,000).

Accessories (all circa 1930s-50s) will include a rare Harley-Davidson mini wind sock (est. $3,000-$4,000); a Harley-Davidson metal bottle opener and spinner, in the form of a man on a motorcycle (est. $750-$1,000); a combination motorcycle grip and cigarette lighter (est. $1,000-$1,200); a Harley-Davidson pocket knife (est. $300-$500); and a brass fender mount fixture of a spread-wing eagle with Harley-Davidson bar-and-shield logo (est. $1,500-$2,000).

A great selection of 50 to 70 vintage motorcycle clothing items will be offered, for prices expected to bring $300 and up. These include an Atlanta Motorcycle Club jacket with Antique Motorcycles of America (AMA) patch; a Twin States Ramblers child’s leather jacket; and a full uniform, complete with pins, insignias and a cap stitched with the words “Road Kings” on it.

This Shepherd’s Cleaners-Launderers single-sided porcelain sign with shepherd tending to his flock, could sell for between $4,000 and 5,000.

A group of felt pennants will also come up for bid and should fetch $1,500-$2,000 each. These will include ones for the A.M.A. Motorcycle Gypsy Tour (Belknap Mt. Area, Laconia, Gilford, N.H.); the Old Orchard Beach Maine Gypsy Tour (N.E. Champ Races, 1940); Indian Motorcycles (Hendee Mfg. Co., Springfield, Mass., with graphic of a smiling Indian); and Indian Motorcycles (Walter Goerke, Newark, N.J.), this one with a depiction of a stern-faced Indian.

A collection of vintage Harley-Davidson and Indian one-quart oil cans should hammer for around $200-$700 per can, while 30-40 other lots of oil cans and accessories will also cross the auction block. Also sold will be after-market accessories (all pertaining to Buco), such as Buco leather motorcycle gloves, Buco motorcycle goggles and after-market accessory catalogs.

This Ben-Hur Grocer (“The Sign of a Dependable Grocer”) double-sided porcelain sign, is estimated to bring between $7,000 and $10,000.

Also sold will be an after-market stop light with traffic cop and American flag graphic, for car or motorcycle mounting, about 8 inches in diameter (est. $1,000-$1,500); a very retro and colorful space-ship design hood ornament for car or motorcycle, metal, made in the 1940s or ’50s (est. $1,000-$1,500); and a genuine 1907 bicycle used for mail delivery RFD (Rural Free Delivery) in Carlisle, Pa. The bike, with wooden rims, is expected to hammer for $2,000-$4,000. 

Petroliana signs will feature a group of Signal Gasoline single-sided porcelain pump plate signs, all about 12 inches in diameter and all expected to bring $1,200-$2,000 each; a William Penn Motor Oils (Permit No. 29) double-sided porcelain sign (“100% Pure Pennsylvania Oil”), 24 inches in diameter (est. $5,000-$7,000); an En-ar-co Motor Oil (“White Rose Gasoline”) single-sided round porcelain sign, with graphic of a man in short checkered pants (est. $2,000-$3,000); and a Husky Hi-Power single-sided porcelain sign with dog image (est. $5,000-$6,000). 

Advertising signs will include a Ben-Hur Grocer double-sided porcelain sign (“Full Line Agency – The Sign of a Dependable Grocer”), with graphics of Ben-Hur coffee, tea and other products (est. $7,000-$10,000); and a Povely (“Baby First Best Milk”) single-sided porcelain sign with image of a baby clutching a bottle and smiling (est. $5,000-$7,000). Also sold will be a group of black memorabilia cast-iron banks, all circa 1880-1920, by J. & E. Stevens and others.

Matthews has written a book about petroliana, titled “The Fine Art of Collecting and Displaying Petroliana.” For more information on how to order a copy, or to know about this and upcoming auctions, call 877.968.8880, e-mail to danm@matthewsauctions.com or visit the Matthews Auctions website.


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