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Usually when we refer to a “gigantic find” we are referring to the number of items found. This time we are actually referring to the size of the items! These extraordinary Lucky Strike advertising displays (pictured above) will appear at a glance to be familiar to all baseball advertising collectors, because they are so similar to the classic 1928 Lucky Strike trolley car signs. The series of five trolley car signs (which feature the same five stars as the signs above) have always universally been recognized as among the most desirable of all baseball player-endorsement advertising displays. The advertising signs pictured above, however, are not the trolley car signs with which collectors are familiar. They are, of course, related, but are MUCH larger. Instead of measuring 10 x 20 inches and designed for use in trolley cars, these GIANT versions were produced for outdoor display and measure about 5 1/2 feet x 2 1/2 feet!
The large Lucky Strike advertising displays are so rare that few have ever had the opportunity to actually see an example in person. When we first saw them over 20 years ago, we were stunned. They are spectacular! Only eight examples (including the set of five pictured above) in total are known to exist. This set, the only complete set known and very likely the only set that will ever be known, has for the past 30 years been one of the museum-caliber cornerstones of an extremely advanced collection. Interestingly, the five displays comprising the set did not come to its longtime owner all at the same time. The Lloyd Waner sign surfaced and was purchased at the Gaithersburg, Maryland antique advertising show in approximately 1984. The other four (along with a duplicate that was sold long ago) were discovered years later (in the early 1990s) during construction in the walls of a house in Walla Walla, Washington (where they had been used as insulation). Because it was well known the collector had so recently bought the Paul Waner example at the advertising show (at the time the only example known), he got the call on the Walla Walla, Washington Find. Only two additional large Lucky Strike signs have surfaced in all the years since!
The complete set of five giant 1928 Lucky Strike advertising signs will be featured in Robert Edward Auctions spring 2011 auction.
Please note: In the illustrations above, we have pictured a Lloyd Waner trolley car sign (that is not included with the set) with the Lloyd Waner large display to show scale.