Value Guide For Collectible Porcelain Signs

We buy all collectible signs, but the most collectible signs will be porcelain, and not only do we pay more money than other dealers, we can pay you before you have to ship anything to us so there’s no risk to you. The types of signs listed show what types of things make for a valuable sign and what things don’t. We are most interested in rarer and high grade signs because we can get common or mid-grade signs pretty easily. If you believe you have signs that we might be interested in, then please contact us via email, phone, or use our contact form. Dale@PorcelainSigns.com

Factors that Determine the Value of a Collectible Sign:

  • Rarity: The rarity of any collectible item will drastically affect its value. Signs with only a few known examples will naturally bring higher prices from collectors than those that you can buy at any show or that can be found on ebay frequently. How can you know if your sign is rare or common? Check the categories below and see if your sign is shown, if not check elsewhere on the site, most signs listed on PorcelainSigns.com are at least mid level signs and many are very rare.
  • Demand: The second main factor affecting the price of collectibles is demand. Even if you have an incredibly rare item in terms of the fact that you can’t find them often, if collectors aren’t competing to buy it, then the value will still be low. To achieve high prices, you need both rarity AND demand from collectors. Many people get hung up on the idea of whether something is rare, without considering if anyone out there actually wants to buy it. You’ll see this phenomenon all the time on ebay when someone has their “RARE” item up for hundreds or thousands of dollars and it sits there for weeks or months without selling.
  • Design: The design of a sign also affects its value, collectors love to see signs with attractive designs and good colors and die-cut signs with interesting shapes also attract good attention. The most valuable signs you’ll see on the market almost always have beautiful designs such as the H.P. Hood, or Harbor Petroleum signs. There are valuable signs out there as well with rather simple designs but those are the exception rather than the rule.
  • Brand: The brand a particular sign is advertising for is also an important component to value, many collectors will focus on one or two brands to build their collection around, so someone trying to get a sign for their brand that may seem otherwise unimportant can get increased value if there is a large group of collectors focused on that brand, this is part of the reason so many gas and oil signs sell for such high prices. Conversely, a brand that is not very well known or that doesn’t have much of a following will reduce the value of that sign since there just isn’t the same demand, all else being equal.
  • Size: The size of porcelain signs is a big factor in value. The most valuable signs will be in the 30″-42″ range since that is a size that is fairly easy to display, but still has good eye appeal from distance. Larger signs tend to sell at a relative discount the bigger they get, since there is so much hassle in transporting and displaying them. Similarly, smaller signs also tend to sell at a discount simply because they don’t look as commanding on a wall. This is just a general guideline of course, there are incredibly valuable large signs and valuable smaller items as well, but it’s a good way to key in on what makes for a really good sign.
  • Condition: As with all types of collectibles, condition is king. In many cases a sign in near-mint condition can bring ten times the value of the same sign as a grade 6 or 7. Additionally, condition increases the value at an almost exponential rate where the difference between a grade 8 and grade 9 is much larger than the difference between a grade 7 and grade 8.

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.
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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.
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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.
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