(Topic ID: 164009)

Collecting Porcelain Signs


By radium

3 years ago



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  • 123 posts
  • 32 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by Coyote
  • Topic is favorited by 10 Pinsiders

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There are 123 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
#1 3 years ago

I know a lot of pinball guys are into porcelain signs for their game rooms. How do you start out collecting these without getting burned by fakes, repops, and junk? I'm looking at it more as a collector's hobby than just buying stuff to hang on the wall. I want to be able to re-sell and trade up, like we do with pins.

Anyone have good tips for newbies?

#2 3 years ago

I'm not an expert on collecting signs by any means but do like vintage advertising and antiques. There is a learning curve like anything. Once you do it long enough you can generally spot the reproductions a mile away. That is probably the easiest part. Reproductions are often too clean, made of thinner metal and show up a lot more often. Often sized differently than the originals also. I find it easier to just avoid even original examples if they have been reproduced. Mainly because the reproductions kind of cheapen the experience of owning an original as well. Even if it's a cool sign I don't want one if I see an example of it in every garage/gameroom.

Here is a pretty cool looking sign (see pic). It's a reproduction though. It's too clean for one thing but also you see a ton of them for sale in all different sizes from Knapik's Marine. I'm guessing there may even be some originals somewhere from Knapik's Marine but who'd want it when all the repros have the same text.

Fakes are generally reproductions that have false or accelerated patina. Printed patina can be easily spotted as it looks rusty but feels smooth. Some signs are made new to have an aged look. Other times guys will bury signs in the ground to get some rust going. Once again it helps if you have a pretty good knowledge of what signs have been reproduced. A lot of the reproduction signs have those brass eyelets in the corners for hanging. So that is something else to look for.

As far as junk goes. Like any hobby there are always starter pieces. Cheaper pieces that have less value because of condition or being common. If you buy smart it's hard to really get burned on these because there is always another guy starting out that will by your cheap signs once you move up to the better stuff.

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#3 3 years ago

I've been collecting signs since I was like 10 years old and I'm 48 now. Lately I've been trying to get a lot of the local business stuff when they close there doors before the signs go in the trash for ever. Some of the stuff I have is porcelain but most is not since what I collect wasn't usually meant to be hung out doors. I never buy repop stuff even though I own like 3-4 that are but that's only because family and friends have bought it for me as gifts and I have to hang onto them for there sake and while I appreciate it I'd rather they leave the sign buying to me. I think people buy repop stuff because they don't know any better or because its what they can afford since its always (usually) cheaper then the real thing. Personally I like the stuff you don't see everyday and I totally stay away from Coke, Pepsi or beer advertising since its all so common and you see it every place you go and I like being different. I did make the exception for my Budweiser carousal's however, I always like that piece and now I have two of them.
Here's just a few of some of the stuff I've collected over the years, signs come in many different variety's and I like them all......I'm a total geek when it comes to this stuff.

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

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#4 3 years ago

Well dang every one of those is cool. But I have to say, my favorite has to be Insane Asylum Entrance. I take it that one is real too? Like, from an actual insane asylum? If so, that is top notch. Would love to get one of those

#5 3 years ago
Quoted from xsvtoys:

Well dang every one of those is cool. But I have to say, my favorite has to be Insane Asylum Entrance. I take it that one is real too? Like, from an actual insane asylum? If so, that is top notch. Would love to get one of those

To be honest the Insane Asylum is a new sign, no necessarily a repop but just a new sign but it was so cool I just had to have it. I've seriously thought about rusting it up because it is a bit too shiny for my taste......so perhaps someday when I have nothing else to do I'll make it look old.
The great thing about sign/advertising collecting is that its sort of like pinball collecting in that there's a price point for all different kinds of people and it comes in so many different flavors.

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

#6 3 years ago

Thanks everyone, that's really helpful. I especially like the idea of buying small uncommon signs. I guess I'll browse around a while and see if I can learn what's unique.

I think learning how to estimate value is going to be tough at first.

John, that Rock Cafe sign is my favorite of the bunch. That thing is killer!

#7 3 years ago

Just watch American Pickers. They seem to know a lot.

#8 3 years ago
Quoted from radium:

John, that Rock Cafe sign is my favorite of the bunch. That thing is killer!

I actually just got that sign and that's why the picture is taken of it in the garage. It came from a single store owner who just happens to own a Kiss machine and after working on his game one time I asked him if he had any signage from his old record store that's been closed up for over ten years and he said I could have the sign off the back of the building...
Long story short it was the hardest sign I've ever tried to obtain....., but we'll worth it and it's a piece of Battle Creek Michigan's history that I'm proud to own and I'm glad you like it. Yeah collecting the local business stuff has been really cool and frustrating at times.....but you never know how it will turn out. Its amazing how so many people totally ignore the very first thing that draws people into the store in the first place, and if nobody preserves this stuff it's gone for ever. Remember there's all sorts of sign collecting for every type person or budget. Happy hunting !!

