Buy Vintage Enamel Signs for Retro Charm in Your Decor

A vast array of original and reproduction vintage signs are available on eBay. These advertising collectables take many shapes and sizes, depicting both authentic subjects and custom wording. All create a rustic and individual style which stands out from the crowd.

Should you opt for authentic or reproduction signs?

With a choice of both in circulation, there is a design to suit all tastes. An antique enamel item will be more likely to hold its value, but will be limited in its availability and showing age, and may not blend with your scheme. Whereas reproduction signs are available in several sizes and colour options to suit space and décor.

How do you tell the difference between new and old vintage signs?

Many listings can be described as vintage enamel signs whether antiques or modern replicas, and prices can vary considerably according to the item age. Buyers can look for the following clues in spotting a genuine over a new enamel sign:

  • Mounting holes: In a replica sign, mounting holes are likely to be equally spaced and in convenient positions for fixings. An antique sign is more likely to have unevenly spaced holes to reflect its original hanging location, i.e. on a bus stop or promotional stand.
  • Chipping: Buyers can assess the position of the worn areas. Old signs are likely to have chips throughout, rather than just around the edges as is often seen on replica items. Advertising and street signs were produced between 1880 and 1950, made by applying layers of vitreous enamel onto cast iron. These layers should be visible in chips on an antique item.
  • Rust: Reproduction enamel signs can be artificially aged with rust. Newly created rust will normally have an orange/red hue, as opposed black/brown rust seen on original signs.
  • Material: Testing the magnetic qualities of a sign is a final tip. Replica signs are often made by baking the design onto aluminium, which is not magnetic. Aluminium was not used for this purpose prior to the 1950s.
What types of design are available?

Advertising signs were created for almost any product from cigarettes and food, to toiletries and automobile consumables. Nostalgic themes such as wartime slogans, transport information, and railway related signage are popular and highly collectable. Additionally, custom retro enamel signs can be commissioned for a novelty look and a link to almost any hobby can be found in a vintage sign, making them adaptable and unusual gifts.