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Vern Walker's Enormous Automotive Neon Sign Collection Sells For $4.65 Million


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Vern Walker's Enormous Automotive Neon Sign Collection Sells For $4.65 Million

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http://www.hotrod.com/features/automobilia/1504-vern-walkers-enormous-automotive-neon-sign-collection-sells-for-4-65-million/

Mecum Auctions is well known among street rodders for its live auctions of street rods, hot rods, classic cars and trucks, muscle cars, and collector cars. Attending a Mecum Auction is like going to a top-level car show, except that virtually every vehicle will leave with a different owner than it arrived with.

In March 2015, Mecum hosted an auction in West Memphis, Arkansas, where no automobiles but some impressive cherished automobilia was up for sale. It was the huge collection of vintage signs belonging to Vernon Walker.

Walker is the man behind Walker Radiator as well as a co-founder of the National Street Rod Association. He was a relative young gun when he started collecting vintage signage from businesses, such as dealerships, drug stores, gas stations, repair shops, and restaurants, as well as products ranging from motor oil to beer. His interest was a combination of an appreciation for a historic style and a desire to save the rare porcelain neon signs from destruction. "Being a car guy, I thought owning some of the dealership signs would be something fun to get into. I quickly found that the future of these signs was not shaping up to be such a pretty picture." Other collectors were buying the rare double-sided porcelain signs and splitting them apart in order to re-sell them as two signs. "They were destroying the history of these signs, so when I realized what was going on, I just went crazy buying signs."

After almost 50 years of going crazy buying signs, the Walker sign collection had grown to more than 400 pieces of nostalgic commercial art. So why sell them now?

"It's certainly not that I don't like them anymore," Vern said. "It was just that I figured they should be hung up so people can enjoy them."

That's where Mecum Auctions comes in. On March 27-28, 2015, 421 pieces from the Walker Sign Collection were sold for a total of $4.65 million. The top seller of the event was the Weakley Equipment Co. Lawn Equipment sign, which sold for $125,000. The signs shown here were among the top 10 highest priced items at the Mecum auction.

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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I remember back in the late 70's when I worked as a sign installer.

Seemed like at least once a month we were taking down an old exposed neon sign and pitching them in the dumpster.

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