Milestone’s June 10-11 auction features outstanding private collection of antique advertising

 In Auctions

Above: Henry Rankin Poore (1859-1940) ‘Bear Dogs’ lithograph used by Winchester, estimate $1,000-$2,000

Featured: General store signage for a variety of late-19th and early 20th-century products

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – As a special highlight of its June 10-11 sale, Milestone Auctions in suburban Cleveland will offer a fine collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century advertising related to a variety of products that would have been sold in general stores of a century ago.

“Long before department stores became a part of American life, there was the general store, a place where people could find food, tobacco, candles, denim clothing, tools, shotgun shells and other essential items all under one roof – hence the name ‘general store’” said Miles King, co-owner of Milestone Auctions. “No space was left empty, and store owners would even hang hooks from the ceiling to display pots and pans, washboards, and just about anything else a shopper might be looking for. Right along with the goods, there would be advertising signs for a huge variety of products. In pre-radio and TV days, that was one of the main ways manufacturers got their messages across to potential customers.”

Antique advertising is one of the categories featured on a regular basis in Milestone’s auction events, and it will certainly be included in the June 10 opening session of the company’s upcoming two-day sale. According to Miles King, it’s one of the finest collections of predominantly sporting-themed advertising Milestone has ever had the pleasure of handling.

Browsing through the online catalog’s advertising section is like walking through the doors of an old-time general store, with each sign’s vibrant colors, imagery and beautiful lithography designed to catch the patron’s eye.

There’s a group lot of five 1920s signs advertising Nicholson Files, a product which would have been highly important to mechanics in America’s booming automobile industry. The tri-fold die-cuts are offered with a $500-$700 estimate.

No differently than today, gentlemen of a century ago strived for a well-groomed appearance, which was achieved by a daily shave and careful trimming of one’s mustache. To keep their razors sharp, men relied upon a razor whetstone, as depicted in a beautiful circa-1920s sign that declares: “To ease the way for a smooth shave use a Carborundum Razor Hone.” Its auction estimate is $300-$500

The most artful signage of the golden era of advertising was commissioned by manufacturers of tobacco, alcoholic beverages, and firearms. Dozens of fine examples from the latter category will be auctioned on June 10. Leading the group is a very rare and colorfully pictorial circa-1909 Winchester pyramid-form hanging sign advertising cartridges and shot shells, which is estimated at $5,000-$8,000.

A classic image that would be instantly recognizable to collectors is the 1907 Henry Rankin Poore lithograph depicting four hunting dogs known as “bear dogs.” The framed example in Milestone’s sale, which measures 24 by 34½ inches (sight) is expected to sell in the vicinity of $1,000-$2,000.

Milestone’s Saturday/Sunday June 10-11, 2023 auction will be held at Milestone’s gallery located at 38198 Willoughby Parkway, Willoughby (suburban Cleveland), OH 44094. Start time: 10 a.m. ET on both days. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through Milestone’s own bidding platform, LiveAuctioneers, Proxibid, or Invaluable. For additional information on any item in the auction, call 440-527-8060 or email Online:

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