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Where Can I Sell My Advertising Collectables?

Fareeha Ahmad

Advertising collectables have been around for centuries. Harking back to a bygone era, they can instil a sense of nostalgia, or serve as a decorative, yet charming connection to the past. Either way, they have been attracting interest from collectors, redecorators and brand enthusiasts. Some even realise incredible prices at auction.

Considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of enamel vintage advertising signs, this Musgo Gasoline double-sided sign established a new world record with Richmond Auctions in South Carolina, USA, in August 2022, where it sold for an astonishing $1,500,000! (Image credit:

What is an Advertising Collectable?

From enamel signs to packaging such as matchboxes and tins, vintage advertising collectables come in all shapes and sizes. Essentially, any kind of vintage object adorned with a brand’s logo, or produced as promotional material can be considered an advertising collectable. Used to promote a diverse range of things, such as soap, petroleum, matches, chocolate, tobacco and all kinds of other commodities, many of these items feature older logo designs of familiar brands, and utilise art styles synonymous with earlier times.

Vintage petrol pump globes are popular among collectors, and especially rare examples can attract a lot of interest: this glass 1937 Dominion petrol pump globe set a record in October 2020, selling for £27,600 with Richard Edmonds Auctions. (Credit:

The diversity of vintage advertising items and subject matter also inevitably draws interest from a variety of special interest collectors, such as lovers of classic brands, or motoring and aviation enthusiasts, to name just a few.

Types of Vintage Advertising Collectables

Sold at Canterbury Auctions, this rare BP advertising sign sold for £28,000 in 2005, setting a UK record. (Credit:

Enamel Signs

The ubiquitous adornment outside shops, in garage forecourts and in various public spaces: enamel signs are perhaps the most synonymous aspect of vintage advertising collectables. Constructed using vitreous enamel applied to a steel base, these durable vintage advertising signs were long-lasting and weather resistant. A particularly fine example, produced to promote BP fuel, sold in 2005, in Canterbury, for an astonishing £28,000!

Among the more sought-after of beer mats are commemorative ones featuring the illusionist Chung Ling Soo (William Robinson). This example sold with Potter & Potter Auctions in Chicago as recently as February this year, achieving $6,000 inclusive of buyer’s premium! (credit:

Beer Mats

Beer mats were first produced in the 1880s by the German printing and board mill company Friedrich Horn. Their thin cardboard mats, with messages printed on them, were soon superseded by thicker, more absorbent mats produced by another German, Robert Sputh. These were made from liquid pulp. In Britain, the concept of the beer mat as a promotional item for breweries finally caught on in the 1920s, with Watney, Combe, Reade & Co. producing the first.

This album of Chinese, Japanese & Korean matchbox labels sold for £400 at Lyon & Turnbull in November 2016. (Credit:


Matchboxes and matchbooks spark enough interest in their own right among collectors, that a society was founded dedicated to the subject in 1945. Whether produced with a simple label glued to the box, a wraparound sleeve, or with artwork printed directly onto the box, these vintage advertising toys are immensely popular. Many display attractive artwork, and the collectable inserts that some brands produced are also particularly sought-after.

Huntley & Palmers are known for their distinctive double-decker London bus biscuit tins. This tin was sold at Hansons Auctioneers for £3,100 in November 2019. (Credit:


Be it biscuits, mints or tobacco, tins sporting promotional branding began to be produced around 1770, initially in the form of snuff boxes. By 1832, biscuit tins in particular were starting to be produced and before long they were being made in novelty themes and shapes. This creative method of furthering brand awareness turned a once-mundane everyday object into an attractive and clever advertising piece.

A fine example of vintage advertising figurines, this Silver King golf man figure sold at Bonhams in June 2013 for £8,125 including premium. (Credit:

Promotional Objects

Promotional objects are a particularly diverse kind of vintage advertising collectable, covering a vast array of forms – from shop window display pieces and promotional ornaments, to brand-emblazoned household objects and even appliances. Often associated with brands like Guinness and Coca Cola, vintage examples of these items can gain plenty of interest from collectors.

Why Sell Your Vintage Advertising Items at Auction?

Sold in our July 2023 Fine Art auction, this Red Bell Tobacco enamel advertising sign achieved a hammer price of £550.

There are several great reasons to sell your vintage advertising signs, enamels and more at auction. At Potteries Auctions, sellers can take advantage of a dedicated and professional team who will handle the selling process from start to finish.

This large 1950s plate glass Bass pub vintage advertising mirror sold for £220 in our May 2022 Antique & Collectors auction.

Also achieving a hammer price of £220 was this Bournville Cocoa Cadbury vintage advertising mirror, which featured in our July 2023 Fine Art sale.

First, your advertising collectables will be valued by an expert, who will provide a fair and accurate valuation and advise you as to which auction would be best to consign to. Then, the Potteries Auctions team will handle the entire process of selling your items, taking care of all aspects of cataloguing and marketing.

Featured in our June 2019 Antique & Collectors sale, this BMW enamel advertising sign sold for a hammer price of £150.

This collection of tobacco vintage advertising signs, including a Regal illuminated sign, Prince POS illuminated sign, along with framed cigarette cards, sold for £150 in our March 2020 Antique & Collectors auction.

Once your items are consigned, they will also benefit from a global reach, as our combination of in-person and online bidding attracts prospective buyers from all over the world. Not only does this increase the chances of potential bidders discovering the items for sale, it can also attract the attention of multiple interested parties. This can lead to lively exchanges as bidders compete against each other, potentially inflating the hammer price and leading to a higher return.

Sold for £220 in our January 2022 Cobridge auction was this pair of Bosch and Double Diamond vintage advertising clocks.

Finally, after the sale’s conclusion and once our processing of the buyer’s payment has completed, sellers can then enjoy prompt receipt of the proceeds, so you can sooner apply your profits elsewhere.

A novelty advertising desk tidy for Tough & Henderson, produced by Doulton Lambeth in the shape of a Thames barge, reached a hammer price of £420 in our November 2022 Fine Art auction.

This fabulous collection of Guinness advertising ceramics, produced by Coalport, also sold in our November 2022 Fine Art auction, and was well-contested up to a hammer price of £650.

Do you have advertising collectables to sell?

Our friendly team can help you consign them to auction. Potteries Auctions holds free valuation days every Tuesday at our saleroom in Silverdale. To book an appointment to attend, use our online booking form here.

You can also email us at, or call us on 01782 638100. Your items can even be valued via WhatsApp: simply send some clear pictures via the app to 07864 667940.