Last Updated on May 22, 2022 by Mark P.
Everybody knows the golden arches. They grace nearly every highway exit and small-town skyline. The arches symbolize French Fries and a fountain Coke. McDonald’s has been around since 1955, and the golden arches we know today have taken on many forms over the years.
One thing McDonald’s has done is stay consistent with the golden and red colors on their signs for almost 100 years. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it is what they say. While the sign has gone through changes, the arches will always be there for you.
Best Deals on McDonald’s Signs
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History of the McDonald’s Sign
The McDonald’s sign has gone on a transformative journey over the years. In fact, the red-headed clown we all know and love, Ronald McDonald did not come into play right away. McDonald’s opened in 1940 in San Bernardino, CA as the “Speedee Service System,” with a totally different mascot named “Speedee,” of course.
This sounds like fast food. Speedy was a little round man with a chef’s hat that held a sign saying “I’m Speedee!”
Speedee was the face of McDonald’s gracing the golden arches for about 20 years, until Ronald McDonald was introduced to cater more to kids. The original signs only had one arch, as the arches were on the sides of the building to begin with.
Before Speedee vanished, the two golden arches became the staple of the McDonald’s sign we all know and love.
Along with the neon signs outside of a McDonald’s enticing you in, there have been an array of different signs over the years once stepping foot inside. A collection of these can be found at the McDonald’s Museum in Des Plaines, Illinois, right outside Chicago.
Along with Ronald, a cast of characters like the Hamburglar and Grimace came along, creating a market for collectible items featuring all the mascots, including signage.
There are signs from every year out there for collectors. From signs with Speedee on them, to the Halloween Happy Meal signs from the 1990s. Even drive-thru menu signs that still light up. These items can be found all over the internet along with toys and many McDonald’s collector items.
How Much Will a Vintage McDonald’s Sign Cost Me?
Well, it all depends on what kind you are looking for. Happy Meal toy signs run from $15-$50. Signs advertising limited items like plush Looney Tunes dolls average around $15 each. If you are looking for a menu sign, they range from $100-$400.
The menu signs listed on eBay range from full drive-thru menus from the 80s, and smaller value menu signs. Over the years McDonald’s has also put out limited time only meals, and those signs go for around $50 for one from the 1980s.
Recently, the Travis Scott meal signs have been popping up on resale sites for around $1000, which is much higher than vintage signs.
Where can I Purchase Vintage McDonald’s Signs?
Surprise! Your best bet is going to be the internet. The main hub for collectors is eBay, however sites like Etsy and Pinterest will also have listings. Etsy mostly has glassware and toys, but you can occasionally find signs, as well.
Pinterest will link you to eBay most of the time, so that is probably a good place to start. The selection can vary day by day, so it’s good to keep checking back.
Another possibility is estate sales and thrift stores. There could be some gold hiding out in the shelves. If you are looking for legit collector’s items, stick with eBay and search the listings. eBay is full of signs from various decades and promotions that McDonald’s has done over the years.
Why Should I Buy a McDonald’s Vintage Sign?
Vintage McDonald’s signs hold a certain kind of nostalgia. For the collector, they are fun items to check off a list. Finding the signs from the decade you grew up in will bring back memories you forgot you had.
A vintage sign from McDonald’s might be a gateway to collecting other things like Happy Meal Toys. Boom, you’ve got yourself a hobby!
It can be fun to dig through the listings to see what’s out there and how one post can lead to other stuff you never knew existed. Vintage signs are a part of history, even if it’s from a fast food chain.
Collecting vintage signs along with other memorabilia will make for a stunning collection. There are a variety of things to collect such as glassware, Happy Meal Toys, plushies and clothing.