Motorheads: Get your kicks at Morphy’s high-octane July 11 Automobilia & Petroliana Auction

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Featured: Mobil Pegasus porcelain neon sign, Musgo, Aerio 70, Sunset De Luxe and Gilmore ‘Lion’ gas pump globes; service station rarities, plus soda pop signs and vending machines 

Outstanding Mobil Pegasus rotator neon sign comprised of two single-sided figural porcelain neon signs. Lights up beautifully around the entire perimeter of the sign and on the iconic flying horse’s wings. AGS-certified and graded 83/84. Size: 72in x 15½in x 85in. Estimate: $50,000-$100,000
Outstanding Mobil Pegasus rotator neon sign comprised of two single-sided figural porcelain neon signs. Lights up beautifully around the entire perimeter of the sign and on the iconic flying horse’s wings. AGS-certified and graded 83/84. Size: 72in x 15½in x 85in. Estimate: $50,000-$100,000

DENVER, Pa. – America is a land of cars, and from coast to coast there are diehard motorheads – collectors of auto, gasoline and oil-related advertising – who consider Morphy’s exciting Automobilia & Petroliana auctions to be their own personal Disneyland. They’re already checking out the Pennsylvania company’s next tempting array of motoring-related collectibles, which will roll across the auction block on Thursday, July 11. The 650-lot selection features choice advertising signs, rare gas pumps and globes; oil cans, and eye-catching display pieces. The sale also includes the types of colorful soda pop signs and wall clocks that would have adorned roadside diners back when Route 66 was the way westward-bound drivers “got their kicks.” 

The star of the show is an absolutely outstanding Mobil Pegasus porcelain rotator neon sign sized 72 by 85 inches, and 15½ inches deep. Comprised of two single-sided figural porcelain neon signs, it lights up beautifully around its entire perimeter as well as on the mythological flying horse’s wings. Everyone knows the Mobil Pegasus, and this ready-to-hang sign shows the popular brand mascot at its very best. Importantly, it is AGS-certified and graded 83/84 (per side). Strong competition and a winning bid of $50,000-$100,000 are expected on auction day. 

Ask any petroliana collector which rare sign they would most love to acquire and there’s a high likelihood they would say the circa-1940s Harbor Petroleum Products sign with the appealing seaplane-on-water graphic. Morphy’s is pleased to offer an exceptional example of the single-sided porcelain sign in 8.75 condition. Its unbeatable color palette combines Pacific blue, orange and yellow, with the seaplane presented in an oval cartouche as though it were a fine painting. Exhibiting high gloss, this sign is described in Morphy’s catalog as “exceptional” and “hard to upgrade.” The pre-sale estimate is set at $40,000-$80,000.

No collection of gas pump globes, no matter how advanced, would be considered complete without a classic Musgo Gasoline (Muskegon Oil Co., Muskegon, Michigan) “Michigans Mile Maker” globe. A beautiful specimen of this gas-station treasure will be offered on July 11 at Morphy’s. Measuring 16 inches high, the one-piece baked globe is distinguished by its orange, sky blue and red bust-portrait of a Native American chief in profile. It has a “September 10th, 1929” date stamp at the interior and a “Made In USA” stamp on its collar. AGS-certified and graded 93, it is one of the highest-graded examples of its type ever to be offered for public sale. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000

Another tempting lot is the rare and complete 13.5-inch gas pump globe for Aerio 70 Gasoline (Gregory Independent Oil Co., Gregory, South Dakota). It even retains its original graphic shipping box – marked “Aerio” – from Cincinnati Advertising Products. Each of the lenses above the original wide milk-glass body is marked “Aerio 70” and displays a wonderful red, blue and green airplane graphic. In very clean, original condition, its sides are scored 96 and 94, respectively. Estimate: $15,000-$25,000 

As visuals go, a circa-1920s single-sided 15-inch gas pump globe lens for “Gilmore Blu-Green Gasoline” (Gilmore Oil Co., Los Angeles, California) is unbeatable. It presents as the work of an accomplished artist with its highly-detailed six-color graphic of a roaring lion. Very clean throughout, its condition-score is 95. This highly sought-after sign is hard to fault and carries a pre-sale estimate of $12,000-$20,000.

According to Morphy’s Automobilia & Petroliana Department Head John Mihovetz, a circa-1930s gas pump globe lens for Sunset De Luxe Gasoline (Sunset Oil Co., Los Angeles, California) has not appeared at a public sale for more than a decade. Morphy’s will end the drought on July 11 with an example that boasts outstanding condition, colors and gloss. Likewise, its lettering and graphic of an orange sun setting over the ocean are clean and attractive. Measuring 15 inches in diameter and condition-scored 91, it is entered with a $10,000-$20,000 estimate.

Another California rarity is a Signal Products (Signal Oil Co., Los Angeles) single-sided 15-inch (diameter) gas pump globe lens with a pop-art graphic of a street light that says “GO.” Extremely clean with brilliant color and gloss, it is condition-scored 95, with an auction catalog notation stating it would be “tough to upgrade.” Estimate: $10,000-$20,000

A flurry of motoring activity is depicted on a huge single-sided cloth banner that advertises “MICHELIN Tires and Tubes.” Maker-marked “Sweeney Litho, Belleville, New Jersey,” it portrays a mountainside road with bumper-to-bumper auto traffic, high above a cityscape. Along the entire bottom width of the sign are 12 Bibendum (Michelin’s mascot) figures, each rolling a tire and posed slightly different to the rest. At the crest of the road on each side are advertising signs that read “MICHELIN Ring Shaped Tubes – LAST LONGER” and “MICHELIN Comfort Balloons,” respectively. In excellent condition overall, it is described by John Mihovetz as “the rarest of the rare.” With a framed size of 120 inches by 40.75 inches, it is AGS-certified “Authentic” and estimated at $10,000-$20,000.

A second cloth service station banner that is worthy of special mention is a 1920s advertisement for “Red Hat Motor Oil,” with the patriotic Red Hat “Approved” graphic and the slogan “Uniform – Dependable.” AGS-certified “Authentic,” the striking red, white and blue banner has a framed size of 62.5 inches by 27.5 inches. Estimate: $6,000-$12,000

Possibly the only known example of its type, a Warrior Petroleum single-sided circular two-piece plywood sign is magnificently hand-painted with the image of a Native American wearing a full feather bonnet and beaded necklace. Its red trim and hand-lettered words “WARRIOR PETROLEUM” also attest to a high standard of artistry. In excellent original condition with a nice patina, this 90-inch (diameter) sign has been AGS-certified “Authentic.” Its pre-sale estimate is $7,500-$15,000.

The Thursday, July 11, 2024 Automobilia & Petroliana Auction, with additional transportation antiques, soda pop signage and vending machines, will be held live at Morphy’s gallery, 2000 N. Reading Rd., Denver, PA 17517, starting at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. All forms of bidding will be available, including absentee, by phone and live via the Internet through Morphy Live. For questions pertaining to any item in the auction, to reserve a phone line or to discuss consigning to a future Automobilia & Petroliana auction at Morphy’s, call 877-968-8880, email [email protected]. Visit Morphy’s online at

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