Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I absolutely love antique signs,  porcelain advertising signs, hand painted carved wood signs, street signs, posted signs, trade signs, loud signs and subtle signs.  I wonder at the art, what the written word evokes in the mind of its reader.  The symbolic aspect of signs is truly worth contemplating.  

There are several signs still in use Today which I absolutely covet.  One is attached to the building of a South Shore car dealer and has probably been there for seventy years,  it is the iconic Art Deco Pontiac logo in neon.  Another is a hotel sign which dates from the 1940's in East Greenwich Rhode Island.  It is part of a small town main street vista, which can act as a time machine if you look long and hard enough. This Neon flange sign advertises a lounge and weekly rates

  Signs have been with us for a very long time.  While visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum one can see the remains of painted signs on the ruins of the Ancient Roman equivalent of a strip mall.  18th and 19th Century signs often appear in the shape of the goods or services they advertise, to speak to the many illiterate potential customers.  I once owned an early painted French metal sign in the shape of a woman's shoe.  Early twentieth century porcelain signs demonstrate this art in high form.  These signs show the artistic potential, when color and design intersect.  I am always thrilled when an early porcelain sign crosses our threshold.

I sometimes wonder  how our sign resonates in the minds of people passing our business offices.  The day it was hung will always reside in my memory as both a moment of pride and anticipation.  Does our sign create a positive response?  Is it's message clear?  Did we get the color right?  I welcome you the reader to let me know.  Until then my hunt for early signs continues.  Please join us for our January 21st Auction, at 83 Court Street, look for the "Auction Today" signs out front.