We Buy and Sell Vintage Signs Across North America

We buy and appraise vintage signs.

From $1,000 - $100,000, We Buy Them All

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Value Guide For
Collectible Vintage Signs

While there are sign collectors that go for all kinds of materials, porcelain signs are by far the most collectible ones. Not only do we pay a higher premium for them than any other dealers, but we also send the cash before making you ship the item to ensure that you don’t have to worry about any risks on your end.

The kinds of signs below will give you a good idea of which signs could be valuable and which ones may not be worth bothering with. High-grade and rare signs are the ones that we’re most interested in since mid-grade or common signs can be acquired pretty easily.

If you think that you have a sign or even multiple signs that we’d be interested in, then you can reach out via the contact form on our website, email, or phone.

Factors that Determine the Value of a Collectible Sign

Rarity

The rarity of collectible items are a big determiner of their value, which is why you should do some research on your signs before trying to sell them. Items that are one of few in existence will yield bigger payouts from collectors than the signs that you could get at most trade shows or even on eBay.

That being said, it might be tricky to figure out which signs are rare and which ones are common. Review the categories we’ve listed below to see if your sign lines up with the value criteria. Most of our signs are at least mid-level, while many of them are even very rare.

Design

The design of a sign could also be a determiner of value. Collectors have a specific taste when it comes to the graphics that are on a sign. Great color and attractive designs are the types of things that would interest most collectors who are looking for their next piece.

Beyond the color and print, the shape of an item can also make it stand out if your die-cut sign has a particularly interesting contour. When you look at the top of the market, the most valuable items listed often have gorgeous designs such as the Harbor Petroleum signs.

It’s worth noting that you don’t need a world-class design to get a good price when selling a sign since there are some valuable items out there with a simple look. However, those cases are rather far and few between.

Demand

Next to rarity, the second thing that can affect the value of a specific sign is the demand for it. Just because you have an item that’s incredibly rare in terms of availability, you still won’t get a decent price for it if collectors aren’t willing to buy it or even compete for it.

If you want to get high prices for your items, then you need to find signs that combine rarity and demand in the collector market. Most sellers spend too much time considering whether or not the item is rare rather than thinking about the number of people in the industry that would want to buy it.

This phenomenon can be seen quite frequently on eCommerce sites like eBay when people list a “rare” sign for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. In most cases, these signs end up sitting on the site for weeks or months without getting any attention from potential buyers.

Brand

The brand that a sign is advertising is another component that you should take into consideration when trying to research its value. There are many collectors out there that only focus on a couple of brands when adding to their collection.

That being the case, you could find that a sign that would be rather mundane on its own but could fetch a nice price if there are collectors who want to add another piece to their collection with that specific brand.

This is one of the main reasons that oil and gas signs yield such high prices when auctioned off or listed online. Conversely, you could also find some signs with a great design that still doesn’t garner much interest from the world of collectors because the brand that it represents isn’t very well known in the industry.

Size

The size of a porcelain sign could impact its value to a pretty significant degree in some cases. The signs that fetch the largest chunk of change are often in the 30-42 inch range. That size is popular because it’s still easy enough to hang on a wall yet big enough to catch the eye of those who pass by even from a distance.

The point of diminishing returns becomes evident with signs that are too big mainly because it will be an absolute chore to find wall space, not to mention transport the item from the auction house to its final resting place.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, signs that are too small tend to go for less money because they don’t stand out enough on a wall to merit a higher price. It’s worth noting that this explanation of sizes is very basic and should serve as a general guideline rather than an absolute rule.

Some signs are incredibly valuable despite being smaller or larger than most of the lot, but being aware of the usual size-price ratios can help you determine what makes for a good size.

Condition

Finally, like most other collectible items, the condition of the item can make or break a sale. In most cases, signs that are in near-mint condition could end up bringing in more than ten times the value of the same item in a grade six or seven condition unit.

The increase in value is also rather exponential as the price difference between a grade eight and nine is far greater than that between a seven and eight. This is why you should make your best effort to keep signs in mint conditions if you plan to store them for a few years before reselling.

Factors that Don’t Determine the Value of a Collectible Sign

Age: Many people I talk to get hung up on the age of the sign they have and how old it is exactly. While this might be nice to know, it really doesn’t affect the value in a significant way, if you have two of the exact same sign and one is 5 years or 10 years older than the other, they still have the same value to collectors. Collectors are after signs for the display factor and how they look for the most part. The date of a sign can be helpful in authenticating it, but usually it’s easier to authenticate a sign by looking at other features.

Entry Level Collectible Signs

Entry Level Signs usually sell for less than $300 each and many can be found for less. Almost all entry level signs are common and easily available on ebay to anyone interested or may be less common but were made later in the 60’s or later. I also include in this category, lower condition signs of mid level rarity. Entry level signs also include generic signs like No Trespassing, Fire Exit, Stop Signs, and other similar items that wouldn’t have been used for advertising purposes.

Mid Level Collectible Signs

Mid Level Signs usually sell for $300-1000 and include signs that are somewhat scarce, have moderate demand, or for whatever reason collectors are willing to pay elevated prices for. If your sign is at least 30″ and in good condition, it probably qualifies as a mid level sign, if it is from a good brand. Many of the signs pictured on PorcelainSigns.com are mid-level signs, though we do have images of many high level signs as well. Signs in this range are especially condition dependent, small edge chips and chips around grommets won’t do too much damage to a sign’s value, but gun shots, rust, and other damage to the main field of the sign will have a dramatic impact on value since these signs aren’t terribly rare and collectors are always willing to pay for top condition signs.

High End Collectible Signs

High End Collectible Signs are those that advanced, experienced, and wealthy collectors are actively looking for. This usually means that these signs are fairly rare and don’t come up for sale often, but sometimes it just means that the sign is really cool and people are willing to spend a lot of money for one. This combination of rarity and demand drives prices up into the thousands of dollars for high level signs in today’s market with the rarest and best condition signs bringing prices as high as $50,000 in some cases. To bring top prices signs need to be in excellent condition without areas of damage or rust, without fading, bends or other defects and preferable with a nice shine or luster to the surface of the sign.