Understanding Crazy Buying
Understanding Crazy Buying
We had a number of comments on the crazy prices realized on many of the Barrett-Jackson Auction items last month. I’ve written about motivated buying before, when a collector who specializes in one brand steps up for that rare piece he or she has been looking for and pays too much. But it’s not too much for them.
But when you take a $1,000.00 porcelain sign, such as the Kendall 2000 Mile Oil sign, add neon for say, for several hundred more, and then this sign that never really existed sells for $17,250, you shake your head in disbelief! This doesn’t bother me as I’ve been in the hobby long enough to understand what’s going on and if someone can make a killing on one item that’s their business. I’ve done it and so have most people in the hobby at one time or another. But, why $17,250? Because, in this case the venue is filled with buyers who collect expensive cars, and that’s all. When you go to an auction and have the money to spend on a $150,000 or $750,000 car and you want this sign for your man cave, spending $17,500 on this sign is a drop in the bucket. Someone in our hobby would not buy this sign at that price. You won’t go to Iowa Gas Auction and see a $1,500 sign bring $15,000.
How about the rare Esso Aviation neon sign that sold for $63,250? Same case, same scenario. It is, no doubt, a rare item; I spoke to an Esso expert who knew the origins of that sign. Take note, that sign was never neon, but it sure adds pizzazz! So you have a signs that’s worth about $5,000-$8,000 and then you spend maybe $1,500 on neon-- is that too much? It then sells for a crazy price!
The two visible pumps, unrestored worth about $2,000 or so each, restored brought $24,150 and $21,850. I know restorations are expensive and these pumps might be worth $4,000-$5,000 tops restored but not well into the 20K plus range!
But I’ll tell you what. If I had money to buy a couple Lamborghinis and wanted that sign I’d buy it too! Who cares? I’m not being facetious, I’m being honest. On a much smaller scale I once paid $5,500 for a globe that I knew was only worth $2,500 but I had to have it. Today it’s not worth any more but I have no regrets.
I have seen rare globes and signs run through these high dollar buyer auctions and they seldom bring what they should. People go to this show to buy rare and expensive cars and not rare gas globes or signs. I know some gas and oil guys do attend this event and may buy a globe, sign or pump from this auction but they know what they are buying and wouldn’t spend quadruple retail or more on certain pieces.
There are always motivated buyers out there inside and outside of our hobby. When it goes into these extremes we can only shake our heads and try to understand!
New Discoveries for the New Gas Globe CD and other Topics…
First, I want to address a common question that recently came up on the oldgas.com site about early Texaco globes with the “White Border T.” Basically all the first Texaco globes, which are etched and date back to 1916, have a “White Border T” border. These globes were made until 1925 or 1926. The first “Black Border T” Texaco globes didn’t appear until 14 years later with the one piece Texaco cast globe, circa 1930 made by the Gill Glass Company. Then the three piece globes continued with the “Black T” border, phasing out from about 1937 until about 1944. As for signs, many or most any “Black Border T” versions “dated” after 1944 are most likely reproductions.
Another question is the cone alignment notches on the 15” or 16.5” inserts. Simply put, not all original inserts have these markings. If your insert does not have this marking it means nothing until further investigation. Many early inserts have dark lines fired into the glass insert at 4 o’ clock and 8 o’ clock and other places and many don’t have the alignment notch either. The ones with the dark lines are very early inserts.
Also check out the photos here of decal found on ripple, Gill or glass frames. If the decal is on the base the globe most likely would be a “Gill Glass” globe made by the Gill glass company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If the decal appears on the very top of the glass frame that would be a decal from “Capco” or the Cincinnati Advertising Products Company, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Metal frame globes have decals in the bases only and we have seen a few different ones over the years. Cincinnati Balcrank, Capco, and a few odd ones have been documented.
Now, let’s talk about the Gas Globe CD and some new discoveries. We are still adding about one or two new globe discoveries per week to the existing CD since its release last October. Many of these are in old photos, but nonetheless we still have several more that were found existing today. That list is growing constantly. What surprised Wayne and me more than anything is the fact that we thought when the CD was released, that we would be inundated with ones that we missed. We thought that we would get calls on globes not in the new CD in the numbers of 150-200 range or so. Surprisingly, that did not happen. I do know though there are collectors sitting on huge collections with many globes that no one has ever seen. It’s getting these people motivated to get these photos to us so we can all share in the “new finds.” Again, if you have any globes not in the new Gas Globe CD please provide us a photo. We will, in the near future, release an updated version of this CD and want to make it as complete as possible.
One of the more interesting recent finds is a Buckeye Ethyl (plastic inserts) on Capco. What’s interesting about this piece is that many years ago I found a gentleman right here in Ohio (not in our hobby) who has a good collection of globes and one of them was a plastic inserts Capco that says “Akron Cities Ethyl.” Ironically this Buckeye Ethyl is identical except for the wording. Also the term “Buckeye” is our state nickname so the companies may be related, we’ll see.
Check out the February issue for the recent finds of “Velvagas, Wayco and Silver Flash” gas globes among the many others we have found since October. Earlier issues have other recent discoveries. Old photos continue to be the main source of new discoveries and many of these globes do not exist today but the exact number of how many will be found, well, only time will tell.
For me, an exciting discovery was added to my Sinclair collection. I always knew from old photos that upside down or “Canopy” one piece Sinclair globes existed. In fact, I have a box that my Sinclair Aircraft globe came in and it says. “Upright.” So this means there are upside down canopy versions out there of the Sinclair Aircraft, too. Anyway, I found a one piece Sinclair H-C fired/baked globe on eBay. Unfortunately, most all the paint was missing and restoring one of these globes adds little value. But I bought it for $125 or less, sent it to VanKannal restorations and Martin there did a great job restoring it! Check out the photo. Again, restored one piece fired globes have little value but it is what it is and I’ll enjoy it until I find a better one, which may be never. Imagine some globes being kept back in the day in attics but an upside down one would be worthless to anyone and I‘m sure most were discarded as anomalies! More versions of canopy globes from not only Sinclair but other companies as well will turn up in the coming years.
I think in the long run as Wayne and I have stated before we have no idea what’s out there and there may be thousands of globes yet to be discovered. We hope to keep the list as up to date as possible for future generations!