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Was this a reproduction sign?

Started by rfkimba, April 26, 2017, 03:13:35 AM

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Hi friends,
I recently purchased this Public Telephone Station  Sign on Ebay for $375. I had found a  picture of same on a collectors website demonstrating his sign collection so I assumed the style was valid.
I had asked the seller if there was heavy porcelain ledging and he told me yes . I asked this as the sign would have been produced between 1921 and 1939 when stencils used   gave the characteristic porcelain  ledging. My two other Bell system 1921 era (with the bell system words inside the bell) signs show this heavy ledging.   The flange was blue in the one displayed view(see attachment).
When I received the sign its surface was all smooth and both sides of the flange were all blue. Although  the sign was clearly porcelain I returned it as a reproduction as it violated the porcelain ledging rule as the flange is white or white/blue rule. Was I correct to do so?

In a  current Ebay auction  another Public Telephone sign is listed as ebay item number 332193054528. I asked the seller if the surface was smooth or there was letter ledging and he said smooth. The color blue  looks a little light . I elected not to bid.
Are there some 1921 Bell style signs,  produced until 1938 that indeed lack the procelain ledging and are genuine as I dont want to pass up on nice signs ?
Please advise.


The first is a reproduction, the second looks really fishy. 

The first sign was on my list of eBay fake signs:

( dead link 07-14-21 )
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409


Greg is right about the signs pictured. If you paid t$375 for the first sign you should request a refund.

As a general rule the '21 Bell signs (and others of that era) should have a difference between the different color layers of porcelain that you can feel. The first '39 Bell "Public Telephone" 11x11 signs were like this but the later ones were flat.

Where are you from rfkimba? I detect an accen.
Tom Vaughn
La Porte, Indiana
ATCA Past President
ATCA #765
C*NET 1+ 821-9905


Hi  Guys,
Thank you Greg and Tom for your feedback.
I have found the many  of the porcelain phone signs offered on EBay appear to be deliberate  or inadvertent unnamed  reproductions and find it very  problematic to buy from this source.
The  porcelain restorations displayed in the gallery on the  VanKannel   Restorations website are amazing. I am at a loss as how one can value   a remade telephone porcelain sign that looks brand  new?
I am from New York originally but am retired and reside in Delaware .
Bob Farber