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Folk Art Signs

FOLK ART STYLE

Folk art is a genre of art that shares the creator’s traditions, offering not just an artistic display but an opportunity to learn about a culture. Antique, new and vintage folk art typically reflects a heritage or location. It can include utilitarian objects and handmade art as diverse as weather vanes, duck decoys, portraiture and paintings, carnival art and quilts.

Quilts are a quintessential part of American folk art but their roots are international, with quilting dating back to Ancient Egypt. The practice spread to Europe and was especially prominent in the Middle Ages, with one of the oldest surviving examples being the Tristan quilt made in Sicily in the 14th century. They were made as bedcovers and clothing, including as a layer for knights to wear beneath their armor. Native American folk art includes functional objects reflecting their heritage, such as baskets, textiles and wooden pieces.

Elsewhere, the vast range of work associated with Mexican folk art includes masks made by Mexican craftspeople for traditional celebrations and ceremonial dances. Mexican masks are part of the country’s folk-art traditions that go back thousands of years and play a role in festivals and theater.

Works in the folk art tradition are valuable because of the skills involved, like weaving, hand-carving wood and even stonework. Many folk artists are self-taught, while some train as apprentices within their community. By using available materials and taking a personal approach to their creations, artists ensure each piece is unique and conveys a story.

During the Great Depression, artistic materials in America were hard to come by, so artisans used discarded wood from cigar boxes and shipping crates to make highly stylized, notched pieces — most often picture frames and boxes — that are today sought after by collectors. This folk art style is called tramp art and was popular from roughly 1870 until the 1940s.

Folk art brings vibrant culture and traditions into your home. Browse an extensive collection of antique, new and vintage folk art on 1stDibs.

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Style: Folk Art
French, 19th Century Iron Shoemakers Shop Sign
Located in Buisson, FR
Original riveted sheet iron shoemakers shop sign. Unique find, France, circa 1800-1850. Traces of red paint visible. Weathered.
Category

19th Century French Antique Folk Art Signs

Materials

Iron

Vintage Black and White Highway One Road Sign, Enamel on Metal, Oversize
By US Government Printing Office
Located in Chicago, IL
Vintage American road sign for Highway One has a striking graphic impact in look, texture and size. Measures 2 feet x 2 feet and has definitely seen some usage. Great patina and most...
Category

20th Century American Folk Art Signs

Materials

Enamel, Sheet Metal

Wooden Trade Sign Advertising Model of Kissel Gold Bug Speedster
Located in Chillerton, Isle of Wight
Wooden Trade Sign Advertising Model of Kissel Gold Bug Speedster A Car made famous by Amelia Earhart the Kissel Gold Bug Speedster thought of as one of the hottest cars on the road...
Category

1950s Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Plywood

Nineteenth Century 55 Wood Address Sign
Located in Garnerville, NY
Nineteenth Century '55' wood sign. Old wood relief sign with wonderfully weathered gold and black paint. A nice accent piece or if your address just happens to be 55 Main Street, Any...
Category

Late 19th Century American Antique Folk Art Signs

Materials

Wood, Paint

Early-20th Century Boul Club Sign
Located in London, GB
Early-20th Century Boul Club Sign A complete one off, in the form of a hand carved / painted oversized Boul club advertising sign dated 1922. Completely u...
Category

Early 20th Century French Folk Art Signs

Materials

Pine

Large French Toleware Glove Maker’s Shop Trade Sign
Located in Chillerton, Isle of Wight
Large French Toleware Glove Maker’s Shop Trade Sign This is a very rare piece it is in good condition and has a new blacksmith made wall bracket, the bracket is copy of the origina...
Category

Early 1900s Antique Folk Art Signs

Materials

Tin

Eye and Glasses Window Display Trade Sign
Located in Chillerton, Isle of Wight
Eye and Glasses Window Display Trade Sign The sign is made in presses tin, it seems to be hand painted with the slogan Eye Glasses Sold Here The sign is a ...
Category

1930s Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Tin

Set of Temperance Day Sheet Metal Road Signs, circa 1951
Located in Santa Monica, CA
Created by the Seventh-Day Adventists church in 1951 for their October 27th, 1951 Temperance Day "Weapons and Warfare" Campaign against alcohol consumption in the United States. The ...
Category

1950s American Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Sheet Metal

A monumental vintage Pyramid Pencil Company wood trade sign.
Located in Philadelphia, PA
A monumental vintage Pyramid Pencil Company wood trade sign. Great for a man cave or restaurant!
Category

20th Century American Folk Art Signs

Materials

Wood, Paint

Large Early 20th century Palethorps Pictorial Enamel Sausage Sign Very Rare
Located in Chillerton, Isle of Wight
Large Early 20th century Palethorps Pictorial Enamel Sausage Sign Very Rare old sign with a mouth watering picture of Palethorps Royal Cambridge sausages The sign is made in ceram...
Category

