The Kyle Moore Auction
Hosted by Morphy Auction Company, Denver, Pennsylvania
October 5th, 2015
First, let me say this auction was friendly, professional and the most fun I’ve had since attending Iowa Gas a few months ago. Morphy Auctions is a class act! So is Dan Matthews whom most of us know, who greeted us there and helped Lonnie and me get grooved in. I also got to meet Dan Morphy for the first time.
I rode along with good friend and collector Lonnie Hop arriving on Sunday, late afternoon, to preview the auction. Countless staff greeted everyone as they walked in their large facility. As we wandered about, they were more than happy to show us around or open the locked glass cases so we could handle a wanted globe or sign. Staff members were everywhere and really there to help, making everyone feel comfortable. I’ve never been to an auction like this one. But wow, it was also like a major swap meet! Everyone was there including a few people I had not seen in a while. Many of us viewed the fantastic collection, then went to a local dining place to cap off the evening. It was great spending time with many good friends and fellow collectors. Then came the big day. Needless to say I got little sleep.
Monday we were up very early and at the auction door by 7:30 AM. The crowd was already gathering. Morphy Auctions had donuts, rolls, bottled water, coffee, juice and more. Whatever you wanted was provided, gratis! Later that afternoon there was an open bar – which I avoided for two reasons: 1) I really cannot and should not try to outbid a millionaire even after three drinks; and 2) broken globes have little value…
Nine AM was the start time and other than being a bit nervous I was quite impressed! The back wall of the auction room had at least seven staff lined up with phones in their hands ready for phone bids. The front of the auction by the podium had several people getting ready for bidding from other venues like Proxibid, eBay, Morphy’s own site and Live Auctioneer’s. What a coordinated effort!
Oh yes, the seats were $500 but if you bought anything it was refunded and if not it would be refunded in a few weeks. There was limited seating as only about 200 comfortable seats were available and the place was packed at the auction start. I honestly could not imagine attending this auction without buying anything as we all wanted a piece of the famous collection. You just had to go home with something.
But it wasn’t the $500 that concerned me. It was constantly calculating the fast paced auction adding 20% to your bid as you go. If that doesn’t wear you out after 12 hours nothing will! $1,000=$1,200, $5,000=$6,000, $10,000=$12,000 but these are even numbers. When bidding slows at $3,750 you need to be adding about $750 to decide if you want to bid again and you have little time to make that decision! I was spent by 10 PM!
People had asked me in the weeks before the auction; What will this due to prices? What will this due to the hobby? Will prices skyrocket? Plummet? What about my business? What will this go for? That go for? Can the hobby absorb a 20 million dollar collection? Yes it can…
The only thing I knew for sure was that auctions tend to have a pattern, but also meaning you just never know anything until the hammer hits! I figured many pieces would go retail, several would go sky high and being this huge an auction, that some pieces would fall through the cracks! That’s pretty much what happened.
I could point out many great deals. I could point out crazy prices way above retail. The rest fell somewhere in between. My concern was the amount that the hobby could absorb. In this case it was $3.5 million for this first auction alone and with four more of these auctions of Kyle’s collection, what will happen to the hobby? The following auctions from what I understand at this point will be in January, April, July and October next year. I wouldn’t say this first one hit us hard, as we all got back on our feet and shook it off fairly well! I really don’t think the hobby took any kind of big hit. I do know though that we all went home with a couple great pieces for our collections! There was no one person that “cleaned house” per se. A few guys bought strong on some signs and globes but with an auction that large it was fairly well spread out. Many items went to phone and on line bidders, too, so pieces went along to new homes everywhere! We can handle it!
I was able to purchase three globes for my collection and several for resale so I feel I did well. Bidding was strong, so strong that I watched 300 of the 800 lot auction before I bought my first piece. The auction was exactly 12 hours long; do the math, about four hours plus and nothing! Fun, but frustrating. One had to be patient! By auction’s end my friend and I had purchased several globes.
