Believe it or not this sign, which hung at New Street and Exchange Place way downtown, is being auctioned on Ebay for $43,000. I seriously doubt such a number will be the final auction price. In 1988, I purchased a similar sign in a lot at 6th Avenue and West 28th Street for $50, and it’s still in my possession.
This one still has its rusty bracket, used on castiron posts in the years between the 1910s and 1960s, as well as an attached arrow-shaped one way sign (I’ve seen them with “NY Police Department” on the sign; nonetheless, I do think this is authentic).
Incidentally, the brackets went with the signs like U goes with Q. Until 2000 or so, one of these sign-bracket combinations was still in place on a telephone pole at an obscure Bronx corner in Eastchester, Allen Place at DeLavall Avenue; unfortunately the Department of Transportation made quick work of it. I hope a collector was on hand when they removed it.
I also wish some enterprising type designer would design an alphabet based on the letters and numbers on these signs. It would make a terrific serifed font.
The signs, used in Manhattan and Bronx, were very dark navy blue and white — New York Yankees colors. One wonders if the uniforms were influenced by the signs.