Tips for Buying Antique Advertisements

By Dan Matthews

If you're a new collector with an interest in collecting antique advertising signs, globes, thermometers, or other items, you may wonder how to get started. Many people fear "making a mistake." Here are my tips about how to collect.


1. Buy something because you like it

Too often, people worry about choosing items that are only of high value. This is a very fun and rewarding hobby, so don't get too serious. If you see something you like and it fits your budget, buy it! If you will enjoy it, then the financial value doesn't matter. It will bring you years of enjoyment and satisfaction. Do you research, but be sure to keep it fun. 

When buying a sign at auction or from a dealer, be sure to ask them if it's authentic. Will they guarantee the item to be original? Will they take the item back if the piece isn't original? If they won't agree, then don't buy it.

2. Do your research

Say you’re at an auction but haven't seen a certain sign before and aren't sure if it's authentic. Do a search at our website. It's possible that we have authenticated a piece similar to it in the past. Compare it with the sign at the auction to see if it's an obvious fake. 

If you see a TAC sticker on it, enter the number on the website and you’ll see its condition, and its value on the date it was authenticated. (But remember that the condition of the signs and their values can change over time.) With a TAC sticker, you’ll know you’re buying an original sign. Searching by TAC number is free. You must be a silver member to see the details of the sign. Remember silver membership is free. If you want to see more details, upgrade to the gold or platinum membership. You'll also get a discount on our authentication services. 

3. Get it authenticated

You won the auction and bought the item! Congratulations! Take it home, and give it a once over. See our tips for cleaning or not cleaning the item and preserving it. Go the extra mile and get it authenticated by TAC so that you will know the true value and the bargain you brought home!