Starting a new collection requires a little bit of determination and a whole lot of love. That is, unless the collector is more interested in the raw material than the actual product. This leads to collections that seem to defy clarity while simultaneously fitting together like a kaleidoscope jigsaw.
“I don’t really have a ‘way’ of getting these (signs). When I see one I like, I’ll pick it up,” says Dusty Wallace. “Random shops and eBay seem to be the best places if I have something specific in mind.”
At the moment Wallace has eight of these tin or steel signs hanging up on his garage door. The goal is to fill the entire door, and while Wallace is a bigger fan of the vintage metal look, he does have a few stipulations as to what gets hung up and what remains in a box.
“My girlfriend bought me the Harley-Davidson skull sign around when we first started dating, and it was a good find,” Wallace says. “Now she’s talking about getting a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup for the wall, and I think that’s where I’ll finally draw a line for what goes up.”
The three brands that currently dominate the garage are Ford, Harley-Davidson and Skoal. His Harley-Davidson signs have been gifts from his girlfriend and family, while Ford and Skoal have required a little searching. The Ford signs were a fortunate find at the Adair County Fair Swap Meet in Greenfield. For Skoal, Wallace knew what he wanted and went right to eBay.
“I like those two Skoal signs (first and third from the left in photo) the best, probably,” says Wallace. “That first one because it captures the feeling of a western with cowboys (Wallace is also a big John Wayne fan) and that other one because it’s got that older feel to it.”
It’s been a couple years since Wallace has updated his collection, but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped looking. Right now he’s busy fixing up his garage rather than decorating it.
“I’m not much of an ‘active’ collector, but I know what I like,” says Wallace. “At the moment, I’m keeping my eye out for Firestone signs.”
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