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Bidders chase Texaco Marine Motor Oil sign to an $8,400 finish
WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – Business partners Chris Sammet and Miles King achieved a long-held dream on July 27 when they welcomed guests to an 800-lot sale at their brand new auction gallery in suburban Cleveland. Previously, Milestone had operated from a rented venue nearby, but after a few short years, their business had grown to the point that a larger, purpose-built gallery with much more storage space was no longer a dream; it was a necessity.

“We took the leap, and we’re really glad we did,” Sammet remarked after the sale. “Our regular customers, and new customers as well, complimented us on how spacious and comfortable the gallery is. Any auctioneer will tell you that when the surroundings are pleasant, bidders tend to stay longer.”

The Saturday auction featured an excellent array of antique advertising, coin-ops, rare salesmen’s samples, and a fine collection of breweriana.

The petroliana category was led by a rare and eye-catching Texaco Marine Motor Oil double-sided porcelain sign. Its busy nautical image showed a variety of vessels, from a speedboat to an ocean liner, beneath a flock of seagulls and double Texaco logos. Glossy and bright, the 12˝- by 11-inch sign attracted several dozen bids before landing within its estimate range at $8,400.

The classic appeal of Art Deco style was front and center in an original Chicago Motor Club double-sided glass car rooftop sign. The original glass panels painted in white and black with a red star and the abbreviation “A.A.A.” were secured by the original semi-circular bronze bracket. It sold for an above-estimate $3,120. Another Deco-style lot, a reverse-painted-on-glass illuminating clock that advertised Bavarian’s Old Style Beer was bid to $1,680.

A rare 1902-1907 lithographed sign depicting the Federal Brewing Company bottling facility in Brooklyn, N.Y., reached $2,520; and an embossed tin-over-cardboard advertising sign for Escapernong American-made wine, Weldon, N.C., sold for $1,560 against an estimate of $200-$300.

Bidders dug deeply into their pockets for dimes to test out an Exhibit Supply Co. ’Novelty Merchantman’ 10-cent digger machine with a working miniature steam shovel. Luck was with one of them who placed the winning bid of $4,200 against an estimate of $2,000-$3,000.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, bidders had their eyes on a couple of lots with an agrarian theme. A Moe’s Top-Fill Poultry Fountain made by Otis and Moe of Chicago sold for $2,280. That price was hardly chicken feed, especially considering the lot’s pre-sale estimate was a modest $200-$400. Also, an early, nicely made wood and metal salesman’s sample replicating a hay rake harvested a winning bid of $2,340.

Almost every auction produces a “sleeper” that adds excitement to the room. In Milestone’s July 27 auction that distinction was claimed by a Mettlach 3L #1941 stoneware beer stein painted with the Saxony Coat of Arms. The handsome vessel sold for an unexpected $7,200, nearly five times the high estimate.

Contact: (440) 527-8060,

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