Petroliana collecting is a unique and exciting hobby for those who are passionate about the history and nostalgia of the gasoline industry. Petroliana refers to any type of collectible related to the history of gasoline and oil companies, such as signs, globes, pumps, and other advertising items.
The golden age of petroliana was during the 1920s to the 1960s, when gasoline was becoming a widely used and important product in society. During this time, gas stations and oil companies competed to create eye-catching and memorable advertising to draw in customers. This competition led to the creation of many colorful and creative signs, globes, and other items that have become highly sought after by collectors today.
One of the most popular types of petroliana to collect are signs. These signs can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from small porcelain signs to large neon signs. They can feature iconic images and logos, such as the Mobil Pegasus or the Texaco Star. These signs not only serve as a reminder of the past, but also as a unique and attractive decoration for any home or office.
Another popular type of petroliana to collect are globes. These globes, which were typically used on top of gas pumps, feature the name and logo of the oil company and can be made out of a variety of materials such as glass, plastic, and metal. They come in a variety of colors and designs and are highly prized by collectors for their beauty and rarity.
Collecting petroliana is not only a hobby, it’s also a great way to invest in a piece of history. The value of petroliana has been steadily increasing over the years, and it is not uncommon for a rare or unique piece to fetch a high price at auction.
If you’re new to the world of petroliana collecting, then look no further than Richmond Auctions in Greenville, South Carolina. They have an exciting collection of petroliana items for you to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a specific item or just browsing for inspiration, you’re sure to find something at one of our petroliana auctions that catches your eye. With their friendly and knowledgeable staff, they will help you find the perfect piece to add to your collection. So don’t wait, start your petroliana collection today with Richmond Auctions!
It’s been over 130 years since the invention of the gas pump by S.F. Bowser. Interestingly, it preceded the automobile! Even during the early days of the automobile, folks would get their gas from local hardware and grocery stores. Today, antique and vintage gas pumps typically form the core of a petroliana enthusiast’s collection. These forerunners to the modern gasoline pump went through several changes and improvements. From the visible gas pump that displayed how much gas you’re getting, to the electric pump that automatically cuts off the gas. Finally, you have the computerized gas pump, which resembles its modern variant much more closely.
The boom in car ownership in the 1900’s spurred a litany of companies, new and old, to build their own oil and gasoline brands. As market competition stiffened, gas companies utilized striking, colorful, and bold advertisements to bring in more customers and increase customer loyalty. The fuel advertisements were often printed on a form of paper. They were either published in local and national newspapers or hung as posters. There are few things that are both nostalgic and anachronistic than vintage fuel advertisements that spoke volumes of the era it came from. Need to step back into the 19-teens? You would only need to dive into the fine print of vintage oil and gas ad.
Vintage Advertising Signs
In the 19-teens, vintage signs would serve two primary purposes: present a positive idea of a brand or product and indicate where that brand is located or where the product can be purchased. Like a sentinel of self-advertisement, oil and gas companies many times utilized old neon signs to broadcast their products and its superiority, as well as to cement their brand and logo into public consciousness. Signs would also bring relief to motorists when services stations were mostly based in big cities or busy thoroughfares. Today, signs form an integral, and often symbolic (nostalgic too!) role in the collections of petroliana and automobilia enthusiasts.
The standard quart can, as well as its many variants, occupy a special place in the hearts of collectors. It harkens back to a time when bow-tie wearing gas boys would come running to attend to you and your thirsty automobile. Now, over 100 years later, enthusiasts and hobbyists of vintage oil cans have decided that the once unappreciated oil can is here to stay. Whether you prefer to keep mint condition oil cans unopened or free of oil, a petroliana collection without them would be incomplete.
You’d be mistaken if you think road maps were merely a byproduct of cars on paved roads. Road maps have been in use since the 16th century and most likely beyond. The first maps specifically designed for travel via automobiles would not appear until the end of the 19th century. One of the very first regions to be covered by an automobile road map was New York City. Today, the ubiquity of GPS and digital maps have not dampened the desire and appreciation of vintage road maps for automobilia and petroliana enthusiasts for these highly coveted, and aesthetic paper ephemera.
Gas Pump Globes
With the oil can aside, no other gas station memorabilia is as symbolic of the golden age of gasoline than the much-coveted gas pump globe. A favorite of many collectors, the gas pump globe (or gas globe) is also easily the most distinct, rare, and aesthetically pleasing among the petroliana antiques. Around the middle of the 20th century, these spherical glass signs were placed on top of gas pumps and served as additional signage for customers especially during low-light conditions. Grateful motorists would then easily spot these vintage gas globes in fog or darkness while simultaneously identifying the gas station’s brand.