It pays to advertise, but as auction prices have shown over the past few years, it also pays to collect advertising. A steady stream of interested, new collectors continues to step up to join those whove long embraced this popular hobby, with the result being a symbiosis that works very well for all involved. As veteran collectors sell their pieces at auction to upgrade or finance upper-end acquisitions, newer collectors keep the marketplace buoyant at the entry level and mid range.
One of the most reliable sources for antique and vintage advertising at a variety of price points is Morphy Auctions
in southeastern Pennsylvania. The company conducts several specialty sales per year devoted exclusively to advertising, with the next one slated for December 6-7, 2013.
The 1,400-lot selection in the December event includes not only advertising and general store items, but also coin-op machines and occupational shaving mugs, the category that will open the sale.
The shaving mugs represent the third and final offering from the collection of the late Ray Jones, whose career in the US Navy influenced his love of military themes. Within the auction grouping are mugs emblazoned with images of a naval ship gunboat, $1,200-$1,500; a Civil War soldier standing next to a cannon and firearms, $1,500-$2,000; and a double-masted steam yacht, $1,200-$1,600.
More than 50 antique coin-op machines stand ready to accept pocket change from previewers. A Caille upright slot is expected to make $16,000-$24,000. Two Mills machines are estimated in the five figures, as well. An Automatic 5-cent slot could reach $10,000-$12,000; and a novelty Electricity Is Life arcade machine might spark a winning bid of $12,000-$15,000.
Next up will be 250 general store lots, led by a complete run of early dye and veterinary medicine cabinets, all in near-mint condition. The vet cabinets advertise the top three brands of their day: Dr. Daniels, Dr. Humphreys and Dr. Lesures.
Many outstanding signs await their turn in the spotlight. A coveted Soapine reverse-on-glass sign depicts a man scrubbing a smiling whale with the famous cleaning product introduced in 1827 in Providence, Rhode Island. Considered a New England classic, this sign is estimated at $8,000-$12,000. Another early prize is a colorful self-framed oval tin sign advertising John Bardenheier Wine & Liquor, estimate $4,000-$6,000.
There are 75 lots of tobacco tins and rare cigar cutters in the sale. A fine Union Leader Cut Plug Tobacco cardboard sign with a fantastic image of Uncle Sam reading The Naval Review is in near-mint condition and estimated at $4,000-$8,000. Top tins include examples that once held Exquisite Cut Plug Tobacco, est. $2,000-$3,000; and Continental Cubes Tobacco, $1,000-$1,500.
The opening session will wrap with a 100-lot single-owner collection of items advertising Whistle Soda. One of the largest known collections of its type, it is led by a beautiful sign depicting a boy and girl with glasses of Whistle soda. Estimate: $750-$1,500.
Most of day two will be dominated by Americas favorite soft drink, Coca-Cola. The long list of Coke-related highlights includes a 1941 aviation-theme festoon, $7,500-$10,000; a 1918 calendar, $5,000-$7,000; and a 1930s radio shaped like a Coke bottle, $3,500-$5,500. A 1932 illuminating counter sign manufactured by Brunhoff could fetch $5,000-$7,000; while a tin Pick Up 12 reminder sign with Coke button is estimated at $2,500-$3,500.
The session is rounded out with an array of syrup dispensers and other soda-related pieces surely enough to quench any enthusiasts thirst for soda pop collectibles.
The Dec. 6-7 auction will commence at 9 a.m. Eastern Time on both days. All forms of bidding will be available. Preview the online catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live online during the auction through MorphyLive, Artfact.com or LiveAuctioneers.com.