Such was Mickey Mouse's popularity in the late 1930s that even gas companies were recruiting his likeness for use in its advertising displays. This large-format advertising piece, printed on linen, was produced in the late fall for outdoor display at Sunoco gas stations to remind patrons that it was time to winterize their cars. Issued just prior to Thanksgiving, the colorful illustration pictures Mickey in Pilgrim garb as he fires his musket at a turkey. The text reads "For Trigger-Quick Starting! - Change Now to Sunoco Winter Oil and Grease." A 1939 Walt Disney Productions copyright appears in the lower right corner. In 1938 the Sun Oil Company, the parent company of the Sunoco gas-station chain, entered into a ten-year agreement with Disney to use its cartoon characters for promotional purposes, thereby making the offered piece one of the earliest such Sunoco/Disney advertising displays. While Sunoco postcards and ink blotters bearing this image circulate in the hobby, the retail displays are exceedingly rare, almost to the point of being nonexistent. The fact that these large-format advertising pieces were intended for outdoor display at gas stations, in the winter months no less, meant that they were constantly subjected to the elements. Because of that, it stands to reason that very few survived past their period of use. To the best of our knowledge this is the only extant example, as we have never seen or heard of another. Its rarity is such that it does not even appear in Tomart's Disneyana Catalog and Price Guide.
The name of a Belleville, New Jersey, lithography company appears in the lower left corner, but the company name is nearly completely covered by the frame and cannot be read. While we are confident that all of the original advertising text is present, it is possible that the piece may have been slightly trimmed along the borders to its current dimensions (since we know of no others, we are unsure of its original size). The display (55.5 x 35.5 inches) displays a number of light-to-moderate stains throughout (as would be expected) and is in Very Good condition overall. Framed to total dimensions of 58 x 36 inches. The substantial size/weight of this item requires that there will be a shipping charge for this lot (which will vary depending upon where it is being shipped). The shipping charge will be billed separately from the auction invoice. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $1,541
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