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

#9 3 years ago

Wow, really surprised that this thread hasn't gotten more action? Remember porcelain is not everything when it comes to collecting signs.

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

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#10 3 years ago

The Bally's sign is cool.
And am I looking at a huge wasp nest in one of the pics?
Thanks JPD for sharing pics of your signs collected over the yrs.

#11 3 years ago

Yes that is a wasp nest, since that picture was taken I have a even bigger one with the tree branch still attached to it and that's now hanging in the same spot. The Bally sign I bought off RGP many years ago, its supposed to have neon in it but I've got Xmas lights in it instead and it lights it nicely. I've got plenty of other signs not pictured too. Thanks for looking.

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

#12 3 years ago
Quoted from Dayhuff:

Wow, really surprised that this thread hasn't gotten more action? Remember porcelain is not everything when it comes to collecting signs.

I agree. I have quite a few signs and very few are porcelain. Porcelain is very cool though. Not nearly as many as John but I need to go around the house and snap a few pics.

Here are a couple pics I had handy. The Holihan's and Nehi are cardboard. I'm a big fan of vintage lithograph signs for their vibrant color. The Gettelman Beer is porcelain.

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#13 3 years ago

Where did you get the nice City Slicker Backglass and playfield?

#14 3 years ago

Just 3d Mods led arcade sign I sell in the market here and have in my game room.

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#15 3 years ago
Quoted from Dayhuff:

Wow, really surprised that this thread hasn't gotten more action?

Remember porcelain is not everything when it comes to collecting signs.

it is everything when it comes to the title of the thread, which is why it isn't getting more action

#16 3 years ago

well I have sold a lot of signs, I helped start an auction and liquidation company here in Cleveland.

but Dayhuff damn awesome collection. also we would get along fine, I feel the same way about history like that and is the reason why I quite my job to do what I do. I just love and appreciate history and old things that tell a story about the past.

I don't have many signs personally but one I bought off a local oldtimer was a Geauga lake sign for a ride from the 70's when they would just find a scrap piece of metal and paint a sign. It has a squid attacking a ship and the name of the park on it. ill try to post a picture.

but as for the fakes they do kinda stand out. but like every thing time and research will get you where you need to go. also the hunt is better than the product in most cases

#17 3 years ago
Quoted from Dayhuff:

Yes that is a wasp nest, since that picture was taken I have a even bigger one with the tree branch still attached to it and that's now hanging in the same spot. The Bally sign I bought off RGP many years ago, its supposed to have neon in it but I've got Xmas lights in it instead and it lights it nicely. I've got plenty of other signs not pictured too. Thanks for looking.
John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

I love the dum dum sign - if you decide to sell it

#18 3 years ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

it is everything when it comes to the title of the thread, which is why it isn't getting more action

Most of the sign guys I know don't limit themselves to one type. They are sign guys. The one variation is some are ok with reproductions and some aren't.

Porcelain certainly is a cool thing to specialize in though. It makes it easier in some regards as there are a lot of signs out there.

#19 3 years ago

Yeah I had to look it up myself, never heard the term.

#20 3 years ago
Quoted from Dayhuff:

Yes that is a wasp nest, since that picture was taken I have a even bigger one with the tree branch still attached to it and that's now hanging in the same spot. The Bally sign I bought off RGP many years ago, its supposed to have neon in it but I've got Xmas lights in it instead and it lights it nicely. I've got plenty of other signs not pictured too. Thanks for looking.
John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

Hey I've got a few wasp nests too! I'll have to take some pics. Maybe a new thread?

#21 3 years ago
Quoted from Dayhuff:

....... I've got plenty of other signs not pictured too......

Wow, just wow. I like every single one you have shown so far. So cool.

#22 3 years ago
Quoted from xsvtoys:

Wow, just wow. I like every single one you have shown so far. So cool.

Awesome, thanks for the nice comments guys!! I'll try and take some more pics soon as there is still plenty here to be seen. Signs come in so many shapes, style's and sizes there is something for everyone. I was really hot for that Dum Dum sign when I seen it, I figured it must have hung in the factory more then likely...,plus I work at a printing/packing place so it really fit in we'll here. I'll get a updated picture of the wasp nest too.

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

#23 3 years ago
Quoted from dmbjunky:

Where did you get the nice City Slicker Backglass and playfield?

