How to collect vintage road signs
Whether you collect them for decoration or just to own your own pieces of history, road signs and vintage collecting it can be a rewarding and challenging hobby. Below you will find some tips on how to start or expand your collection.
Decide which types of signs are the most interesting to you. There are many types of signs available to collect, including regulatory signs (e.g. stop or produce signs), guide signs (which mark recreation areas or distance), or marker signs (which indicate roads, routes, or direction). Some people limit their collections to a particular type of sign, such as street signs or traffic indicators, while others collect signs based on a specific area or time period.
- Consider where you intend to store or present your symptoms. Some vintage signs are very large and heavy. If you want to hang them on the interior or exterior walls of your home, it may be necessary to reinforce the structure. If you want to store in a garage or warehouse space, prepare that space to make sure you have a clean, dry place for your collection.
- Determine if you want to clean your marks. Many collectors like a bit of dirt and grease on their vintage signs to add to the nostalgia. However, if you want to clean your marks, make sure you have a safe place to clean them and any necessary cleaning equipment, such as a hose and a delicate degreaser. Be aware that some old cleaning marks can reduce their resale value.
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- Decide how much you can afford to spend on your collection. Your local transportation department is usually responsible for maintaining, replacing and removing old road and traffic signs (as well as traffic lights). They can make old signs available to the public for free or for a nominal fee. The local landfill is also a good source for finding inexpensive signage, but it can take persistence to find what you are looking for.
- Frequent antique shops and flea markets. Often, there are no dealers specializing in selling a wide variety of road signs, such as road signs that stood in distant cities (or even towns). Talk to dealers. Introduce yourself and let them know what types of vintage signs you are interested in. Even if these suppliers don’t hav any of these signs in stock, they are happy to take your contact information and keep it posted for when they purchase one.
Tips & Warnings
Be patient. It can take time to build up a collection. Remind friends and family that you are actively collecting vintage road signs. You never know who has a treasure to collect dust in their attic. roadrelics.com is a great resource for finding unusual vintage signs from around the world (and selling signs from your collection in the future). In fact, eBay has a category for vintage signs under the sticker category.
Theft of traffic signs or traffic lights is illegal and dangerous. In many areas, signs deposited by public bodies are still considered public property until they are processed. Don’t assume that a sign you can find is there for the taking.