Morphy’s automobilia auction soars past pre-sale estimates

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Buffalo brand sign brings $43,050 at auction | Morphy's Auctions photos

Morphy’s auction of automobilia and petroliana generated $2.8 million in sales in early October, the Pennsylvania-based auction company announced, pointing out that bidding “rose to two and three times the high (pre-sale) estimate.”

Morphy’s added that many of the bidders were newcomers to the hobby.

Bengal gasoline globe sells for nearly $20,000

Calling the sale “an absolute blockbuster,” Morphy Auctions president and founder Dan Morphy said consignments from “several outstanding collections” excited bidders, “including that great collection from Canada, which grabbed a lot of attention at the preview.”

Canadian consignments included the top seller of the auction, a Buffalo Brand Gasoline, Oils and Greases of Winnipeg, Manitoba, embossed tin sign promoting Electro Gasoline and English Motor Oil.

“One of few known examples of its type, the 60- by 36-inch sign featuring the image of a stern-faced buffalo, condition 7.5+, thundered past its $5,000-$10,000 estimate to stop at $43,050,” the auction house said.

‘Slate boy’ sign sells for $15,600

Three “eye-catching” pieces of advertising emblazoned with the Bengal Gasoline leaping tiger were among the sale’s leaders, the company added, noting Bengal Pep & Power porcelain sign that sold for $40,590, and two Bengal Green Gasoline 15-inch gas pump globes, each of which brought $19,200.

A 48-inch porcelain sign from Enarco/White Rose Gasoline, with the Canadian company’s trademark “slate boy,” had a pre-sale estimate of $3,500 to $6,000 but sold for $15,600.

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Coors Dairy sign sells for $43,520

“Anyone who has taken a leisurely Sunday drive in the countryside has probably passed a dairy, but the days are long gone when one might see a roadside sign as attractive as the one Morphy’s offered for Coors Dairy,” Morphy’s said.

“The double-sided die-cut porcelain neon sign with Art Deco styling and the image of a figural cow illuminated flawlessly in vivid green and red. Garnering 33 bids, the condition 7.9+ sign swept past its $10,000-$20,000 estimate to settle at $43,520.”

$27,650 was price paid for this restored gas pump

A restored Wayne Roman-column gasoline pump with an illuminating glass cylinder in Richfield Gasoline’s yellow and cobalt blue livery brought $27,650. A 1910 Maryland dealer license plate in porcelain sold for $8,610, 17 times its high pre-auction estimate.

Among non-petroleum items, a Five Roses Flour porcelain sign with a Native American graphic sold for $12,300 and a 1939 “Drink Coca-Cola — Fountain Service” sign brought $6,150.

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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