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Vintage Neon Signs: Beer and More

Whether you want to light up a bar window, add a funky touch to your apartment, or decorate a dorm room for partying, vintage neon signs are eye-catching (if expensive) additions to any environment. If you want an old beer sign – or a beer sign that just looks old – these websites may have what you seek. And if you’re not into beer, fear not. There are plenty of vintage neon signs available for soda, gas, and roadside services. The selections and prices of the vintage neon signs vary, as do the levels of authenticity.

1. www.neonsign.com
This is a comprehensive site selling neon signs, some with a vintage look. Although the signs are all new, many of them harken back to halcyon days with an old logo or theme, including the 7-Up and Coca-Cola signs that conjure up ’50s diner associations. The prime focus is on alcoholic beverage signs, with the bulk of their 900+ list devoted to beer. Some neon signs reference specific events, like the “Rolling Stones ’94 Tour” guitar-shaped Budweiser sign. Others feature beer brands that are no longer common, like Blatz. In business since 1995, www.neonsign.com claims to sell “exact commercial models” seen in bars and stores, and their prices seem quite reasonable, often under $400. This is a company, however, that works with various suppliers, so they don’t maintain a true catalog with a definite inventory. Availability is not guaranteed and prices can change. The ordering process involves sending them an inquiry to which they will respond with a call or email to settle on details and close a deal. While this seems cumbersome, it does provide one advantage, particularly for those seeking vintage neon signs: you can submit a special request and have their network of dealers attempt to locate your item.

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2. www.roadhouserelics.com
I liked the vintage neon signs on this website, as they had some signs that truly look like Eisenhower-era throwbacks. They conjure a Happy Days feel, except with a more dusty-road Route 66 orientation. Roadhouse Relics’ selection is limited, but the signs are “weathered to give an aged appearance” and use simple one-word descriptions like Beer, Diner, Bar, Café, Eat, and Grill – all done in familiar classic lettering. They also have some non-worded signs, like a cowboy hat and a boot that were also spot-on for a vintage neon sign look. The only downside is that prices were relatively high for signs that aren’t true antiques. All the signs I viewed were either $700 to $750.

3. www.antiquemystique.com
This site offers the truest vintage neon signs, as the store sells a wide array of antiques. To locate the options, use their search feature and type in “neon.” You’ll then get a list of results – extremely limited but worthwhile if you’re seeking vintage signs that are actually decades old. At the time I searched, I found a specialized neon sign featuring a George Strait hat and a Bud Light logo. I also spotted some old neon clocks that looked like they had come from bowling alleys. In addition to working signs, Antique Mystique occasionally has vintage neon signs from which the glass lighting has been removed. Since they sell more one-of-a-kind items, you’ll just have to explore the inventory yourself, but be warned that prices can be high due to the uniqueness of the vintage neon signs.

4. www.nostalgiaonline.com
Selling neon signs alongside other merchandise, Nostalgia Online has a short list of vintage-looking items, all priced at $525. These signs all take a similar shape, appealing and different from signs on other sites (no beer though!). They offer an old school Pepsi fountain sign, throwback Texaco and Mobil signs, and a Ford garage display. While they are not originals, they look fairly authentic.

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5. www.everything-neon.com
This flashy sites claims to have the “largest neon beer sign selection available anywhere,” but I am inclined to dispute that after seeing www.neonsign.com (described above). I did spot a few neon signs with a vintage logo or look (including a 1980s Spuds MacKenzie beer sign that recalled my childhood). Despite a handful of signs that might qualify as vintage neon signs, this site’s obvious focus are commercial and custom signs. If you’re looking for something with an old-time feel, you should probably look elsewhere.