Rare ’40s Beacon Ethyl Gasoline Sign Could Rev Bids up to $60,000 in Petrolina Auction

This rare early ’40s Beacon Ethyl Gasoline single-sided porcelain die-cut sign with lighthouse-shaped design, rated 9, is expected to bring between $40,000 and $60,000 at the Fall Peotone Petroliana & Automobilia Auction slated for Thursday and Friday, Oct. 17-18, by Matthews Auctions, LLC.

PEOTONE, Ill. – A rare Beacon Ethyl Gasoline single-sided porcelain sign with a die-cut lighthouse-shaped design, made around 1940 and in remarkable condition (rated 9 out of 10) is expected to command between $40,000 and $60,000 at the Fall Peotone Petroliana & Automobilia Auction slated for Thursday and Friday, Oct. 17-18, by Matthews Auctions, LLC.

The two-day event will be held in Peotone, Ill., prior to the beginning of the Chicagoland Petroleum & Advertising Show—held twice a year, always in Peotone. The action will kick off on Thursday evening, Oct. 17, at 6 p.m. (CST), with 200 lots of petroliana (gas station collectibles) and automobilia. Another 450 lots will cross the block on Friday, Oct. 18, starting at 11:30 a.m.

The Beacon Ethyl Gasoline sign—measuring 48 inches by 30 inches and boasting great gloss and color—is similar to one Matthews Auctions sold at the Peotone auction this past spring (Feb. 28-Mar. 1). The one in this sale, though, is seen as a superior example. It is the expected top lot of the auction, although other pieces in the sale carry pre-sale estimates nearly as high.

One is an exceedingly rare Rickenbacker Authorized Flat Rate Service double-sided porcelain sign (it carries a pre-sale estimate of $25,000-$35,000). The sign says, “A car worthy of its name,” a reference to the auto maker’s famous founder, Eddie Rickenbacker, the highly decorated First World War flying ace. The sign, rated a high 9+, shows the firm’s iconic logo and measures 16 inches by 30 inches.

Another is a scarce double-sided porcelain die-cut sign for Rand McNally Official Hotel, with a graphic of a Native American drawing on a wall (est. $25,000-$30,000). The sign, rated 9, measures 17 inches by 14 inches and features super gloss and color, with just a few chips at the top edge. It is the most common of the five types produced, and was probably made in the 1920s.

Vying for top lot honors will also be a Clipper Gasoline double-sided porcelain sign, oval and vertical in shape and impressive at 60 inches by 30 inches (est. $30,000-$40,000).

“This is one of the hardest petroliana signs to find,” said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions of the Clipper sign. “I know of only two that sold privately in the past five years and they were in the same condition or maybe less.”

A Wyeth Tires single-sided porcelain curved shield-shaped sign, rated near-mint at 9+ and showing a whimsical graphic of a boy in early driving gear sitting in a stack of tires, has a pre-sale estimate of $20,000 to $25,000. The 22-inch by 18-inch sign is marked “Wyeth Hdwe. & Mfg. Co., St. Joseph, Mo.” and “Burdick Consumer Building, Chicago and Beaver Falls, Pa.”

This Clipper Gasoline double-sided oval vertical porcelain sign with seaplane graphics, rated 7.5 may challenge for the top lot with an estimate of $30,000 and $40,000.

This Mohawk (Gasoline) single-sided porcelain tombstone-shaped sign mounted on a can, rated 9, carries a pre-sale estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.

This Rand McNally Official Hotel double-sided porcelain die-cut sign with Indian graphics, rated 9, could bring between $25,000 and $30,000.

A Mohawk Gasoline single-sided tombstone-shaped neon sign mounted on a can, rated 9, 52 inches by 44 inches and with a graphic of an Indian with a single feather, with the can new and the neon in working condition, should make between $20,000 and $30,000; and an Oilzum Motor Oils (“The Cream of Pure Pennsylvania Oil”) double-sided porcelain sign with logo, rated 9 and 8.75, 24 inches in diameter, with both sides showing nice gloss and color, should hit somewhere around $15,000 to $20,000.

Another lot deserving special mention is an original Auburn Sales and Service porcelain flange sign, rated 9.5, 15 inches by 22 inches and with excellent gloss and color (est. $10,000-$15,000).

“This is an authentic Auburn flange sign,” Matthews said. “Most of the Auburn signs you see are flat, single-sided reproduction signs. But this one is guaranteed the real deal.”

This Rickenbacker (“A car worthy of its name”) double-sided porcelain sign, rated near mint at 9+, could hammer for $25,000 to $35,000.

The venue for the auction (same as for the Chicagoland show) is located off Exit 327 off Interstate 57. The address is 710 West Street in Peotone. For GPS, the zip code is 60468.

For those unable to attend in person, Internet bidding will be provided by Proxibid. Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. Previews will be held on auction days (Oct. 17, from 2 to 6 p.m. and Oct. 18 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

For more information about this auction, call 217.563.8880, e-mail to danm@matthewsauctions.com or visit the Matthews Auctions website.


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