Greg Lawson of Fountain City Auction.

Greg Lawson of Fountain City Auction.

By Mike Steely

If you love collecting advertising items, be it large TEXACO signs or small kids’ pedal toys, you’ll want to attend the largest auction of its kind at the Fountain City Auction this Saturday, January 2. The fun begins at noon Saturday and Greg Lawson, owner of the popular auction house, says he’s been receiving advertising items all year and saving them for the event. More than 600 lots will go on the block Saturday.

Fans of television shows like “American Pickers” will enjoy looking through just about everything there including a couple special items like a 1945 military motorcycle and a Model A Ford. The advertising items include signs for B.F. Goodrich, Goodyear, Valvoline, Kendall Motor Oil, Coca Cola and many other brand names.

There’re also collectibles like a 10-cent Coca Cola vending machine, Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrels, pedal cars and tractors, bicycles, Coke Coolers, Pinball Machines, a Chevy Tailgate Bench, coin-operated rides, Neon Clocks and Signs, a three-foot Texaco Service Station sign, thermometers, old toys, barber chairs, old telephones, gas pumps, and a wide selection of vintage cap guns.

Other unique items this year include a six-foot tall mannequin of a Shell Service Station man and an original Shell gas pump.

Lawson said that there will also be some items from Krystal and Local Blue Circle Hamburgers.  Blue Circle was a Knoxville firm that started with one restaurant and spread throughout the southeast. (See B1 in this week’s Knoxville Focus.)

“We have people asking about the advertising items year round and you can go to and see most of the items,” Lawson said, adding, “It is always one of our most popular events.”

Fountain City Auction has a comfortable 10,000 sq. ft. heated and cooled facility with seating for 250 guests. A large projection screen shows the item being sold, so there’s not a bad seat in the house. The auction is located at 4109 Central Avenue Pike, just a few blocks from the Merchant Drive-Central Avenue intersection off Interstate 75.

Fountain City Auction has been featured on TV’s “Baggage Battles” and earlier this year drew a huge crowd when a replica of Andy Griffith’s Mayberry Sheriff’s Car was auctioned.

If you’ve never been to an auction, haven’t been for some time or even if you attend auctions regularly you’ll want to be there. There’s no admission price and lots of folks who come just to look at the items or watch others bid often find themselves leaving with an item they couldn’t resist.

Be sure to request a number from the auction window inside and hang on to it during the quickly moving action. You never know — you might find yourself caught up in the excitement of bidding!