Antique Metal Signs, a Snapshot into our Past


A long time ago, before Stonehenge was carved and the pyramids were built, there was a man who had a knack for making spears. In fact, he was so good at it tribe members would often bring him food so he could concentrate on making the spears. Eventually, he thought he could bring in more food for the tribe if he could get other tribes to bring them food for his spears. So he took out a hammer and chisel and carved out an image of a spear on a rock along with directions to his cave, and placed it in the forest. This was the first ever advertisement, which heralded the birth of civilization.

Antique Metal Signs For sale

Of course this story is nothing more than the product of an overactive imagination, but it is a good illustration of how advertisements have ties to certain points of history. By the nineteenth century the industrial revolution had made tin sheets easy to acquire, and companies started putting advertising on them. The tin advertisements were more durable than paper posters, which would fade and rot when left out in the elements. The metal sign advertisements of the nineteenth century are visually pleasing as well as historically significant, and if you can find any of them today they can be worth a small fortune to collectors.

Perhaps the most famous metal advertising signs are the depictions of Santa Clause by the Coca-Cola Company, produced in the 1930s. There is some debate as to whether of not Coca-Cola invented the modern version of Santa Clause, but there can be no doubt that version where Santa is a plump man in a red suit was made popular by the Coca- Cola tins. A Coca-Cola tin from the 30s recently sold on EBay for a staggering seven hundred and fifty dollars.

While some people collect metal signs for the monetary aspect of it, many are collectors of them for their artistic value. They tend to be smaller than canvas paintings, and you can get quite a few of them on your wall. Having antique metal signs on your wall will give the room a charming and distinct personality. If you are just starting out collecting antique metal signs, its a good idea to start off with signs that you find visually pleasing and affordable. The places where you can find old advertising tin signs are numerous. There are many places online to check out, and you can also pick up a few at yard sales and thrift stores.