Today’s remarkable find is this OLD Pontiac Porcelain Dealership Neon Sign.
Yes, that’s right. A neon sign from a forgotten era, advertising a Pontiac Car dealership. If you are scratching your head right about now, the listing tells us a little about what it calls the “Holy Grail of Pontiac neon signs”:
“This old porcelain Pontiac neon dealership sign is 100% original with NO RESTORATION or TOUCH UP and NO CLEAR COAT ever and is the rare version with double stroke neon Pontiac wording with full horizontal and bull nose neon. This is the finest in original condition I have ever seen anywhere. Displays 9.5+ on both sides. Beautiful day one color with super high gloss. This is the Holy Grail of Pontiac neon signs. This one still has its all original cabinet and mounting hardware from day one and in very high grade condition”
It seems many people agree with the seller’s assessment, as the price for this sign is an astronomical $21,100! With 25 bids, it is indeed a very popular item, and the bidding isn’t over yet, nor has the reserve price been met.
In the interest of finding out more about these kinds of signs, we turned to the recently relaunched eBay Guides. The eBay buying guides are a place where both experts at eBay and our expert eBay shoppers write about their areas of specialization and interest. A search on “signs” returned an Automobilia Buying Guide link, which contained a lot of helpful information, but nothing about the Pontiac sign.
Searches further afield revealed little about this particular sign. This provides us with a huge conundrum, since we know this item is of interest to many people, and yet don’t know enough about it to give you a good idea as to why it is so valuable (although we have to say, it would look classy in our billiards room).
We did locate an article by Dave Margulius, writing for Collectors Weekly, on The Disappearing Art of Porcelain Signs. He interviews Michael Bruner, the author of the book Signs of Our Past: Porcelain Enamel Advertising in America. Bruner explains that the longevity of porcelain signs made them a cost-effective way for companies to advertise their products. “Ultimately however the cost killed porcelain sign making. It’s labor intensive compared to paint or silkscreen on thin metal. You can’t take a piece of chintzy metal and put porcelain enamel on it. You’ve got to have something substantial or it’ll just fall apart when it’s being fired.”