1920s Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Enamel

Early 20th century double sided metal fairground sign
Located in London, GB
Early 20th century double sided metal fairground sign A charming authentic double sided metal fairground sign, date to the first quarter of the 20th Century with original hanging hooks and paint still present. Remnants of old faded signage lettering is still visible. This sign would have hung over an amusement fairground arcade to detail the cost of a game. Size of inches: H 17” x W 24” x D 0.5” Completely solid in structure and form, with natural wear and patination across all surfaces due to age and use. Flaking paint...
Category

1940s Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Metal

19th Century Apothecary Mortar & Pestle Countertop Trade Sign or Sale Stimulator
Located in Chapel Hill, NC
Apothecary trade sign or sale stimulator in the form of a mortar and pestle in gilt wood. The mortar of cylindrical waisted form with a central half round band and stepped rings at t...
Category

Late 19th Century American Antique Folk Art Signs

Materials

Wood

Oversized Advertising Store Display Scissors
Located in Philadelphia, PA
Brass oversized scissors probably used for advertising and or store display. These will add interest to any room, wall, hair salon or fashion fashi...
Category

1960s American Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Brass

Unusual 1930s / 40's "Drugs" with arrow NEON sign..
Located in Buffalo, NY
Unusual 1930s / 40's "Drugs" with arrow NEON sign.. Two color...Nice early neon,, replaced / new transformer.. Great size, style Hand delivery avail to New York City or anywhere en r...
Category

1930s American Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Metal

Folk Art Giant Metal Scissors Industrial Store Display Sign
Located in Atlanta, GA
This is an industrial metal store display sign that showcases French Folk Art. The sign boasts gigantic scissors, which can be used as an advertisement for a barber or hair salon. It is possible that the sign was originally used as a trade sign for a tailor shop or a millinery store. The sign is made of chromed metal and has the same maneuverability as real scissors. Despite being an outdoor sign...
Category

Mid-20th Century French Folk Art Signs

Materials

Metal, Chrome

Double Sided Gilt & Painted "HAPPY JACK'S" Tobacconist Trade Sign, Laconia, NH
Located in Chapel Hill, NC
Two-sided tobacconist trade sign of circular form with gold leaf lettering with red shadow on a black sand paint ground with green borders "HAPPY JACK'S" centers a cutout pipe above a white banner applied to the bottom of each side which reads "CIGAR, PIPE & / TOBACCO SHOP...
Category

Late 20th Century American Folk Art Signs

Materials

Gold Leaf

Early 20th Century Grey Whale Shop/Trade Sign
Located in Hastings, GB
'Thar She Blows' a fabulous rare shop/trade sign of great scale, hand made in riveted zinc and hand painted. This superb piece sits on an iron stand and would have spun outside of a ...
Category

1920s French Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Zinc

Large Hand Painted Double Sided Arrow "Radio Trade In" Folk Art Trade/Store Sign
Located in Buffalo, NY
Large Hand Painted, Double Sided Arrow "Special" Radio Trade In sale,,,,Folk Art Trade/Store Sign,,Wonderful size,,amazing crackle paint, patina..Great subject.
Category

1930s American Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Masonite, Paint

Zinc and Gold Horse Head Butchers Trade Sign Flemish 1860
Located in Hastings, GB
19th century Flemish gilt zinc horse head trade sign. This beautiful hand made sign was used by a Flemish butcher and dates to circa 1860. There are still remnants of the beautiful g...
Category

1860s Belgian Antique Folk Art Signs

Materials

Zinc

Early 20th Century American "Chiropractor" Sign
Located in Chicago, IL
Own a piece of Wisconsin's history with this early 20th century hand-painted sign from an early 20th-century chiropractor's office. The sign, found in a barn in the heart of Wisconsi...
Category

Early 20th Century American Folk Art Signs

Materials

Wood

Antique North Carolina Bait Shop Retail Flounder Fish Painted Wood Trade Sign
Located in Forney, TX
A most charming and one-of-a-kind antique North Carolina bait shop trade sign with beautifully weathered patina! A wonderful example of American folk art, early 20th century, primitive hand-crafted construction, sculptural wooden form depicting large flounder fish, with distinctive fins and polychrome painted decoration. Wall hanging, easily secured using the two eye-screws, or the screws can be removed and the sign placed on a mantel. Dimensions: (approx) 31.5" High, 48.5" Wide, 2.5" Deep Sure to add elegant rustic warmth, antique character, charm, and rich historical interest to any space, especially traditional coastal, Hamptons chic, New England cottage, beach house modern, lake house, and rustic lodge, to name just a few! Provenance / Acquisition: Acquired from highly reputable auction house, Bright Star Antiques Co., Sulfur Springs, Texas. Specializing in early American antiques...
Category

