Collectors from all over the country once again gathered in Des Moines, Iowa for the hobby's largest event. Held at a hotel, the event consists of outdoor vending and indoor vending and two auctions along with the room to room informal swap.
The Midwest Oil Company was the featured company this year at the show. This must have had some affect on the quantity of Midwest items that showed up because there was quite an array. There were cans, globes, signs of which one was neon. It was a beautiful sign that said Ace High gas-oil with an airplane. Bidders did seem a little sceptical as the sign said Northwest instead of Midwest. It sold for $3,800 plus the buyers fee. Other Midwest products sold at the Saturday auction included several globes. An Avio went for $2,000 and a Ace High metal band found a new home at $4,900. An Avio blue, white and red two sided porcelain oval shaped sign featuring a car and a airplane went for $500. Out in the swap meet an Avio can had a asking price of over $500. A 1lb. Avio grease sold at the Friday night can auction fetched $350. Even though we know better you would almost think that Midwest products were common.
The Friday night can auction featured many unusual cans, here is a rundown of what some of them sold for. Keep in mind the prices given here are what we heard the acutioneer say when the gavel fell and does not include the buyers premium. A red and white Chieftain 1qt. sold for $500 and a round quart from Oilzum went for $250 while a State of Main quart found a new home at $550. An early derrick shaped Marathon can brought $1,600 but that was the top can at the auction, a one gallon Elk Head fetched a high bid of $1,700. Other round quarts that sold include a Tiopet at $575, a Trophy with snow scene for $700 and a Husky at $195. Either I have not been paying attention to one pound grease cans or they took a recent jump in value, here are some sale prices on one pound greases. An Old Dutch sold at $240 while a Sambo moved at $140, a Chief Lubricants traded at $450 and Hy-Flash went for $150. Topping the one pound grease cans was a Gilmore that reached a high bid of $550.
Other items that went through the auction included many signs, a Trojan Motor Oil (large) in red, black and cream went for $250 and Johnson Time Tells Motor Oil sign sold for $1,000 while a Socony Air-Craft oil sign moved at $325.
There were hundreds of globes, signs, pumps, cans and other pieces of oil and gas advertising and memorabilia run through the two auctions at Iowa. The rare items in excellent condition brought the most active bidding and more average items seemed to hold their value throughout the auction. There was a full house for the Friday night can auction. The Saturday auction was standing room only with people lined up around the room against the wall.
The swap meet was divided into two areas, inside and outside. Here too were many great items, almost too many to see. Since you can't be every where at once this is where friends help out a lot. Knowing what you like to collect they see something and tell you about it. The inside swap lasted until about 4 pm on Friday and then had to be packed up to make room for the auction that night.
Chief Texaco (John Ross) complete with Indian headdress added much color to the lobby with his dislpay as he was set up there promoting the Texaco stein.
As always we enjoy meeting people at the shows and Iowa was certainly no
exception. While running around taking pictures I ran into Fred Stoke. Fred
is a subscriber from California and avid quart can collector. Fred brought
some pictures of his ever growing can collection. You may think of an envelope
or two filled with pictures when you think of someone showing you pictures
of their collection but Fred's pictures came in a roll that when stretched
out measured no less than 3' wide by 18' long. Being a can collector myself
needless to say I was impressed with his collection and his layout of pictures.
We were able to meet a lot of great people and look forward to going back
Photos and article copyright 1995 Tiger Hightest magazine.
Published to the Web 5/26/96 by Jim Potts, used with permission.
For current info see the
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