Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. announces highlights included in April 23rd Petroliana & Advertising Auction

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Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. announces highlights included in April 23rd Petroliana & Advertising Auction
Canadian circa 1920 Red Indian Oil bottle rack panel sign with bright and glossy colors and a later mounting frame, graded 7.75 due to scratches and porcelain loss (est. CA$4,000-$6,000).

NEW HAMBURG.- An exceedingly rare Winchester cartridge board from around 1884 – one of the most sought after, iconic examples of American sporting advertising – is an expected highlight lot in an online-only Petroliana & Advertising Auction planned for Saturday, April 23rd, by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd., starting promptly at 9 am Eastern time.

The monumental and historic Winchester cartridge board, which measures 38 inches tall by 28 inches wide, is a lithographed hardboard with an applied representation of one of Winchester’s earliest lines of ammunition. Few survived intact due to their size and the fact that they were often displayed in store windows and areas exposed to light. The one in the auction, in the original frame, is in untouched, original condition and is expected to sell for $35,000-$50,000.

All estimates in this report are in Canadian dollars.

The rest of the auction is a wonderland of offerings for every level of petroliana and advertising enthusiast – 481 lots of fresh-to-the-market, investment-grade advertising signs, tins and related memorabilia from the 1890s to the 1970s. The petroliana, soda and general store advertising signs include many high-grade and seldom-seen examples.

Also included is a clean offering of Canadian motor oil quarts, gas pumps and petroliana, and a recently discovered hoard of advertising from the Black Horse Brewery. The Helen and Gordon Vokey collection includes a run of Coca-Cola trays from 1910-1961, as well as a curated gathering of signs and related collectibles. There’s something for everyone.

“Advertising is one of the hottest categories of collectibles we sell,” said Justin Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. “Demand outweighs supply and fresh-to-the-market signs are becoming very difficult to find as collectors fight over what does turn up. Many collectors are building long term collections. The Vokey collection contains many items that should get collectors excited.”

Mr. Miller said the Vokeys purchased most of their collection in the 1980s, “when you could find quality signs without as much trouble as today. A favorite of mine in the auction is lot 296 – a sign that has everything going for it: porcelain, die cut, curved corner sign and condition to boot. On top of all that, it was just discovered less than a month ago here in New Hamburg.”

He was referring to the circa 1905 Carhartt’s Overalls corner sign, recently discovered during the liquidation of a longtime business in town, Murray’s Clothing & Footwear. The single-sided porcelain sign, graded 9 for condition and 22 inches tall by 18 inches wide, features a mint green car and is known to have been produced for the Canadian market. It’s expected to fetch $5,000-$7,000, although Mr. Miller said he wouldn’t be surprised if it brought much more than that.

A Cities Service Koolmotor double-sided porcelain curb sign, known as the “Kite Sign” for its shape, was produced in America in the 1930s and used in the Canadian market. Graded 9 for condition, with bold colors and a glossy finish, it should bring $12,000-$15,000. Also, a 1947 two-door, right-hand drive MGTC roadster convertible car, a true “survivor” car with just 24,790 actual miles, fully restored in 1982 and with a good engine, has an estimate of $9,000-$12,000.

A Canadian Ford V8 dealer double-sided porcelain sign from the 1930s with the original hanging bracket, exhibiting some chips and losses but still boasting vivid colors and a glossy finish, 35 ¼ inches by 28 inches, should sell for $7,000-$8,000; while a Ford oval, double-sided painted metal smaltz sign (Canadian, circa 1930), with a reproduction metal hanging bracket and measuring 20 ½ inches by 27 ½ inches and graded 7.5, is expected to finish at $3,000-$5,000.

A World War II-era Canadian Supertest Bennett 541 gasoline pump with a reproduction “High Compression” globe, original ad glass and tagged, “Service Station Equipment Co., Ltd., Toronto, SSE Bennett ECO,” has an estimate of $4,000-$6,000. Also, a Canadian circa 1930 Clearvision gasoline pump with an older repaint to Supertest colors, a glass cylinder and a reproduction “Wonder” globe, impressive at 119 inches in height, should make $3,000-$5,000.

A circa 1940 Canadian Coca-Cola Vendo 44 vending machine, mechanically functioning and cooling properly, an outstanding all-original “survivor” with the original side-mounted empties rack, is estimated to ring up $4,000-$6,000; while a circa 1950 American Coca-Cola Vendo 44 vending machine, iconic and highly desirable, with the original paint and in original working condition, with some of the embossed raised lettering replaced, should achieve $4,000-$5,000.

Also from the World of Coke, a monumental 4-foot-by-8-foot single-sided porcelain Coca-Cola sign from 1937, Coke’s largest porcelain sign before World War II restrictions halted steel production, graded a near-perfect 9.5, has an estimate of $4,000-$6,000. Carrying an identical estimate is a Canadian circa 1920 Red Indian Oil bottle rack panel sign with colors that are bright and glossy, with a later mounting frame, graded 7.75 due to scratches and porcelain loss.

A circa 1930 American cast iron United States Customs border crossing sign (“Avoid Penalty / Report to Customs / Vehicles Entering United States Must Be Reported”), 28 ½ inches by 36 inches, with considerable paint loss, should rise to $3,500-$5,000. Also, a Wurlitzer Model 2104 jukebox (American, 1957), mechanically functioning and outfitted with an assortment of period records and respective labels, complete with access keys, carries an estimate of $3,000-$5,000.

One of the older items in the sale is a Canadian, circa 1894 Thomas Davidson Mfg. Co. single-sided tin sign (est. $3,000-$5,000). Davidson was an early manufacturer of lithographed tin signs and various other tin products. This sign was made to represent the company’s world-class level of quality and features a detailed and heavily embossed image of the firm’s factory in Montreal.

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