Graphic tin signs were very strong, many stronger than porcelain signs, some bringing $15,000-$40,000 plus! So much for the, “porcelain always does better than tin.” theory. But these were graphic flange signs, many tire ones, like you’ve never seen before. All I can say is, wow!
By the time the auction ended (12 hours later) the crowd was mostly gone. What a day! The staff remained with free boxes and packing material to help you load up, pack, sort, again, whatever you needed.
Please visit Morphy Auctions on line for all results. Here are some of the highlights. Most signs and gas globes were in excellent condition. All gas pumps were professionally restored. Please add 20% to the price you see…Maybe we will see you at the next auction.
Saxon Motor Cars porcelain sign $9,500
Texaco Crystalite with boy in hut $9,000
Kelly Gas and Oil Flange porcelain $38,000
Mustang Gasoline 48” rare porcelain sign $16,000
Signal 48” porcelain $10,000
Ford Service radiator shaped, one known $10,500
Gulf Marine Products $1,500
Mobilgas Socony 72” $4,750
Chandler Service porcelain $3,500
Hood Tires tin flange $16,500
Savage Tires with Indian tin flange $32,000
Marathon Tires tin $13,000
Fisk Tires tin $6,500
Michigan Maid gas globe, green ripple, two broken inserts $12,500
Badger gas globe $7,500
High Hat single 15” metal with hat $24,000
Penndrake gas globe single blue ripple $6,000
Bengal gasoline globe single on metal $20,000
Raymond “4 in one” 5 gallon pump killer piece $38,000 (Back in the day I had told Kyle Moore about this pump I had seen south of Toledo, Ohio. I just knew it was strange. It took Kyle about 25 years to get the guy to sell it but he finally did! Wish I could have bought that piece.)
Crawford five gallon pump $8,000
Roman Column pump $23,000
Rapid Dayton Bellboy pump $4,750
Eco air station early air pump $10,000
Sinclair Aircraft 24” rare porcelain $9,500
Royal 400 Red Hat 32” porcelain sign $33,000
Paragon porcelain curb sign $17,500
Red Hat Motor Oil 48” porcelain sign $27,000
Kelly Tires 42” porcelain single sided sign $74,000
Clipper porcelain sign $34,000
TP Porcelain sign with hanger $13,000
Rare Penn Trump porcelain sign $19,500
Vacuum Cup tin sign great graphics $41,000
Wil-Flo Motor Oil tin sign $22,000
Mayflower Gas metal frame gas globe $9,000
Tioga yellow Hull glass globe $26,000
Rare Standard chimney cap crown globe $15,000
Power-X with ape holding car globe $12,500
Bruinoil gas globe back side different $25,000
Mint Ford Benzol gas globe $13,500
Bolene Gasolene one piece globe graphic $17,500
Rare Black Charger single gas globe on metal $10,000
National Duplex gas pump $13,000
Super rare Eco-Meter double clock face gas pump $54,000
Sinclair Aircraft 48” porcelain sign $24,000
Rare Mohawk 28” porcelain sign $44,000
Packard Radiator shaped porcelain sign $40,000
Polly Gas porcelain sign die cut $75,000
Pegasus Neon porcelain sign rotator $24,000
Boyce Moto Meter tin sign $16,000
Sunrise/Sunset curb porcelain sign $10,000
Partridge Tires tin flange sign $25,000
Great early Goodyear tin sign $7,500
Superior Gasoline metal frame globe $19,000
Westland one piece buffalo globe $11,000
Atlantic one piece chimney cap globe $4,750
Red Crown Polarine oval one piece $9,000
Jenney Aero single back Ethyl metal frame gas globe $15,000
Independent three marching men globe $34,000
Sinclair Benzol one piece globe $12,500
Super rare Purol oval one piece $11,000
National Simplex gas pump $8,500
Bowser twin Xacto Sentry clock face gas pump $11,000
Evangeline 42” porcelain sign with tree $10,000
Packard Genuine Parts porcelain sign $20,000
Rare Koolmotor 12” one piece globe $7,500
Fyre Drop one piece gas globe $3,500
S-S Oil Company unusual one piece Red Hat globe $9,000
T-P metal frame globe $10,000
Hi Speed Aviation one piece globe very rare $3,750
Canadian Twin 10 Gallon gas pump $13,500
Rare Correct Measure double clock face gas pump $28,000
Rare Midland/Skelly one piece gas globe $2,000
Bull Dog Pep gas globe $4,750
Little Bear gas globe on red ripple $23,000
Sunoco milk glass topper for Tokheim 36 B gas pump $1,200
Indian Gasoline small one piece gas globe $11,500
Rare Barnsdall monument shaped one piece gas globe $13,000
Please see Morphy Auctions on line for all results as these were just some highlights.
