Automobilia, petroliana auction tops $2.1 million in sales

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48-inch gasoline brand sign sells for $66,000 | Morphy Auctions photos

A sale of 747 lots of automobilia and petroliana, staged recently in Denver, Pennsylvania, did more than $2.1 million in sales, with several auction record prices paid, according to Morphy Auction’s Automobilia & Petroliana division.

“The attraction was the collection of more than 400 lots that were in 9 or 9-plus condition,” according to Morphy’s auto and petrol division head John Mihovetz. “There was a lot of buzz about the auction beforehand, and we sensed that bidding would be strong.”

The top sale of the auction was the $66,000, a record price, paid for a 48-inch Red Hat Royal 400 Gasoline sign that had been in a private collection for more than 25 years.

A Houston Gasoline sign with the image of Sam Houston on horseback drew 18 bids and sold for $33,600. The sign had a pre-auction estimate of $25,000 and was headed to Texas after the auction. (Prices reported include buyer’s fee.)

Mihovetz called the $21,600 paid for a Cosden Liquid Gas Horsepower Plus Special sign “an absolute shocker.”

“However, he added, it’s the only example of this sign that I know of that has ever appeared at auction.” 

The sign features four horses in bright primary colors. Its high pre-sale estimate was $8,000, but it attracted 28 bids during its time on the block.

“Graphics, condition and rarity were also on the minds of gas globe buyers,” the auction house said in its post-sale news release. 

“Some gas globes are seen as works of art, and this sale produced some of the rarest globes in the best possible condition, like the one for Husky Gasoline,” said Mihovetz. 

Original on an orange ripple body, with the image of a husky dog against a backdrop of the Arctic Northern Lights, the globe sold for $24,000.

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But that figure was eclipsed by a Gregory Independent Oil globe for Aero Gas with an airplane illuminated against a cloud bank. It sold for $28,800.

A Sinclair gasoline pump sold for $30,750 and a gas-station thermometer advertising Red Crown Gasoline & Motor Oil sold for $5,227.50.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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