Union ‘Minute Man Service’ Double-Sided Porcelain Sign Races to Record Price

This Union “Minute Man” double-sided porcelain sign with graphics was the top lot at a Petrolina auction held April 16 by Matthews Auctions at the Redlands Antique Auction facilities . It garnered $12,938—a world record for this sign.

REDLANDS, Calif. – A round Union “Minute Man Service” double-sided porcelain sign with graphics, 30 inches in diameter and boasting great gloss and color, sold for $12,938—a new record price for that sign—at an auction held April 16 by Matthews Auctions. The sale was held in the modern facilities of Redlands Antique Auction.

The sign was rated 9 out of 10 for condition on one side and 8.9 on the other (a tiny chip in the field center was the only flaw). It was the top lot for the sale, billed as Matthews’ Spring 2011 Petroliana & Advertising Auction. Headlining the event was the collection of Sally Parks of Thousand Oaks, Calif., nicknamed “Gas Pump Sally” for her many rare gas pumps.

One of Sally’s gas pumps was the second top lot of the auction. It was a Wayne Roman column 10-gallon visible gas pump, complete and in very good condition. It climbed to $12,650. The fully complete gas pump was primed and ready to paint, with a good cylinder and all of its original pieces. Of the 430 lots that changed hands, only the pump and the sign topped the $10,000 mark.

“Overall, it was a great sale,” said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions, LLC, based in Nokomis, Ill. “Globes, especially, did very well, and bidding was spirited all day long. The important thing is, the consignors were happy, because most lots met or exceeded their high estimates. That told me the merchandise was quality and the economy is finally turning around.”

Attendance drove the auction’s success. More than 200 people attended in person (accounting for 55 percent of the total lots sold), while Internet bidding (facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com and Proxibid.com) drew about 400 registered bidders (representing a 10 percent and 30 percent sell-through, respectively). Phone and absentee bids combined for a total of 5 percent of sales.

Following are additional highlights from the sale (all prices quoted include a 15-percent buyer’s premium):

This Wayne Roman column 10-gallon visible gas pump, complete, with all original pieces, sold for $12,650.

This Eco model 224 air meter with water dispensers, in good condition with working meter, brought $1,955.

A Signal Gas double-sided porcelain sign with a black stoplight graphic, 45 inches in diameter and with both sides rated 8 out of 10, with good gloss and color (its only blemish being a few small chips in the field) topped out at $4,600; and a Union Service Stations bench with a porcelain back rest, rated 8.9 and measuring 32 inches by 50 inches by 29 inches, rose to $4,312.

A Hi-Power Gasoline globe with ethyl logo lenses in an original red ripple glass globe body, with the lens rated 8.5 and the body in good condition, went to a determined bidder for $2,760; and a very rare Union Oil Company single-sided porcelain sign with red, white and blue logo, measuring 7 inches by 7 inches and rated near-mint at 9-plus, changed hands for $2,300.

A Union Ethyl Gasoline double-sided tin die-cut tombstone sign, with logo graphic and measuring 12 ½ inches by 10 inches, both sides showing minor wear and rated 8.9, marked “Donaldson Art Sign,” garnered $2,300; and an Eco Model 224 air meter with water dispensers, 57 inches, in very good condition and with the light and meters both working, brought $1,955.

This Signal Gas double-sided porcelain sign with holder, black stoplight graphic, rated 8 realized $4,600.

This Hi-Power Gasoline globe with ethyl logo lenses in the original red ripple glass body, sold for $2,760.

This Union Oil Company single-sided porcelain die-cut sign with tri-color logo, rated 9-plus, sold for $2,300.

A pair of Phillips pieces sold for identical prices of $1,035. One was a Phillips Unique globe with 13 ½ inch lenses on a glass globe body, featuring a good body and with the lenses rated a respectable 8.5. The other was a Phillips 66 double-bubble clock with red and white logo, 16 inches in diameter and rated 9-plus for condition. The clock was functioning and in good shape.

Rounding out the day’s top lots, a Union Products “No Trespassing” single-sided porcelain sign, measuring 8 inches by 24 inches and rated an excellent 9.75 for condition, breezed to $1,035; and a Mobiloil “E” double-sided porcelain paddle sign for Ford cars, with a gargoyle logo, hit $518. The display side was rated 9, while the reverse (with crazing) was 8.5.

Matthews is currently writing a book about petroliana, to be titled The Fine Art of Collecting Petroliana. The book is expected to be completed by summer of this year. Watch the Matthews Auctions website for details on how to order. For more information about Matthews Auctions, LLC and the calendar of upcoming events, log in to www.MatthewsAuctions.com. For more info about Redlands Antique Auction in Redlands, Calif., you may call (909) 798-1177.

For more information about this auction, call 877.968.8880, e-mail danm@matthewsauctions.com.
Or visit the Matthews Auctions web site.


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