We’ll see what the remaining four auctions of the Kyle Moore collection will bring. There are hundreds and hundreds more great gas globes, signs, cans and more. This was just the beginning, which is hard to comprehend.
Hershey PA., October 6th, 2015
The day after the big auction was the Hershey meet. But we had no time to rest getting in the night before from the auction about 10:30 PM, then getting up early to drive back to Hershey.
The drive was short, only about 40 minutes, the sun was out and the temperature was expected to reach about 70. Wow, that’s not normally Hershey weather, but I can live with that. We only had one day for Hershey this year instead of the normal two days so this had to be short and sweet before the six hour ride home Tuesday night. Lonnie would then have another five hours from my house to his Wednesday morning.
No room for bikes this year as the van was filled with glass, so we hit the pavement running to hopefully cap off a successful trip. Hershey seemed like a spillover from the auction as many collectors were at Hershey that I had just seen the previous day.
I usually hit the old Chocolate field first and saw dozens of signs from a couple vendors. The first gas globe I saw was a rare Standard of New Jersey. “Standard Motor Gasoline” single on 15” metal. Priced fair at $550 but it had wear like most of these do, so I passed. Other nearby vendors had several gas globes fairly priced mixed with countless gas and oil signs. One porcelain flange sign, a scarce, “Red Crown Gasoline” early Sohio with the green border, was priced at $2350 I think which was a bit high but it is a rare sign. A Hi Speed porcelain sign was priced up there, too, but it was in good condition. I also saw a really nice porcelain Buick sign for $3,250 and that was snatched up pretty quick from what I understand.
We mixed it up a bit hitting various aisles, crisscrossing now and then, to find that special piece. More signs, gas pumps, globes, neon signs, countless cans and other collectibles were mixed in with the millions of car parts you see at a huge show like this one.
I didn’t see anything great this year other than some interesting signs vendors brought, pieces that I had already seen at Iowa Gas or Columbus. But as for something new and unique I don’t think there was much out there this year. I did find a scarce “Socony” single insert 16.5” which was a version you rarely see. One vendor had a mint large porcelain Hi Speed sign and was asking about $6,500! Nice sign but, wow! I saw some rare beer globes which are really hard to find. Actually a good amount of gas and oil but you had to look hard for the scarcer items. We only had a chance to see about two thirds of the vendors on Tuesday, then we had to head home.
I go to Hershey for other items too and just to look at all the cool stuff. It’s like miles of vendors with everything you can imagine. Since I didn’t find many gas globes I could take home this year, I did find something I always wanted. I bought an early Fire Alarm box from the 1920s, all original with its cast iron pedestal base, pole and original key! I paid only $600 from a retired fireman. What a great price on that one. Lonnie gave me, “the look” when I asked if we had room for the piece. Ha ha…Seems like a 300 pound piece of cast iron doesn’t mix well with expensive glass. Wonder why? Anyway, we quickly reloaded a portion of the van and I told him it’ll be ok as long as he doesn’t roll the van! And that, my friends, is Hershey…