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Worlds apart from mass-manufactured home decor, our collection of designer and antique signs from around the world boast historical, cultural, and designer significance; making them highly sought after collectibles.

Shop For Antique Signs to Add Class to Your Space

Antique signs are sought after by collectors for their practical and decorative uses, and they make great talking points if used as an art piece in your home. Once used to advertise everything from household appliances and farming equipment to soft drinks, these now designer signs can be found in tin, porcelain, wood, and even neon.

A History of Antique Signs

Enamel, or porcelain, signs were originally produced in Europe during the late 1800s and grew in popularity in the United Stated during the 1890s. the memorable signs were made of powdered glass that was fused onto rolled iron. Various colors would be stenciled on and fired to create a layer for each color. Later, the signs were silkscreened.

Some collectors prefer to seek out vintage cardboard signs that were popular during the mid-20th century. The classic signs were mostly used to advertise consumer items such as candy, alcohol, and soda, as well as to advertise for upcoming events.

How to Spot the Difference Between Fake and Genuine Antique Signs

There are plenty of fake vintage signs on the market today. Since the 1970s when restaurants began decorating with vintage themes, sign companies have been mass producing old signs, especially those made with tin and porcelain.

While it can be tough to distinguish between real and fake antique signs, there are several questions you can ask to determine a sign’s authenticity. For instance, when looking at a listing, decide if the material makes sense. That is, would the sign that has a certain date on it really have been made of cast iron? Would cast iron signs have been sold by hardware stores during the 1930s? The answer is no. The molds that were used to create cast signs were costly and very few hardware stores stocked the signs.

What Determines the Value of Antique Signs?

There are several determining factors in a sign’s value. Several points are outlined below.

The Rarity

The rarity of a sign will affect its value. Signs that only have a few known examples bring in higher prices from collectors than signs that can be bought at nearly any show or found on popular auction sites.

The Demand

Antique signs are garnering more demand in today than ever before as more people look to spruce up their home bars, garages, and dens with a curated vintage feel. Signs that are offered at the right price will generate the highest demand and therefore bring the best prices.

The Design

The design of an antique sign affects its value, too. Collectors like to see signs with vibrant colors and attractive designs. Other factors such as die-cut productions with intriguing shapes tend to drive attention, too. The most valuable antique signs have stunning designs, but there are also those that have simpler designs which are an exception to the rule.

Age does not affect the value of a sign. While it may be nice to know how old a sign is, it doesn’t significantly affect the value. Collectors tend to shop for antique signs for their display factor rather than age. The date on a sign can be helpful when authenticating it, but it’s just as easy if not easier to do this by looking at other features.

How to Choose Designer Signs

When examining an antique or designer sign, take note of the condition of it all the way around. Look for dents, rust, or any uneven finishes which indicate that the item has been repaired. The overall appearance of the sign affects its final price. Before deciding on an item, measure the intended display area to make sure the sign will fit. The sign you choose should accent a window or wall as opposed to overwhelming it, so measure for width and length for the best fit. If your plan is to cultivate a well-rounded collection of designer signs, consider any pieces you already have before making a final decision. If your intended display area already has a selection of large and small pieces, picking a random sign won’t pose much of a risk. But, if most of the pieces include small, colored signs, you may want to add a larger sign that is less colorful to achieve a better balance.

The composition of your designer sign collection depends on personal preference. Some collectors prefer to focus on a specific brand or category whereas others will concentrate on size to determine the effect. The most valuable signs for collectors include “always open,” “bar,” and “cocktail” signs, as well as beer signs from popular brands such as Miller and Budweiser. Automotive-related signs with brands such as Chevrolet, Harley Davidson, Dodge, and Ford are also popular choices, as are signs from gas stations.

Find Antique Signs at DECASO

DECASO has a variety of classic and iconic designer signs from different eras and made with a range of materials. We source high quality antiques from around the world to bring our buyers the best products for their space.