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Telephone Sign

Started by bigdaddylove, August 07, 2011, 05:57:06 PM

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Found this at the Alameda Antique Fair today. Guy wanted $40.00, but I got him down to $35.00.

It was in such good condition I was kind of worried it was a reproduction but after looking it over pretty well, I was pretty sure it was original. Another vendor a few rows over verified it as original as well. You can feel where the second layer (black) was placed on to the background which is more beige than white. Some of the "faded" areas of the photo are actually a reflection.

I may have paid too much but I've paid more for less.

I saw some phones but most were at or above what I call my personal market value. Here's an example:

WE 202 manual good original condition with natures patina in tact $60.00 but guy kept saying make me an offer.

WE 202 with subset good original condition $185

WE 302 manual with subset in good original condition. $100 or $125

WE black double gong extension bell $40.00

Candlesticks manual from around $75.00

One guy had only refurbished WE (211, Payphones, 202, 151, 302, 201, 102, 50(?), SC and Kelloggs from the 1920s through the 1950s. All had either subsets or mini networks installed. Pretty nice but too expensive for me since they wife only let me have $100 and $35 was already gone --around $200 and up.

There were quite a few of the blue and white heavy porcelain WE telephone signs but talk about expensive, $175 for one with bullet holes all the way up to $275! Way too  to me for something that was and too some extent, still is rather ubiquitous.

It seems the recession hasn't hit the SF Bay Area antiques market as badly as I thought.

Take care,


Hey bigdaddylove, great aquisition, I hope I can get one of them sometime. Just out of curiosity, did you see my response on the Kellogg ashtray phone availability?. Stil there for you. Have a great week!!!


I doubt it is real. I have seen others ,not just the telephone one with the same aging around the edge and mounting holes.Mostly used as decoration in restaurants.

Doug Rose

Quote from: rdelius on August 07, 2011, 08:37:02 PM
I doubt it is real. I have seen others ,not just the telephone one with the same aging around the edge and mounting holes.Mostly used as decoration in restaurants.

Sorry guys....Robby is right, reproduction all the way. Fake rust and all.....Doug

Dennis Markham

BDL, even if it isn't an original, it's pretty cool and if you like it, then you got your money's worth. 


I should have known. I keep looking at the edge trying to figure out how it became worn/rusted that way.  Another clue I kept ruminating over was the sharp edges. If it was really out in the elements as the edging suggests, the edges should have been dull. Lastly, I kept thinking to myself that signs from this era tend to be made from thicker gauge metal and heavier enameling. I guess I wanted so bad I overlooked the obvious indicators that it was fake. I am so bummed now.

Oh well, lesson learned; always trust your first instincts.

Vern P

I would not call it a "fake", as I don't think they made any thing like this in the 1930's.

At $35, that is not a lot to pay for something that you like and will enjoy.  Look at it this way.  You spend the $35 on dinner for the 2 of you. What do you have to enjoy after you have ate ?

I would say that it is a nice find, and something to enjoy. Not something to feel that you got taken on.

Vern P

PS Still looking for a WE Ivory 1554.


It's not fake, it's reproduction.

I bought a few similar in Carnaby Street a few years ago.