July/Aug 2019 edition
Issue #6 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
Written by John Mihovetz
When it comes to Automotive Advertising, not much more is sought after than the Tin Lithographed Tire Flange Sign. In all of Automotive Advertising, the Tire Advertising signs made from the late 1910’s into the 1930’s are some of the most graphic and beautiful signs ever made. During this era, companies such as H.D. Beach, American Art Works, Shonk Art Works, Passaic Metal Works, Donaldson Art Sign Company, and many more produced hundreds of different beautiful pieces of artwork for Tire Advertising, which we still seek out today….one hundred years later.
Lithography on metal for advertising purposes dates as far back as 1875. As automobiles increased in popularity by the 1910s, Tin Lithographed Signs were a very popular way to advertise, and carried on into the 1930s until Porcelain Enamel became the primary way to produce signage, due to its cheaper cost as well as durability. Tin lithographed tire flanges were always colorful, with awesome graphics and were seen in many eye-catching shapes and die cut patterns at Service Stations around the country.
Tin Lithographed Signs are incredibly beautiful, but also incredibly fragile. Over time, these signs scratched, rusted, and fell victim to vandalism. Tin lithographed signs are extremely rare to find in 9+ condition. Most of the time, even New Old Stock (NOS) examples of Tin Lithographed signs will show paper markings or storage wear.
As time has passed into modern day, we have been left with some outstanding examples from the Golden Era of Tin Lithographed Tire Advertising, and pictured here are some of my favorite examples. Here’s to the hunt of tracking down some of your favorites, and to the chance of tracking down a new discovery. I hope you enjoy!
I am also looking forward to this year’s Morphy Auctions Hershey Car Show Auction Sale. This year’s sale is going to be our biggest Gas & Oil Sale to date, and will feature over two-thousand lots, October 5th-7th in Denver, Pennsylvania, before the Hershey Swap Meet begins.
To read more great columns like this one from petroliana expert John Mihovetz...
Empire Tires & Tubes Flange Sign..
Made by American Art Works in Coshocton, Ohio. This piece is a little more subtle than some of the other Tin Lithographed Tire Flange Signs, but it has such a smooth and beautiful look to it. Flange depicts a tire, with tube and tube box set inside of the tire. The colors choices are spot on, and the artwork and script are second to none. Circa 1920. Value $18,000+
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John Mihovetz is an Expert and Director of Acquisitions at Morphy Auctions focusing on automobilia, petroliana and antique advertising.
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