I stole it off some shmuck at the Ohio show...WHOOPS...I mean I BOUGHT it off some really nice guy at the Ohio show. I cleaned up the playfield and both now hang loud and proud in basement...., just love that glass. Thanks again !!

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

#24 3 years ago

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#25 3 years ago

Nice swampcamp...that is my favorite corporate logo ever.

#26 3 years ago

Yes that's a great Sherwin Williams piece and hard to find in such nice shape.

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

#27 3 years ago

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#28 3 years ago

Just got around to taking more pics. I didn't realize I had so much advertising and sign stuff around.....

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

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#29 3 years ago

Coffee for 15 cents!

#30 3 years ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

Coffee for 15 cents!

Yeah that kinda dates it, huh?
Here's some more.

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

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#31 3 years ago

Aaannndd.....some more.

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, Mi.
269-979-3836

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#32 2 years ago

Yes even more.

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

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#33 2 years ago

Holy crap I think I'm getting a little out of control....?

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

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#34 2 years ago

I better stop here...

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, Mi.
269-979-3836

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#35 2 years ago

Good stuff! Don't stop now. It's too much fun. It's like one of those places you visit and notice something cool and interesting every time.

Here's a few of mine.

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ArcadeRow.jpg

BlackForestTrail.jpg

BurmaShave.jpg

Camels.jpg

Coffee.jpg

EdgertonCitySign.jpg

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#36 2 years ago

Never figured signs would bee that much of a draw, since there was countless ones made, based on how much money a store or company had. I have a few that i've picked up with my secondary job.. Two are advertising signs far I got cleaning out a workspace, but the rest (save for one!) are from worksites...

The two signal pics are related to my second job, they are supposed to be connected up to an intersection controller, but it's back at the manufacturer getting a part repaired.

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#37 2 years ago

That's great stuff guys!! Lets see if there are any other sign guys on here...., come on you guys where are you at ??

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, Mi.
269-979-3836

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#38 2 years ago

A few more. Collecting signs is like collecting pinball machines if you have an ounce of space left, you will fill it.

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#39 2 years ago

Man these are all great!

I think the one-of-a-kind oddball items are my favorite so far.

#40 2 years ago

You got some great ones there again Alex. I love the Fox, the boats for rent and the Velvet Ice Cream.

Its hard to get the true color of this Office neon so here's a couple of pics of it. Its from the Dicks motel in Detroit from the 1940's. All original including the can, transformer, neon, paint....everything. Also here's my Sullivan's Ice Cream neon (which is a local brand here in Battle Creek) that came out of the Kellogg's museum after it closed up in 2007. It was hanging in the cafeteria and man I swear they built the place around it. I finally managed to get it down only to realize that I broke the letter "S" on the right which meant new neon...ugh!! If I leave it on around the clock for the next ten years it might burn in and look a little more like the first half...double ugh !!

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

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#41 2 years ago
Quoted from Dayhuff:

Also here's my Sullivan's Ice Cream neon (which is a local brand here in Battle Creek) that came out of the Kellogg's museum after it closed up in 2007. It was hanging in the cafeteria and man I swear they built the place around it. I finally managed to get it down only to realize that I broke the letter "S" on the right which meant new neon...ugh!! If I leave it on around the clock for the next ten years it might burn in and look a little more like the first half...double ugh !!

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, MI.
269-979-3836

Man that has to make a guy sick to his stomach.

Where did you get the Beware Pickpockets and Loose Women sign?

#42 2 years ago

I'm going to try this again. All of these pics are what my Dad has.

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#43 2 years ago

Mom and Dad always told the story how one of Dad's friends dipped my pacifier in Big Red to shut me up when I was a baby. I still love it today.

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#44 2 years ago

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#45 2 years ago

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#46 2 years ago

I got the PBR find at a garage sale on the way home for work on Friday. It's kind of neat that it lights up and rocks back and forth almost like a real train - 1961. The Coke buttons are kind of rough but look good hanging in my old single garage. The "Sign" sign is originally neon & hung outside a very old (closed about 10 years ago) sign company. It's about 7 feet across & has some deco designs on the ends.

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#47 2 years ago

Wow John, what don't you collect?

#48 2 years ago

I like the Greyhound tour bus (Americruiser, IIRC) and Mercedes Ambulance Matchbox cars in the Keen Kutter photo too.

#49 2 years ago

Does anybody know what the two things with handles are in the first pic in post#45?

#50 2 years ago
Quoted from dmbjunky:

Does anybody know what the two things with handles are in the first pic in post#45?

Not sure what it is your referring too. I see those handles all the time but I never gave it any thought as to what there used for.

John P. Dayhuff
Battle Creek, Mi.
269-979-3836

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