How to Choose an Antique Advertising Auction Service

An antique advertising auction is an exciting way to sell a collection of items that have made brand names household words. Collectors are drawn to this category of ephemera, and a well-executed auction can often bring a large crowd. The better auction services keep track of the sales performance of this type of merchandise and make it available to dealers in the form of market reports. A dealer analyzing his or her choices of auction services can learn much from these reports.

This month, Morphy Auctions’ March sale featured a broad selection of antique and vintage tin and wood advertising signs, displays, samples, and ephemera. Its offerings spanned many of the most popular collecting categories, including automobilia and petroliana; soda pop, country store, and tobacciana; and brewery items.

These types of tin and wood signs were once an integral part of the daily lives of Americans. People purchased goods and services from the businesses that hung their advertising, which were often located in their towns and villages. The companies that owned these shops also marketed their products with printed advertisements in newspapers and other printed materials. In the 19th century, as the use of lithography and other printing techniques increased, the appearance of these ads changed from simple handwritten signs to more sophisticated and attractive ones.

The antique advertising market is very diverse, and some auction houses specialize in it. A collector interested in selling this kind of merchandise should find an auction service that specializes in these offerings and sells them at specialty sales. For example, tools should go to a tool auction, toys to a toy sale, glassware to a glassware sale, and so on. Keeping track of the performance of an auction house with these categories is not difficult, as most dealers buy and sell them regularly.

Many auction services promote themselves by listing how well they do in bringing in high-end items like a rare piece of Chippendale furniture or a painting by an internationally recognized artist. This type of information can be useful, but it is not the entire picture. It is more important for a dealer to know how well an auction service does in selling the types of antiques and collectibles that most dealers carry in their stores. This information is easy to gather, and a dealer can use it to choose an auction service.

The better auction services collect and publish this data, and dealers can find it in the market reports that are published in trade journals and other printed publications. The basic information needed is the average price of the items sold, the number of items that were sold, and how the selling prices compare to estimates. It is a little time-consuming to do this work, but it can pay off for dealers who choose the right auction service. It is no secret that some auction services make millions for paintings and other high-end items, but they should be evaluated in terms of how well they do on the everyday types of antiques that most dealers carry.