Auction Report: Richlube, Texaco Marine Motor Oil Porcelain Signs Leads Petrolina Auction

This Richlube Motor Oil double-sided porcelain sign in great condition, rated 9.5 and 8.9, sold for $9,350, tying for top-lot honors at an auction of automobilia and petroliana held Aug. 5 by Matthews Auctions.

DES MOINES, Iowa – A Richlube Motor Oil double-sided porcelain sign in truly outstanding condition sold and a rare Texaco Marine Motor Oil double-sided porcelain sign, circa 1947, tied for top-lot honors at an auction of petroliana and automobilia held Aug. 5 by Matthews Auctions. The sale was conducted the day after the end of the annual Iowa Gas Show.

The two signs each garnered $9,350.

“It was the nicest example of that particular Richlube sign I have ever sold,” remarked Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions. The round sign, 24 inches in diameter, showed a small car racing down the word “Richlube,” with “Safety!” and “100% Pure Pennsylvania” also in the graphics. The sign was rated 9.5 out of 10 on the front for condition and 8.9 on the reverse.

More than 500 lots—just about all of them petroliana and automobilia—crossed the block in a sale that attracted more than 200 people to the venue. Online bidding, through Proxibid, was brisk and accounted for about a 30-percent sell-through. Absentee and phone bids were also taken, amounting to about 5-7-percent sell-through.

“It was a good sale, an above average sale,” Matthews said, adding that the sale was “helped out by a strong-bidding crowd and aggressive Internet bidders. I was a bit worried going in because of all the overall bad news dogging the economy, but considering we ended up grossing $30,000 or $40,000 more than what I had predicted, I can’t complain. Some lots did better than expected and a few fell short.”

Following are additional highlights from the auction (all prices quoted include a 10-percent buyer’s premium):

This rare Texaco Marine Motor Oil double-sided porcelain sign made in 1947 and rated a 9 was the other top lot from the sale, garnering $9,350.

• Tying for top honors with the Richlube sign for highest price realized was a rare Texaco Marine Motor Oil double-sided porcelain sign, dated 1947. It also made $9,350. The 11-inch by 22-inch sign, sporting ships, speedboats and seagulls graphics, was rated 9 on both sides. It had great gloss and color, the only flaws being some chips around the perimeter and bottom corners.

• Two other lots topped the $6,000 mark: A Seagull Gasoline single-sided porcelain sign comprising three signs bolted together, with rolled edges and great seagull graphics, 60 inches by 67 inches, rated 9.5, fetched $6,600; and a pair of Badger & Badger Petroleum 13.5-inch lenses on a wide glass original globe body in good condition and both lenses rated 9+, garnered $6,325.

A Red Hat Motor Oil/Gasoline 15-inch lens in new metal globe body, lens rated 9, sold for $4,125.

• A pair of Reliable Premium Regular 13.5-inch lenses with an owl logo, in a new Capco globe body and with the lenses rated 8.5—one of only five such known sets—went to a determined bidder for $4,675; a Texaco “No Smoking” single-sided porcelain sign, rated 9+, brought $4,400; and a Red Hat Motor Oil / Gasoline 15-inch single lens in a new metal globe body hit $4,125.

• A pair of Panhandle 15-inch lenses with steer horn logo in the original metal globe body, both lenses rated 8, climbed to $3,575; and a Mayflower Warehouse Coast-to-Coast single-sided wood-back sign, 45 inches by 93 inches, with great graphics of a 1940s semi truck and moving van trailer, having nice color and condition, with only minor wear and scratches, rose to $3,300.

This Seaside Gasoline single-sided porcelain sign with seagull graphics, rated 9.5, brought $6,600.

• A Chrysler-Plymouth “Plymouth Service” double-sided porcelain sign boasting super gloss and color, rated 9+ on both sides with just some tiny chips in the lower field, commanded $3,300; and a Goodyear double sided porcelain sign (“No-Rim Cut, 10% Oversize Tires”), with the winged foot logo, 12 inches by 24 inches and rated 8.5 (front) and 8 (reverse) made $3,025.

• An Oldsmobile Service with crest logo 13.5-inch single lens in a wide glass globe body, one of only a few known, rated 7 with a field having good color, topped out at $3,000; a Red Indian Motor Oil double-sided porcelain sign, 14 inches by 21 inches and rated 9, changed hands for $2,475; and a Shell Motor Oil one-gallon metal can in remarkable condition brought $2,200.

This Badger & Badger Petroleum 13.5-inch lenses on a wide glass globe body, rated 9+, sold for $6,325.

• Rounding out the day’s top lots, a Texaco Mail Port single-sided porcelain sign with flag graphics, 17 inches by 23 inches and rated 9+, breezed to $1,870; a Nourse Guaranteed Motor Oil (“Business Is Good”) double-sided tin lubster paddle sign with Viking logo, rated 8.5 (front) and 7.5 (reverse) hammered for $1,760; and a Willshire (“Polly”) women’s restroom porcelain flange sign with lady graphics, 6 inches by 18 inches and both sides rated 9, coasted to $1,650.

Matthews Auctions next auction is slated for Sunday, Aug. 28, in Raymond, Ill. The sale—to be held in the facilities of Gavin Pope Auction Company, located at 823 North O’Bannon in Raymond—will be an absolute auction (everything sells, regardless of price), dedicated to petroliana, automobilia, advertising and slot machines. It will start at 10 a.m. (CDT).

For more information about either auction, call 877.968.8880, e-mail to or visit the Matthews Auctions website.


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