Standard Oil collectibles & memorabilia



2015-06-26 10:49:48

Standard Oil was an American oil company. Memorabilia related to the brand is popular amongst collectors.Background

Standard Oil was established in 1870 by industrialist John D Rockefeller and others. It was the largest oil refiner in the world, and also produced, transported and marketed oil.

It was one of the world’s first and largest multinational companies, absorbing, destroying and outselling all competitors, and shaped the new oil industry.

The monopoly of Standard Oil was broken down in 1911 into 33 smaller companies, following the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 that laid the foundation for America’s anti-monopoly laws.

Out of Standard Oil came two companies which continued to dominate the fuel industry: Jersey Standard, which became Exxon, and Socony (Standard Oil Company of New York), which became Mobil. These are now ExxonMobil, owner of brands including Mobil Oil and Esso.

Several companies continued to use the name Standard Oil, but specified which state they were in, for example Standard Oil Company New Jersey or Standard Oil Indiana.


The Standard Oil logo uses the red, white and blue of the American flag, and often the symbol of a flaming torch, reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty. This continued to be used by some of the successor companies post 1911.

Intelligent use of marketing was in part responsible for the rise of this powerhouse of a brand. All advertising for Standard Oil itself was prior to 1911, after which it relates to the smaller independent companies that arose from the 1911 split. Some of these continued to use the Standard Oil name throughout the 20th century. Other advertisements can be found under the early names of its successor companies, such as Humble Oils, Socony Motor Gasoline etc, to the later names, Esso, Mobil, and ExxonMobil.

See Mobil Oil collectibles & memorabilia and Esso collectibles &memorabilia for more information on the 20th century advertising campaigns of Standard Oil companies.

Collectible items of memorabilia

  • Paper advertisements
  • Oil bottles and cans
  • Wooden Standard Oil crates
  • Standard Oil stock certificates
  • Model Standard Oil cars and trucks

Variants and other products

The Standard Oil company used petroleum products in numerous ways, from the beeswax alternative Vaseline, to axle grease, to horse harness oil, to ‘parowax’ for sealing glass jars. Many old paper advertisements can be found extolling the virtues of these, with the Standard Oil logo beneath.

Collecting tips

The Standard Oil company exists in many guises. Some collectors may choose to focus purely on pre-1911 collectibles, while others may collect memorabilia from all the company’s products and successors.

The 20th century advertising memorabilia is easier to find than Standard Oil collectibles pre-dating 1911.

Standard Oil stock certificates are particularly sought after.

Notable sales

  • Buddy ‘L’ Standard Oil truck, sold for $5,500 at Bertoia Auctions in 2005
  • Model Standard Oil motor service station, Sold for $5,500 at Bertoia Auctions in 2010
  • John D Rockefeller 1886 Standard Oil stock certificate, sold for $5,000 at Scott J. Winslow Associates in 2008
  • John D Rockefeller 1888 Standard Oil Trust stock certificate, sold for $5,000 at Heritage Auctions in 2012
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