Railway Preservation News

American Railway Express sign
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Author:  ponderosa [ Sun Dec 28, 2008 11:41 pm ]
Post subject:  American Railway Express sign

Can anyone help me learn how common or collectable my sign is? My father found this sign about 35 years ago among a pile of boards in Canyon City, Oregon. It is a very cool old sign, whcih would date to between 1917 (when American Railway Express was consolidated and practically nationalized) and 1929 (whet it was purchased by the railroads and the name changed to Railway Express Agency).

The wooden sign reads "AMERICAN RAILWAY EXPRESS." It measures 72 in. long and 10 in. tall. The lettering is gold leaf. From what I can tell, the gold leaf was first applied accross the board, and then stencils laid out for the lettering. A fine black sand paint was then applied to the sign, leaving the lettering gold. This is a very well-made sign, and the lettering is very bright and shiny.

I inquired with a few railroad momorabilia dealers a few years ago, and no one had ever heard of a sign like this. But it's not one-of-a-kind, as I just learned that this same style sign sold at an auction in Rochester, New Hampshire in 2005, but they didn't remember the value.

With the huge number of American Railway Express shipping points around the country back in its day (they had a monopoly on shipping), I would have thought that thousands of signs would have survived, but haven't heard of many, and only one other like this! Can anyone help me learn more about it? I'd like to know how collectable it is. I would consider selling it if it is worth the hassle. THANKS!

--Nick Sheedy

File comment: Photo of the American Railway Express sign
American Railway Express Sign.jpg
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Author:  Greekone [ Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: American Railway Express sign

Hi there Mr. Sheedy,

The sign is pretty kewl. Your information regarding the sign is basically correct. American Railway Express was created by the goverment as a consolidation of Wells Fargo, American Express, Adams Express, and another one i cant think of in 1918 due to labor problems, WW I, etc. I have seen several turn up in the last year. I picked up one recently for $250. I would be sincerely interested in your sign if you still have it and would consider offering it. It would go to a very good home. I live in Riverside, CA. You can contact me either by email or call me anytime. Thank you.

Regards...... Peter Vourakis


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