Vintage Porcelain Enamel Signs Worth And Price Guide

Texaco Porcelain Enamel Gas Station Hanging Pole Sign
Texaco Porcelain Enamel Gas Station Sign

How to find what an old gas station sign is worth

The value of old or vintage porcelain enamel signs depends primarily on three factors; rarity, condition, and design. Age may have a slight impact on price, but rarity and condition are the real price drivers.

There is one segment of collectible signs that has another important value factor: the brand. This is particularly true for vintage or old gas station signs. Car buffs or collectors that want to recreate a garage or man-cave usually want to brand their creations: like specializing in Texaco or Shell signs, or Ford or Chevrolet signs they might have seen at gas stations in the old days.

There are other factors that determine a sign’s value, like; demand, brand, and size, that can be almost as important as condition and design, but most collectors of old advertising signs are display collectors, so of course, they will buy rare and unusual signs, but they will also pay top dollar for “common” signs if they are in excellent condition.

Factors That Determine What A Porcelain Enamel Sign is Worth:

Condition is King
Whether it is a desirable rare sign or a common entry-level sign, the condition can be a price multiplier or a price chopper.

For instance, these old Magnolia gas station signs;

Round Magnolia Oil Porcelain Enamel Signs
Round Magnolia Oil Porcelain Enamel Signs

As can be seen, by these auction-estimate prices of nearly identical signs, the “near-mint* sign on the left, (Fig.1), could typically sell for several thousand dollars, but the Used Beat-up* sign on the right, (Fig. 3), would probably sell for only a few hundred dollars.
*collectible signs are graded on a 1 to 10 scale. 1 is nearly unsellable trash, and 10 is Mint

Examples of Porcelain Signs Condition Prices.

Size Does Matter
The majority of old sign buyers are collectors building a display, whether it is for a room like a Man Cave, a garage, or a replica of a gas station or service area. The most valuable signs are ones that have great “eye” appeal, from both a distance, and close-up, but display space – usually a wall or door panel – is a prime consideration. A six-foot Mobil Gas Pegasus might look impressive, but where to put it can be a problem. The same thought applies to small signs. A collector might have a spot for one or two door-push signs, but other than on a door – they may be hard to see from a distance.

The most popular, and thus most valuable, advertising signs are in the 28″ – 44″ range. They are easily displayed, and they look good from a distance. This doesn’t mean other larger or smaller signs aren’t valuable, it just means there is less demand, so value prices are generally lower.

These two old gas station signs aren’t identical, but they do show the concept that size affects value.

Old Porcelain Ford Sign
Old Porcelain Ford Sign

This Ford sign, (Fig. 1), is 64″ x 22″ – a large sign that would take up most of a wall.
Because it is a commonly found sign, it sold for $225

Old Porcelain Ford Service Station Sign
Old Porcelain Ford Service Station Sign

Die-cut signs are also popular. These are shaped signs, not just round or square.

Old Die cut porcelain signs
Die-cut Porcelain Signs

Here are some examples:

Unlike most collectibles markets, in the porcelain, or porcelain enamel sign collector’s world age isn’t usually an important factor, other than contributing to rarity. A 1950’s version of a desirable sign will usually command the same price value as a 1930’s version.

What are porcelain advertising signs worth?

It is impossible to place an exact worth on individual signs. Besides all the mentioned variables that affect price, there is the unpredictable factor of current collector demand and the reality of getting lucky – or not – in finding collectors that are looking for a particular sign at a particular time.

Other than getting an estimate from an auction house buyer, or direct appraisals from collectors, the best that can be offered are general price ranges – based on recent past sales.

An Internet search yielded these results:

Large Round and Logo Brand Porcelain Signs:
28″ – 44″

Large Round and shaped porcelain advertising signs

Recent Large Sign Auction Prices:

Fig. 2 is a smaller sign – 24″ x 10,” and is also a fairly common sign, and even though it is not a quite as good condition as Fig. 1 – it sold for $335. Display size and flexibility were almost certainly a factor.

One example of popular vintage small porcelain signs is the market for what are called “Door Push” signs. These are just what the name says – they are placed on doors as handles or handle placements. They may not draw the multi-hundreds of dollars a bigger sign gets, but for premium value and collector demand, they command premium prices. From $40 to $400.

See examples of smaller porcelain sign values

Demand Drives The Price
Demand covers different areas. It covers the obvious; signs that are popular choices, or rare, but it also covers Brand, and Design, such as; Die-cut signs.

Top brands like; Texaco, Mobil, Esso, Shell, Gulf, etc. are always in demand and draw premium prices, but because these signs are also plentiful, their price value is very dependent on condition. Other, less-known brands, like; Magnolia or Olizum Oils can also be in popular demand.

Texaco Motor Oil Round Porcelain Sign
Sherwin Williams Die-cut Porcelain Sign
*See more porcelain advertising signs available right now!


Mid-size Pole, Flange, and Pump-mount Porcelain Gas Station Signs

Mid-size Porcelain Advertising Signs

Recent Mid-size Sign Auction Prices:

*click the image to see more recent auction sales

Polarine Porcelain Flange Sign
Mobilgas Aircraft Pump Plate Porcelain Sign
Goodyear Tyres Diamond Porcelain Sign
*See more mid-size porcelain advertising signs available right now!

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