The gas pump globe, often referred to as the crown jewel of petroliana collecting, has become a highly sought after item for collectors. These illuminated glass cylinders were once common features perched on top of old-school service stations to attract passing motorists as they drove down highways at night. With their distinct shapes, these illuminators were the most eye-catching aspect of a service station’s branding and advertising.
Gas globes are valued by collectors for their beauty, rarity and place in highway culture and American history. Whether they’re sitting on top of a vintage service station or in a modern living room, these globes continue to intrigue collectors who find them as aesthetically pleasing as they are historically significant.
If you’re looking to start your own collection these vintage gas pump globes of these globes, here are a few tips to help you get started:
The condition of the globe will have the greatest impact on its value. Any dings, cracks or chips will slash its overall value. A fully intact, undamaged globe is extremely desirable.
Dates and sizes are also important. The most valuable are the older, larger size globes, which were a key part of gas pump advertising from the 1920’s through the 1950’s. This was a time when aviation was huge, as well as auto racing, and these graphics were used in many of the most popular gas globes.
During this period, there were many small independent gas companies that later got purchased out by larger oil companies. These smaller, lesser-known brands are very rare and can be worth quite a bit more than the larger, more common, corporate brands.
There are three main types of gas globes: one-piece, two-part and figural. One-piece globes were a single lens in a frame and most figural globes are two-part. There were also several styles of frames including the popular clamshell design and the more rare Hull body, which was used in the 1930’s before they all seemed to disappear.
When buying a gas globe, it’s important to remember that these are fragile items. They’re not meant to be dragged around in the back of a pickup truck or stored in the garage, so they’ll need special care to prevent breakage. When purchasing a globe, always ask the seller for proof of authenticity and make sure it is in excellent condition. If you’re not sure what to look for, consult an expert in vintage gas pump collectibles for a more in-depth examination. They will have the experience and knowledge to ensure you’re getting the best possible price for your purchase. These experts can provide you with a history of the globe and help you understand the differences in quality between different globes. For example, some original gas globes are made of brass or cast iron while others may be plastic. They can also be very difficult to repair if they’re damaged. They’re worth the effort and money if you take the time to find the right one for your collection.