Item was found in Grooket Brothers Hardware Store in the Fox Chase section of Philadelphia when they closed in the mid 1970's. It has been in our family since that time. We had it professionally stabilized and cleaned by A Ludwig Klein and Sons of Harleysville PA who also has done work for the Philadelphia museum of art roughly 10 years ago and it has been in dry storage since. Sign is 20"x28" and I have been unable to find any like it in my searches. We did contact A Ludwig Klein and unfortunately their sign restorer and expert has since passed away. We were told this sign would be dated at early to mid 19th century.
Please see previous description.
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This is one of the best American trade signs that I've seen in a very long time.
There was a great groundswell of interest following a trade sign exhibit at the Connecticut Historical Society in 2000 and the market responded, with large/good examples bringing strong prices. The market for trade signs has fallen but this is a very good example that may be unique. The imagery is based on Benjamin West's version of Penn's Treaty, which he painted in 1771-72; with the PA Fire Insurance Company being founded in 1825, it is certainly possibly (though hard to say for certain from photos) if this was done in the early 19th Century.
Based on the photos and information provided, and subject to examination, this is:
A Pennsylvania Fire Insurance Company parcel gilt and painted trade sign
Reading "Pennsylvania / Fire / Insurance Company / Organized 1825 / Philadelphia Pa; centering a painted scene of William Penn's Treaty with the Indians, after Benjamin West, with foliate borders,
20 inches high by 28 inches wide
CONDITION: Stabilized and cleaned by A Ludwig Klein and Sons of Harleysville PA circa 2010 to stop any further decay. Minor restoration (inpainting) to one corner to replace minor areas of paint loss (approximately 1-2 square inches total); minor denting to both lower corners, otherwise, this appears to be all original.
PROVENANCE: found in Grooket Brothers Hardware Store in Philadelphia when they closed in the mid 1970s
*represents a fair-market value for auction purposes; retail or asking price may vary.
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