All roads led to Vegas for Morphy’s smash $4.26M Automobilia & Petroliana Auction

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Neon ruled: Polly Gas sign featuring company’s parrot mascot left its perch at $138K, while a stunning Mohawk Gasoline sign with a Native-American motif commanded $105K

Polly Gas Porcelain Neon Sign W Original Metal Can.
Polly Gas Porcelain Neon Sign W Original Metal Can.

LAS VEGAS – America’s entertainment mecca – Las Vegas – is known for its dazzling neon, and not just outdoors. Fabulous vintage neon signs to rival anything on the megawatt Vegas Strip towered above the selection of high-octane advertising at Morphy’s $4.26 million Automobilia, Petroliana & Railroadiana Auction, February 24-25. The 1,247-lot sale, conducted at the Pennsylvania auction company’s West Coast satellite gallery, offered the best of the best, with most of the major pieces expertly assessed and pre-certified by Authentication & Grading Services (AGS).

The rainbow array of neon signage was led by a Polly Gas porcelain sign that illuminated in three colors and featured its endearing parrot mascot on her perch, with one foot lifted up. The 96-inch-long sign had never been removed from its original can and was AGS-certified and graded 82. Collectors knew it was one “rare bird” and competed aggressively to own it. In the end, pretty Polly flew off to a new owner who paid $138,000 against a pre-sale estimate of $60,000-$100,000.

Another sought-after highlight was an outstanding Mohawk Gasoline porcelain neon sign designed in a cathedral shape with a Native American brave shown in profile. Colorful and glossy, the sign was AGS-certified and graded 90. It sold for a strong $105,000 against an estimate of $30,000-$60,000.

There was more neon excitement to follow. A rare double-sided porcelain neon sign for GMC Trucks, complete with its bullnose attachment, paired pink neon with two unusual shades of green that were consistent with its Art Deco style. With sides graded 90 and 89 respectively, the 85-inch by 47-inch dealership advertisement sped to a closing bid of $56,580 against an estimate of $15,000-$25,000. 

Another dealership sign that found favor was a rare and outstanding Ford porcelain-script three-dimensional neon sign. Its only message was “Ford,” and that’s all it had to say at a massive 111 inches wide by 42 inches high. It hit the road for $41,820 against a pre-sale estimate of $15,000-$30,000.

In the non-neon group, success had been predicted for a Frontier Gas “Rarin’ To Go” double-sided porcelain sign with the widely recognizable “Golden Rider” cowboy graphic, and it did not disappoint. The 60-inch (diameter) sign, AGS-certified with sides graded 86 and 84, sold at the midpoint of its estimate for $60,000. 

Rare and desirable, a Pan-Am Motor Oils double-sided porcelain sign with the image of a doughboy (soldier) and the slogan “Stand Up Under Fire” reflected its history as a major supplier of fuel during World War I. The circular 30-inch (diameter) sign was AGS-certified with sides graded at 88 and 83, respectively. It sold for $30,750, more than six times the high estimate. 

A round circa-1930s porcelain sign for McColl Frontenac Products, emblazoned with the company’s iconic Native American graphic, was graded 82 and sold for four times the high estimate at $24,000. Also, a double-sided porcelain petroleum sign for Fleet Wing, with the image of a red bird in flight, was AGS-certified with its sides graded 88/86. It defied its $2,500-$5,000 estimate to land at $31,980.

A circa-1920s Sunset Gasoline (Sunset Pacific Oil Co., Los Angeles) 15in single-globe gas pump lens was described in catalog as being “possibly the only surviving example of its type.” AGS-certified and graded 91, it sold for $44,280 against an estimate of $15,000-$30,000. A 13.5-inch Kerr-McGee Sooner Supreme Products single-globe lens, AGS-certified and graded 92, likewise surpassed its high estimate to settle at $28,290.

Every petroliana collection should include an early gas pump, especially if the opportunity presents itself to acquire a classic Wayne Model #492 10-gallon Roman column visible gas pump. The example in Morphy’s sale was incredibly clean and freshly restored in red and gold, with excellent hand-painted gold details throughout. It sold well above high estimate for $36,000.

One of the most dynamic subcategories consisted of logo’d porcelain plates (signs) that were designed to be affixed to gas pumps. A rare circa-1920s Gasco (Portland Gas & Coke Co.) Motor Fuel porcelain pump plate sign with a bird graphic boasted excellent color and gloss. AGS-certified and graded 94, it sold for $33,000 against an estimate of $10,000-$14,000. An incredibly rare pump plate touting Jenney Hy-Power Gasoline nearly doubled its high estimate at $27,600. From the same company, a Jenney Aero Solvenized Gasoline plate with a fantastic single-prop airplane graphic, was described as new/old stock, as validated by its near-flawless condition. It was AGS-certified and graded 96, and sold for $24,000 against an $8,000-$12,000 estimate.

After the blockbuster sale closed its books, Morphy Auctions founder and president Dan Morphy commented: “Las Vegas is really proving to be the hotspot for our antique advertising, coin-op and petroliana auctions. People enjoy attending those sales and they like coming to Las Vegas, where there’s so much to do. Coin-op collectors especially love being able to attend in person at our saleroom, which used to be the venue for Victorian Casino’s auctions. Don Grimmer, whom they have known since the days before Morphy’s acquired Victorian Casino, especially appreciate the way he displays auction items. He does an outstanding job. We couldn’t be more pleased with the response we’ve received from West Coasters who’ve been attending our Vegas sales. We look forward to seeing old and new friends alike at our next sale there, an April 11-13 Coin-op and Advertising Auction.”

To discuss consigning a collection or individual item to a future Automobilia, Petroliana & Railroadiana auction at Morphy’s, call Dan Morphy tollfree at 877-968-8880 or email [email protected]. There is never an obligation to consign, and all enquiries are kept strictly confidential. Visit Morphy’s online at

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