People love to collect vintage signs. Any self respecting man cave would not be complete without a few of these classic advertising beauties. It doesn’t matter if it’s a wooden, porcelain, or metal sign, they are all great wall decor items and conversation pieces. One of my all time favorites was the EAT sign. There was no question what was going on inside those little roadside buildings. Or the giant coffee cup with steam rising, a road trip staple. Need a beer? Just look for the giant BAR sign. Usually in neon and flashing. How about the neon lady with her leg wrapped around a pole under the BAR sign. Just another no brainer hint of what’s being offered inside.
Collecting these signs has become extremely popular. And yes, the man cave has affected the popularity and values of these advertising gems. One of the categories that you can find what you’re for is Breweriana. In this group all of your favorite alcoholic beverages can be found. Do you remember some of these brands? FALSTAFF, BLATZ, BILLY BEER, CARLING BLACK LABEL. How many can you add to the list?
Another popular category is Petroliana. It’s amazing how many there were. They had some of the most iconic logos in advertising. You can find a lot of these in porcelain, and metal with flashing neon lights. I’ll bet you remember Standard, GULF, MOBILEGAS with the flashing neon horse with wings, Phillips 66, Texaco, Sinclair with Dino the Dinosaur. My wife remembers her dad coming home and giving her a green toy rubber Dino the Dinosaur. It was a big deal because she still remembers it! How many more do you remember?
Then there’s the Food and Drink category. That’s where you’ll find the Burgers, Pizzas, Ice Cream, Coffee, and the very popular Coca-Cola signs. Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, and many other soda brands. How about trying to make a list of how many you remember. Then keep the list, pick out your favorites, and start hunting!
And of course there is the Tobacco category. Cigars and Cigarettes were the most advertised types of tobacco, but it’s hard to forget the pipe tobacco Mail Pouch. I can’t even begin to tell you how many barns had CHEW MAIL POUCH TOBACCO “Treat Yourself to the Best”, painted on the sides. This was the product of the Bloch Brothers Tobacco Company. The Bloch brothers were looking for a new way to promote their tobacco, and they had the brainstorm of painting their ads on the sides of barns. This was way back in 1891 and the farmers who owned the barns were happy to have their barns painted for what would equal about $40.00 in today’s dollars. Here’s a great bit of trivia and something to look for when you spot one of the barns, and that is the painters signature on the barn. It could be found near the roof, or in the blue border. One painter, Harley Warrick, was known to have painted about 20,000 barns.
I think it would be fair to say that collecting these barn signs would be the most costly. After all, you may have to buy the farm!