Five fantastic vintage advertising signs at auction in Wiltshire24 February 2020 In the days before neon signs the humble enamel version had to be eye-catching enough on its own to catch the attention.
The resulting often highly colourful designs, for now never seen brands such as Lyons tea and Wills tobacco, are very collectable and several auction rooms often examples regularly.
Chippenham Auction Rooms is one and the Enamel signs, Advertising items, Tins and Railwayana sale on February 29 includes a varied array. Alongside rarity, condition will affect value, of course, and some on offer are reproductions (check the catalogue notes).
The sale also features other examples of vintage advertising - included in this selection below.
Classic Brasso branding
One of the companies still around today – Brasso – is a popular choice for vintage advertising memorabilia. The tins themselves are very distinctive.
The product dates back to around 1905 with liquid polish under the name Brasso being sold by 1920.
A Brasso Metal Polish part pictorial enamel sign (shown top) of ‘smaller size and good colour’, 15in x 2ft (38 x 61cm) is guided at £400-600.
You can view the Brasso enamel sign at Chippenham Auction Rooms via thesaleroom.com
Sign of simple pleasure
Tea has always been drunk by Brits in huge quantities so it comes as no huge shock that many enamel signs are related to the great drink. Reflecting the thinking that simple messages are often the best, this 2ft 6in x 3ft 4in (76cm x 1.02cm) ad estimated at £40-60 states Brooke Bond Tea is good tea. And that’s it.
Brooke Bond dates back to 1869 when Arthur Brooke opened a shop in Manchester selling tea, coffee and sugar. Despite trading as Brooke, Bond & Co, a ‘Bond’ was never involved – Brooke just liked the title. By the time Brooke Bond was taken over by Unilever in 1984 it was the biggest tea producer in the world.
To bid for the Brooke Bond enamel sign at Chippenham Auction Rooms you can visit thesaleroom.com.
Moving away from enamel, this Phillips Rubbers pictorial circular glass advertising sign set within a metal hanging frame, is catalogued ‘in excellent original condition’. The 23in (58.5cm) sign is estimated at £500-800.
Phillips Rubbers was first established in Old Street, London, in 1919 and its products included Phillips Stick-A-Soles and Phillips Shoe Heels.
To view and bid for this Phillips Rubbers sign at Chippenham Auction Rooms, visit thesaleroom.com
A flame still burns
You would be hard-pressed to find any cigarette or tobacco advertising in the modern day but many versions come up in the vintage collecting scene.
A Player’s ‘Country Life’ Smoking Mixture pictorial showcard set within an oak frame, 22.5 x 17.5in (57 x 44.5cm), is estimated at £350-450.
Tobacco and cigarette manufacturer John Player & Sons was based in Nottingham. John had bought another successful company in 1877. Pre-packaged tobacco was one of his innovations.
View thesaleroom.com to bid for the Player’s ‘Country Life’ Smoking Mixture pictorial showcard at Chippenham Auction Rooms.
Have a drink and reflect on things
Alongside your fag the perfect complement would be a pint (many would say it still is). Advertising mirrors were a big part of promoting a brewery, hanging in many a pub.
This Samuel Smith's Tadcaster Ales advertising mirror, 2ft 1in x 9in (63.5 x 48.5cm), is estimated at £150-200. Samuel Smith founded the Tadcaster brewery in 1758 and it remains in the family, both brewing and operating pubs – mobile phones and swearing bans have been a feature of their establishments.
You can view and bid for the Samuel Smith's Tadcaster Ales advertising mirror at Chippenham Auction Rooms via thesaleroom.com