High-octane: Petroliana auction does $1.2 million

Sales total was 20 percent higher than low pre-auction estimate

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Harbor Petroleum Products sign tops the auction, selling for $44,ooo | Morphy Auctions photos

Morphy Auctions of Denver, Pennsylvania, reports that its automobilia and petroliana sale May 13-14 posted $1.2 million in transactions, a figure 20 percent higher than the combined pre-sale estimated value of the lots offered.

“Market prices are stronger than ever, and interest in antique and vintage gas and oil memorabilia remains very strong,” said Dan Morphy, the auction company’s founder and president. 

He added that the sale was challenging to conduct during the coronavirus pandemic, which involved absentee and phone bidding, “and more importantly, online bidding through Morphy Live, where we debuted live streaming, which proved to be a huge hit with our customers.”

The auction featured 802 lots, including 530 signs. The top sale of the auction was a 39×35-inch circa-1940s Harbor Petroleum Products sign with the image of a Boeing 314 Clipper airplane flying over water. The sign sold for $44,000.

Neon sign measuring 76 x 104 x 24 inches sells for $23,370

Though neither automotive nor petroleum-related, a Pacific Bait & Tackle sign with a leaping fish sold for $23,370.

A round 30-inch Shell Aviation Gasoline sign drew 21 bids and brought $20,910, far beyond its $7,000 to $10,000 pre-sale estimate.

The sale also included 46 gas globes and 35 gas pumps. Also offered were 30 vintage license plates, including the No. 1 plate assigned by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1906. The plate sold for $27,060.

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For more information, visit the Morphy website.

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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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