Mecum scores $7.5 million in inaugural Road Art auction

Dan Mecum, Road Art division chief, with the record-setting Musgo sign | Mecum Auctions photos
Dan Mecum, Road Art division chief, with the record-setting Musgo sign | Mecum Auctions photos

A 4-foot circular sign for a defunct gasoline brand struck gold at the Mecum’s Road Art auction this past weekend, selling for an eye-popping $230,000 during the three-day sale at the Mecum Auctions Badger Street Facility in Walworth, Wisconsin.

The Kelly Tires sign rolled up to a sale of $110,000
The Kelly Tires sign rolled up to a sale of $110,000

The rare two-sided Musgo Gasoline porcelain sign in excellent condition, sparkling with color and featuring the portrait of a Native-American in full eagle-feather headdress, led the sale of 1,200 vintage signs, fuel pumps, globes, oil cans and other pieces of automobilia from a single collection.

The results totaled more than $7.5 million, not including auction fees, according to Mecum.

“The Road Art Collection was the most complete collection of high-quality petroliana ever offered at one auction,” Dan Mecum of Mecum ‘s Road Art division said in a news release. “It was an honor and a thrill to present some of the most-valuable porcelain signs ever offered at public auction.”

Two other pristine advertising signs also soared into six figures: a 42-inch Kelly Tires sign – a rare gem made of two porcelain signs mounted back-to-back in a metal ring – sold for $110,000, and a 40-inch Silent Chief Gasoline sign featuring a Viking figure hammered at $105,000.

The SIlent Chief sign was another six-figure seller
The SIlent Chief sign was another six-figure seller

Other top sellers were a Smith-O-Lene Gasoline double-sided porcelain neonsign, $87,500, and two Harley-Davidson motorcycle double-sided porcelain neon signs that brought $85,000 and $82,000.

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The top 10 sales for the Road Art Collection auction were:

1.    Musgo Gasoline sign, $230,000
2.    Kelly Tires sign, $110,000
3.    Silent Chief Gasoline sign, $105,000
4.    Smith-O-Lene sign, $87,500
5.    Harley-Davidson neon sign, $85,000
6.    Harley-Davidson neon sign, $82,000
7.    Grizzly Gasoline sign, $72,500
8.    Mohawk Gasoline sign, $70,000
9.    Mobilgas Tokheim pump, $64,000
10. Sunset Gasoline sign, $62,000

(All results reflect hammer prices and do not include auction fees)

Mecum Auctions announced that two Road Art-only consignment auctions will be added for 2017 at the Badger Street Facility, with dates not yet specified. Mecum also offers Road Art items during its collect car sales.

For complete results, visit the auction website

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.