A powder blue, fully restored 1959 Chevrolet Corvette convertible sped off for $82,600 and a Canadian Red Indian Aviation Motor Oil sign from the 1930s changed hands for for $47,200 in Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd.’s online-only Petroliana, Railroadiana & Advertising auction held on June 18, 2022. Overall, the auction grossed $628,674.
All prices in this report are in Canadian dollars and include an 18% buyer’s premium.
The ‘59 Corvette was originally a New Mexico car, later purchased in Canada in 1979 by Joe Byway, whose collection headlined the auction. Joe stored the car until 1985 and then commissioned Dave Harrison with a restoration. It was a meticulously maintained, rust-free car. Not all numbers matched but the car boasted a correct 283 c.i. 230 hp V8 engine.
The Canadian Red Indian Aviation Motor Oil single sided porcelain sign from the 1930s was a seldom seen sign promoting Red Indian's Aviation brand of motor oil. The vibrant cobalt blue and blood red graphics popped against the white ground. The 26-inch by 72-inch sign retained the original flanged mounting ends and was graded 8.75 for condition.
The Joe Byway collection featured petroliana (gas station collectibles), railroadiana and advertising tins and signs. Some toys were also sold. “The top 50 lots met or exceeded our expectations, and the market for top-tier petroliana continues on an upward trajectory,” Ethan Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions said. “All the vehicles sold at or above estimates.”
The vehicles he refers to included a 1937 Ford Model 78 Deluxe convertible sedan, a rare open-air car with rear doors and the original paint (except for the front fenders). The restoration included new upholstery, carpet and convertible top. The car was powered by the correct flathead V8 engine and the odometer showed just 10,175 miles ($32,450).
Also sold was a 1972 GMC 1500 Custom pickup truck with 49,138 miles on the odometer. The rust-free truck featured a long box, three-speed manual transmission, the original interior and correct original 307ci V8 engine (undetailed). The restoration, by Ernie Droogers, included new paint, headliner and a re-chromed rear bumper ($30,680).
Following are additional highlights from the 299-lot auction, one in which 368 users registered to bid online, via MillerandMillerAuctions.com and LiveAuctioneers.com, and placed a combined 5,996 bids. One hundred percent of lots sold, and 86% of the top 50 lots exceeded estimate. “It was a feel-good sale that energized the market,” Miller said.
Among the railroadiana lots, bigger didn’t necessarily mean better. A collection of rare badges rose to a combined $18,800, led by a group of six Canadian National Railway badges from the 1930s that blasted through their $300-$500 estimate to bring $7,080. Five of the nickel-plated brass and sterling silver badges were marked, “J.R. Gaunt & Son, Montreal, Made in England.”
An Eco-Meter 150 “Clockface” Gasoline Pump (Canadian, 1930s), 82 inches tall by 22 inches wide and painted to Shell colors, with a reproduction globe, went to a determined bidder for $29,500. Also, a single-sided porcelain Red Indian Motor Oil sign (Canadian, 1930s), with a raised border, 26 inches tall by 72 inches wide, graded 8.75, hit $24,780.
A General Motors double-sided porcelain sign (American, 1950s), reading “Pontiac, Buick, GM Truck,” 96 inches tall by 72 inches wide, with atomic age design, consisting of six pieces (three sections per side), realized $23,600; and a double-sided porcelain Supertest Gasoline Service Station sign (Canadian, 1930s), 48 inches in diameter and graded 8.75 on each side for condition, with scattered losses and chips, made $18,880.
A double-sided porcelain White Rose Gasoline “Slate Boy” sign (Canadian, 1940s), with the iconic “Boy and Slate” graphics, 48 inches in diameter, graded 8.75/8.5, found a new home for $23,600; while a White Rose Service Station sign (also Canadian, circa 1940s), a three-piece set including two horizontal panels and a rare 36-inch diameter round sign, each piece single sided porcelain, blew past its $8,000 high estimate to finish at $18,880.
A double-sided porcelain Dominion Royal Tires sign (Canadian, 1940s), marked “P&M Orillia” on the lower edge of each side, 65 inches tall by 70 inches wide and graded 8.5 on each side, garnered $10,620. Also, a Service Station Equipment Clearvision double gasoline pump (Canadian, 1930s), 127 inches tall, having an older restoration to Sunoco colors, reproduction globes and one aluminum and one steel bonnet, went for $21,240.
An Imperial 3-Star Gasoline double-sided porcelain service station sign (Canadian, 1940s), retained in the original porcelain oval ring, 41 inches by 60 inches, graded 9.5 and 9.25, rang up $7,080; while a Texaco Gasoline double-sided porcelain service station sign (Canadian, 1957), marked, “P&M Orillia 57” on the lower edge of one side, 5 feet in diameter, graded 8.75 on both sides, with minor scattered porcelain losses, hit $6,490.
Miller & Miller Auctions has two online-only auctions planned for the fall. They are a Petroliana & Advertising auction on September 10 and a Canadiana & Folk Art auction on October 8.
To consign a single piece, an estate or a collection, call them at (519) 573-3710 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd., and their upcoming auctions, visit www.millerandmillerauctions.com.