From colourful antique Victorian trade cards of the 1870s, shop display figurines popular with alcohol companies, neon signs that used to be so popular brightening everybody’s day, these all being collectable today. To the All Blacks half time commercials of today, advertising has gone from a small component of everyday life to a daily accurance.
Early advertising is very collectable these days with some rare signs selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. With this increased interest in vintage collectables the market has been swamped with fakes in recent years. It is best when starting to collect antique collectables to check with an expert when making a purchase; you can contact us here with a picture if you please. As your collection grows so will your knowledge of the signs of a fraud.
Perhaps the most easily recognizable advertising medium of the late 19th and early 20th centuries is the vintage enamel/porcelain sign. Manufacturing started as early as the 1880s, companies saw the advantages of enamel as a material that was both durable and weather resistant. Although these now vintage signs were first made in Germany, the manufacturing technique soon spread around the world, where their bold colours and eye-catching graphics were put to good use advertising cigarettes, motor oil, kitchen ingredients and soaps to name a few. With the onset of World War II, however, many of these signs were destroyed for the base metal they contained. Their resulting rarity makes them attractive to collectors.
Tin signs have also been used since the late 19th century; they became more popular after the war, and were often produced as a cheap alternative to enamel signs. Unlike their enamel companions, however, tin signs are prone to rust and degradation making good ones harder to find.
All aspects of vintage advertising add character to a home, but don’t think such things can only be displayed inside. Antique enamel signs ooze character and where made to last forever outdoors. Adding a splash off history to your garden decor can really set your space apart.