Author Topic: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs  (Read 18763 times)

Offline Sargeguy

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Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« on: September 10, 2013, 07:14:01 PM »
From time to time I get messages from members who know I collect old Bell System signs asking my opinion on a sign.  I am far from an expert, but here are a few tips:

  • Do not buy any signs from India or Argentina, they are realistic looking fakes with artificial aging, especially Lincoln Telephone Company signs.
  • Do not buy any sign that has a price for phone calls on it (i.e. 5 cents)
  • Check the size/proportions of the sign.  Fake signs are usually the wrong size
  • If it looks too new it probably definitely is
  • Flanged signs are usually ok (but not always) check the side of the flange that would face the wall, it should be either white or a sloppy mix of white and blue on 1908 pattern or earlier signs.  It should not be uniformly blue on early (pre-1921 signs).  It may be blue on 1921 signs and is usually blue on a 1939 pattern sign.
  • Square one-sided signs are often fake (but not always). Check the back, it should be a uneven white glaze, often pitted, not neat or uniform.
  • Early signs (08 and 21 bell and before) have raised lettering made by building up the enamel.  Repros are either flat or have raised letters from stamping the tin.
  • Always look at the back of a one-sided Bell System hubcap sign.    For mid-century types, the back should have a 2-digit model number and/or a reddish smudge on white enamel.  Earlier types have sloppy looking enamel.
  • Flanged signs almost always have rust around the holes, although this is commonly faked
  • Signs from affiliated Bell System companies are generally safe, although make sure it is made of steel and has a white back.  Reproductions of Pennsylvania Bell and Ohio Bell signs are known to exist made of tin with green backs.  They are marked as reproductions, but sometimes the seller does not notice this fact.
  • Ande Rooney manufactured fake signs, they are marked with the company name on the back, but this can be removed.
  • Signs from AAA sign company are reproductions
  • Familiarize yourself with the fake signs offered by PHONECO, these are often sold as originals, often with artificial weathering
  • Always check the seller's other auctions.  If he has a number of similar signs, with similar weathering patterns, STAY AWAY!!!

I have started putting real and fake signs into "Collections" on eBay so  people can get an idea of what's out there:

Signs that appear to be real into:  http://www.ebay.com/cln/sargeguy/Real-Signs/143405697017

And signs that look fake into: http://www.ebay.com/cln/sargeguy/Fake-Signs/143555386017
« Last Edit: November 26, 2017, 07:36:22 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2013, 07:16:13 PM »
Before purchasing any phone sign it is a good idea to conult the variety of different signs available from PHONECO.  Some  common PHONECO reproduction signs found on eBay:

« Last Edit: November 30, 2014, 11:39:15 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2013, 07:19:23 PM »
A clumsy attempt at aging a PHONECO sign with acid:
« Last Edit: November 30, 2014, 06:13:50 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2013, 07:22:50 PM »
Those dang hub-caps!!!

Hub cap style signs can be very confusing.  Real examples have white backs and fakes have green or gray backs.  Also note the bell hanger is slightly different.  The top two are of a real hubcap and the bottom two are fakes:
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2013, 07:24:59 PM »
More reproductions:
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 07:27:17 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Doug Rose

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Re: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2013, 07:14:17 PM »
My daughter bought me this sign when she was 10, she is now 25. She saved her summer job money and got it for me. No one knows its a repro but me. She was soooo excited and proud of herself. It hangs proudly in my phone room....Doug
Kidphone

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2014, 09:35:29 PM »
Don't let the $199 BIN fool you, this is another fake hubcap.  Painting the back white is a nice touch but note that the screw grommets are placed at 12 and 6 o'clock.  And look at the lettering  in "Bell System", what a mess!!!

VINTAGE BELL SYSTEM PUBLIC TELEPHONE ROUND PORCELAIN SIGN



THIS IS A GREAT OLD SIGN. VERY NICE SHAPE FOR ITS AGE.NEEDS A LITTLE CLEANING. ZOOM IN ON THE  PICTURES TO SEE CONDITION.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 09:38:14 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2014, 06:48:40 PM »
"PAY PHONE"?

Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Brinybay

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Re: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014, 03:59:40 PM »
So what's your take on this WU Telegram sign I bought? 
The idea that a four-year degree is the only path to worthwhile knowledge is insane.
- Mike Rowe

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2014, 07:01:14 PM »
Looks like a repro to me.   :'(  This is the sign they were knocking off, although I suspect this might be bogus despite the rust and chipped paint:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/261408191000
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 07:10:11 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Jim S.

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Re: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2014, 11:44:17 PM »
Looks like a repro to me.   :'(  This is the sign they were knocking off, although I suspect this might be bogus despite the rust and chipped paint:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/261408191000
I have seen three different examples of this sign.
1. was a definite repro, thin metal small corner holes
2. was heavy gauge metal with larger corner holes and better quality paint it seemed to be an earlier repro  { possibly a later original sign but most likely repro.}
and sign #3 was about   8 or 10" square and was a very nice original porcelain sign.
 

This sign looks like #2, the damage to the metal and paint would appear different if it was #1.

I am interested in a porcelain example of this sign.
Jim
You live, You learn,
You die, you forget it all.

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2014, 03:12:09 PM »
This guy has sold a couple of these. 

« Last Edit: December 21, 2014, 03:02:34 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2014, 03:20:38 PM »
I started putting signs that appear to be real into:  http://www.ebay.com/cln/sargeguy/Real-Signs/143405697017

And signs that look fake into: http://www.ebay.com/cln/sargeguy/Fake-Signs/143555386017
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Offline Signguy

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Re: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2014, 04:34:03 PM »
Regarding the AT&T booth sign presently on ebay.

10-15 years ago we were at a picnic at a friends house. The daughter of another friend
knew I collected telephone signs. During the afternoon she  came over to me and  motioned for me to come to the side that she had something to show me that was in an empty field next
door. We took a walk over and found some of those signs half buried in the grass and dirt. As it turned someone from across the road had put them there to "age" before he brought them to a local antique shop. Never did find out where the guy got them since he was not to happy
that the young girl had found his "stash". He was a local politician and died a few years later.  Never did see them for sale on the local scene so always wondered what happened to them. Also wondered how they found their way to Montana, of all places.

The wisest word in collecting is still "education". Whether its telephone signs or Barbie Dolls.

Cheers..... Ell

Offline Sargeguy

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Re: Examples of Reproduction Telephone Signs
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2014, 04:36:34 PM »
caveat emptor

I am not accusing anyone of misrepresenting reproduction signs at the real thing however these two very similar auctions caught my eye.  India is a notorious producer of convincing fake porcelain signs.  The signs they produce are artificially aged and the backs are artificially rusted with chemicals or salt water.  The authentic versions of this sign illustrated in Bob Alexanders A Collector's Guide to Antique Porcelain Telephone Signs illustrates a version that has the two holes placed towards the middle top edge of the sign, as if hung on a bracket, not in the corners as depicted in these examples below.  Also, is the rust orange or dark brown?  Authentic rust is usually dark in color while more recent rust is more or a red/orange color.

eBay auction from Tampa for $825:

Antique Rare Original Railroad/Subway/Bus Column Pay Station Porcelain Sign


Quote
Antique 1920-30s Original Railroad/Subway/Bus Pay Station Direction Sign. Heavy gauge metal porcelain in black and white. In good used condition, slightly bend - believe to be mounted on a large column. Does show wear and use, chips,rust and/or scratches. Please see photos closely, item in as found uncleaned! Super rare 18" by 5.5" smaller sign- but try to find another! An addition to any collection,thank you for looking and please see my other listings.

eBay auction from India for $79.99:

ORIGINAL OLD BEAUTIFUL PAYSTATION PORCELAIN ENAMEL SIGN 18 x 5 5

Quote
This auction is about OLD PAYSTATION Porcelain Enamel Sign board. This sign was used to advertise the type brand outside a dealer's store. It has got four screw fitting holes. Very beautiful enamel sign board! Got wear & Tear around the cornors (Check the pics). Size is 18 x 5.5 Inches.Approximately. Please check the pics and buy. THANK YOU AND HAPPY BIDDING.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 04:38:56 PM by Sargeguy »
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409