Restoration Project … the “Tin Sign”


Chapter 1

“The Moment”


Usually every night I get one or two emails from the Moxie web site, and I always enjoy reading and responding to those first. Well, one November (2003) evening, I opened an email from a man in Fryeburg, ME. He had just bought an early 19th century farm from the family that had built it, worked it, and  generation by generation lived in it for around 150 years. The new owner wanted to restore its aged and worn charm for a get away home, and retirement home. While ripping out some old walls in the “el” that connected the barn to the main house, he found historical gold… literally dozens of cardboard advertising signs, posters from the Silent Movie era, and several Moxie collectibles. Well, he found me while researching the Moxie items, and the rest was history. Oh … just one of those old Movie posters sold to a collector in the neighborhood of $18,000. Nice neighborhood. Needless to say, by the time everything was salvaged and sold, all his renovations were paid for, several times over!


Chapter 2:

“The Discovery”


Before making him an offer, I carefully researched each item. Most were easy, with the exception of one tin sign, which was partially covered by a former stair case, and coated in several coats of a navy grey lead based paint. Using PhotoShop, and several hours of editing, color enhancement, negative images etc., I realized this was the famous 1913 Brownie Moxie sign, prominently described in the Potter Book. Frank noted in his book, that there was only one known to exist. Well… now there are two. Problem was…. I was several layers of paint from reaching what I hope would be a perfectly preserved tin lithograph sign that only one other Moxie collector on this Planet, galaxy, or in any known or unknown parallel universe. Cool huh???



Chapter 3

“The Hardship and Heinz”


I researched several tin restoration services, realizing in full that this would be a tough job, even for a professional. I found one Expert of Experts in Wisconsin, who had the tin for several months trying to figure out what was the best method for removing the paint, without damaging the old incredibly thin, fragile membrane of varnish covering of the actual lithograph. Penetrate the coating, and there goes the paint under it. Heinz and his wife (he is the best at restoring Tin Lithos and she is also an expert formerly from the British Museum)at Classic Tin worked on this, testing this and that, and finally wound up with some chemicals from Germany that would do the job…. About the size of a penny at a time. Hour after hour. Well in early April 2004 he got me a quote for restoring the sign, and how much time and money he already had to get this far. After picking myself up from the floor, we both agreed that he would supply me with the chemicals, technique and 24/7 phone support . I sent him a well deserved $ xx00.00 check, and now it’s my turn to finish the restoration. We think of it as a family project, for the next few years anyway. Likely, serious work will not begin until the Fall, as this is a good inside / Winter project. The rest… will be a graphical History:


Chapter 4

“A Pictorial History”



November 2003:       The Discovery in the Barn             a   b   c

November 2003:         The Potter Book Pictures             d   e     

March  2003:             Heinz Begins                                  f   g   

April 2004:                Where I Begin                                h   i    j    

June 2004                  First Spot (15 Q Tips, 1 Hour)                             k 

June 24 – July 14      First full serious progress              l     m   n

Spetember                  Still progressing                            o     p   q

November 2004        Almost Finished  / Final Touches   r     s    r