Walker sign collection brings $4.65 million

This Chevrolet dealership sign was among the most expensive at the auction | Mecum Auctions photos
This Chevrolet dealership sign was among the most expensive at the auction | Mecum Auctions photos

The two-day sale of Vernon Walker’s massive collection of more than 400 vintage and primarily double-sided porcelain and neon signs produced $4.65 million at a Mecum Auctions event held in one of the buildings west of Memphis where Walker stored his signs.

The collection before the sale
The collection before the sale

All 421 of the signs were sold, topped by the $125,000 paid for a one-of-a-kind, animated Weakley Equipment Co. Lawn Equipment sign. The sign dated to 1948 and was more than 11 feet tall.

Other top sales included a Goodyear Tires C.O.D. Garage Co. sign from the 1920s for $100,000. The sign was made from tin with milk-glass lettering.

A rotating Mobil Pegasus sign went for $72,500, and Chevrolet, Dodge Brothers, Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealer signs, each sold for between $60,500 and $65,000 (prices include buyer’s fees).

Vernon Walker started collecting signs to keep them from being destroyed — or at least split into two signs sold separately — when he was in his mid-20s. At one point, he had enough that he thought about opening a museum. But he got so busy buying them that he didn’t have time to do a museum and now, at age 74, he decided to sell them.

Ford sign was among 10 most expensive
Ford sign was among 10 most expensive

“I figured they should be hung up so people can enjoy them,” he said before the sale.

A rare New Idea Farm Equipment sign sold for $38,000 to a buyer who found it irresistible.

“I hadn’t seen one in 70 years,” the buyer said, “and I couldn’t wait until 70 to find another one, so I just had to have it.”

Mecum stages its next sale April 9-11 in Houston, where some 1,000 classic and
collectible vehicles will be offered.

Share your comments