Larry White, longtime owner of Sapulpa businesses such as EMCO Pest Control and formerly the event venue known as Signs of the Times, has decided to auction off nearly all of what remains of his unique, mostly Sapulpa-based collection.
On Saturday, October 22nd, White plans to auction off the remainder of his collection of vintage and antique signs, housewares, petroliana, and more—most of which is based out of Sapulpa. In his showroom at 1002 E. Hobson Ave, you’ll find signs that you can find in black and white photos from Sapulpa’s history, yet here they’re fully restored and lit like they just came off the building they hung on decades ago.
The sad reality is that death more than anything else led him to the decision.
“Bob Boran restored everything, I don’t fix nothing,” White said in a conversation with Sapulpa Times earlier last week.
“When I lost Bob and Jim (Matchum), I knew I was through,” he said. “Jim was the best neon guy. He was an original. He could get it ruby red if I asked him to,” he said.
“And Bob, he could restore anything. He always found some raccoon’s nest or something in my signs,” he said, laughing.
“That sign right there was buried in a guy’s yard,” pointing at the brightly-lit “Pure Gold” sign in the back of the store. “Bob got it working like brand new.”
Bob Boran died in November of 2021, and Jim Matchum passed away in July of this year.
White, who has also taught school, coached girls basketball, and opened a number of restaurants, has amassed his collection over the past twenty years, starting shortly after the death of his twin brother Gary, who died of colon cancer in 2005.
“I don’t know whether it’s collecting or getting in debt,” White chuckled.
Originally, he purchased the building at 18 E. Hobson because he needed “a building to store all my junk.”
After an extensive renovation (“There was a tree growing through the middle of it,” White says) the building full of “junk” became a Sapulpa destination for nostalgic antique lovers. The facility found new life as an event center that frequently hosted authors, politicians, and municipal groups.
Later, Reed Architecture purchased the building and has made it their home ever since. White moved his collection to a new red barn he built just for the purpose, at its current location on Hobson near Mission Street, where it’ll remain until it goes on auction on October 22nd.
Oil Capital Collectibles is hosting the auction, and many items can be found online for sale now at oilcapitalcollectibles.com