Miller & Miller's Three Online Auctions in Two Days, June 15-16, will Feature Petroliana and Country Store Advertising

New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada, June 1, 2024 -- Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. will hold three online-only auctions on two days – Saturday and Sunday, June 15th and 16th. The June 15th event will be an Automobilia, Petroliana & Advertising auction, featuring the Dr. Michael Francis collection. June 16th will be split into two sessions: a Canadiana, Advertising & Historic Objects auction featuring the Jon Church collection; and an Automobilia & Advertising auction later in the day. 

“We’ve segmented the content of these collections,” said Ethan Miller of Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. “Saturday is geared toward petroliana and soda advertising, while Sunday’s focus is on country store advertising and some great historical objects.” 

Things will heat up quickly on June 15th, with the late Dr. Michael Francis collection certain to create a swarm of interest with bidders. Dr. Francis was an automobile enthusiast known for his keen eye, knowledge and judging acumen. His collection included early 20th century porcelain dealer signs, advertising signs, gas pumps, American automotive literature and historical objects related to Owen Sound (his birthplace) and Orillia (where he practiced medicine), in Canada. 

The sale that day, starting at 9 am Eastern time, will include Canadian dealer signs (including two Enarco “Slateboy” signs, a diecut Cities Service sign in a rare wrought iron frame, two Supertest dealer signs and other desirable items). But the two headliners are the 1920s-era two-sided, three-dimensional ‘Garage’ sign from the Ancaster Ford-Essex Garage, and a 1936 Chevrolet half-ton pickup truck in untouched original condition. Even the tires are original. 

The 1936 Chevrolet half-ton pick-up truck is a true pre-war survivor truck, driven only 17,056 actual miles since new. It features the original ‘leather-type’ upholstery, original apple green and black paint, and original 6-cylinder valve-in-head 206.8 c.i. engine. The chrome is excellent and the original Goodrich Silvertown tires were removed but kept. The truck has been stored in a climate-controlled environment but will need some servicing. It should bring $25,000-$30,000. 

All estimates quoted in this report are in Canadian dollars. 

The late 1920s double-sided painted galvanized sheet metal sign with milk (opal) glass letters spelling the word ‘GARAGE’ is deceptively simple in design but early lighted signs with milk glass represent some of the most important North American treasures in advertising. This one is impressive at 45 inches by 82 inches and depicts a Model A Ford (or Essex) of the period, and was originally made for a Ford-Essex Garage in Dundas, Ontario (est. $20,000-$30,000). 

What would a Miller & Miller petroliana auction be without a White Rose Gasoline round dealer sign, four feet in diameter and featuring the iconic ‘Boy and Slate’ graphic? Miller & Miller has featured the sign in past sales, always with enthusiasm from bidders, and this one, boasting very good color and gloss, should be received well, too. It has a pre-sale estimate of $9,000-$12,000. 

The first June 16th auction, beginning promptly at 9 am, will feature the Jon Church collection. Mr. Church is well known and highly regarded among longtime Canadiana collectors. “Like a historian, Church kept careful handwritten notes on most items in his collection,” Mr. Miller remarked. “We found them everywhere, which was helpful in identifying his many one-of-a-kind items.” The collection includes a surprising cache of Canadian pottery, country store advertising and historic objects – all fresh to the market. 

Pottery items include an Owen Sound pitcher, an Eby pie plate, a Skinner 3-gallon ‘Tree of Life’ crock and more. The collection also features a rare Canadian Pacific Railroad vertical broadside; a Montreal, Ottawa and Georgian Bay Canal Company building plaque; rare porcelain signs; three early tin lithograph signs (for Black Cat Shoe Dressing in Toronto, Rexall Parker & Druggist in Owen Sound, and Frost’s Optometrist in Orillia); a rare ‘Pegasus’ locomotive toy by Ives; and a run of model steam engines from the collection of the late David James. 

The King George V working model steam locomotive fashioned out of metal and wood is an impressive creation built in the 1920s by William Edward Burgess of England. Burgess was an artist and a painter (his self-portrait is included in the lot) who took up model building after he lost his hearing in World War I. The King George V steam locomotive is a spectacular piece of railroad history, meant to be functional with immaculate 4-cylinder engine (est. $9,000-$12,000). 

A Canadian 1890s single-sided tin sign for Black Cat Shoe Dressing is a great original survivor, with the original paint, original wood frame and excellent color and gloss. The sign is gigantic, measuring 59 ¾ inches by 29 ¾ inches, and is in very good untouched condition. It’s marked to the lower edge, “Connor-Ruddy Co., Toronto” and carries a pre-sale estimate of $6,000-$9,000. 

An American circa 1880 Ives, Blakeslee & Co. (Bridgeport, Conn.) Pegasus locomotive, tinplate with cast wheels, considered by many collectors to be the finest mechanical locomotive without track ever built, is expected to chug out of the room for $6,000-$9,000. The advanced design includes a train engineer with moving arm to ring the bell, a flaring diamond smokestack, a gilt steam engine and a track light. The mechanical locomotive is untouched, complete and original. 

The second auction of the day on June 16th, titled Automobilia & Advertising, is an online-only affair with no live webcast stream. All lots will automatically close online at 5pm Eastern. This bonus sale features the niche market remains of the collections featured on Saturday and Sunday. The focus will be on early American automotive literature (Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg, Ford, Cadillac), along with parts, mascots, accessories, badges, pins, historical objects and more. 

“This sale is filled with interesting advertising and ephemera that is sure to delight collectors of all levels,” Mr. Miller said. “It affords an opportunity for those who missed out in the Saturday and Sunday sessions. This short but worthy sale was a lifetime in the making. Don’t miss it.” 

Noteworthy lots in the session include a collection of 50 Ontario Motor League (OML) Road Books, printed on lithographed paper and spanning the years 1908-1961, not a complete library (est. $800-$1,200); a group of early Auburn automobile sales brochures, made in America in the 1900s and 1910s (est. $700-$900); and a 1950s American-made Superman vs. The Robot metal lunch box (est. $600-$900). 

While these are online-only auctions with no live gallery bidding, bidders can tune in to the live webcast on auction days, to watch lots close in real time. Here are links to all three auctions:

June 15:

June 16:

June 16: 

Bidding is also available via Phone and absentee bids will be accepted. 

Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. is Canada’s trusted seller of high-value collections and is always accepting quality consignments. The firm specializes in luxury watches, art, antiques and high-value collectibles. Its mission is to always provide collectors with a trusted place to buy and sell. 

To consign a single piece, an estate or a collection, you may call them at (519) 573-3710; or, you can e-mail them at To learn more about Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. and the June 15th & 16th auctions, please visit