An AC Spark Plugs tin die-cut flange sign, dated 1936 and featuring the iconic "Sparky" logo, sold for $2,310 at an on-site estate sale of petroliana held September 24 by Matthews Auctions, LLC, based in Nokomis, Illinois.
The sale was conducted at the former home of the late Bradley Jackson of Jaffrey, who collected items in many categories prior to his untimely death.
It was a new record auction price for the AC Spark Plugs sign, which measured 15 by 11 inches and featured the words "Cleaning Station Blue Top Dealer" on one side. Both sides were rated 9+ out of 10 for condition, which added to its desirability to collectors.
In all, nearly 600 lots crossed the block in a sale that attracted around 350 people. It was held inside a large tent.
AC Spark Plugs tin die-cut flange
The top lot of the sale was a Gilbarco model #914 double-computing gas pump, with sight glass. It soared to $5,225. The pump was professionally restored in Sunoco colours, with decals and Blue Sunoco globe, a new hose and the original aluminum handle.
"Bradley Jackson was a dedicated collector of petroliana, automobilia, snowmobile collectibles, vintage Volkswagen Beetles and other vehicles and trailers," said Dan Matthews of Matthews Auctions, LLC.
"It doesn't surprise me we had a strong crowd, and those folks came to spend money. Online bidding, through Proxibid, only accounted for 15 percent of the gross."
Mr. Matthews said air meters, especially, were hugely popular with bidders and some fetched "almost ridiculous money."
One that hadn't even been catalogued (it was found in the attic of the home right before auction day) brought $1,000. "That's what's so great about a discovery auction like this," he said. "Great items like that turn up literally right before the sale."
Mr. Matthews added, however, that crawlers and tractors sold for substantially less than what he had expected.
"Some folks walked away with some tremendous bargains," he remarked, adding, "Overall, it was just a great sale. And thank goodness I had the help of Ron Pelletier of Brookline Auction (in Brookline, New Hampshire). Thanks to Ron, things went smoothly from start to end."