Early 20th Century American Folk Art Signs

Materials

Wood, Paint

Old Vintage Fun Wooden Hand Painted Sign 'No Parking' Decorative Wall Shelf Art
Located in Llanbrynmair, GB
A fun hand painted wooden sign reads ‘NO PARKING THIS MEANS YOU’ – Definitely some British humour! A very old sign, probably dates back to Mid 20...
Category

20th Century British Folk Art Signs

Materials

Pine

Early 20th Century Double Sided Metal Boot Makers Trade Sign
Located in London, GB
Early 20th century double sided metal boot makers trade sign. A highly decorative double sided hand painted metal French boot makers trade sign, Still attached to its original hin...
Category

1930s French Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Metal

Monumental Antique American Painted Turned Wood Barber Pole, circa 1875
Located in San Francisco, CA
An uncommon and towering seven-and-a-half-foot tall circa 1875 American painted turned wood barber pole trade sign. Very impressive in both its rar...
Category

1870s American Antique Folk Art Signs

Materials

Wood, Paint

20th Century American Folk Art Swimmer Cutout on Custom Wall Mount
Located in Chicago, IL
A playful and cheeky mid-20th century American Folk Art wooden cutout of a blond swimmer flexing in his black and white striped swimsuit, mounted on a custom steel wall mount so he c...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Folk Art Signs

Materials

Plywood

Authentic Antique Folk Art Equestrian Horse Farm Sign
Located in Hopewell, NJ
Charming hand made vintage horse farm sign that is finished front and back. The horse and letters are black wrought iron, and the wood has a distressed paint...
Category

1930s American Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Iron

1960s English Carnival Sign
Located in High Point, NC
1960s carnival art sign from England. It is advertising a cake walk on one side of the sign, and on the back has a charming message "Have a nice Victorian day". Great sign for any co...
Category

1960s English Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Wood

19th Century, Apothecary Trade Sign
Located in Nantucket, MA
Figural trade sign in the form of a mortar and pestle, both the mortar and pestle are hand turned and gilded, with strong ring turnings. The top is capped with zinc and still bears i...
Category

Late 19th Century North American Antique Folk Art Signs

Materials

Zinc

Early 20th Century French Butcher's Shop Sign
Located in Chicago, IL
A playful early 20th century French painted steel butcher's shop sign in the shape of a pig, and mounted on a custom steel table-top mount. The sign...
Category

Early 1900s French Antique Folk Art Signs

Materials

Steel

19th c Giant Wooden Advertising Thermometer NY Life Insurance Co "NYLIC"
Located in Savannah, GA
Giant sized forty seven inches tall wooden thermometer made by the Hoehn Company Thermomter Makers, Chambers Street, NYC. constucted of hard wood with a rounded top and beveled edges, it adverrtises NYLIC-New York Life Insurance Co. wanting Bright Young Men- Permanent Pay. Measuring Blood Heat, Summer Heat,Tempe Rate, Freezing and Zero, the glass thermometer...
Category

1890s American Antique Folk Art Signs

Materials

Metal

Early 20th Century Pharmacy Sign 'DRUGS' Painted on a Single Board
Located in Nantucket, MA
American folk art trade sign from an apothecary or pharmacy with the word 'DRUGS' in black paint with white shadow lines on an orange ground. Painted on a single pine plank with notc...
Category

Early 20th Century American Folk Art Signs

Materials

Pine, Paint

French Hand-forged Blacksmith Sign
Located in London, England
Beautifully crafted blacksmith trade sign. Hand-forged and riveted, not welded. A seriously striking decorative piece of 20th century folk art. In exceptional original co...
Category

1950s French Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Iron

Traditional Large Hanging Pub Sign, Wethered’s Winterbourne Arms
Located in Chillerton, Isle of Wight
Traditional large hanging pub sign. Wethered’s winterbourne arms This is a large and heavy piece dating from the first half of the 20th Century, it is double sided though the pain...
Category

Early 20th Century Folk Art Signs

Materials

Metal

c 1920 Brass Star of David Chandelier from Chicago Synagogue
Located in Santa Monica, CA
Historical and significant brass electrified Star of David from the last grand Chicago synagogue, Agudas Achim. Beautiful when lit. Hard to believe these were hung as chandeliers in ...
Category

Early 20th Century American Folk Art Signs

Materials

Brass

Vintage Painted Wood Folk Art Showroom Trade Sign
Located in Haddonfield, NJ
American Folk Art trade sign with hand-carved "Showroom" letters and an arrow. The letters and backboard are in original paint, egg-white and petroleum green. The sign has recently b...
Category

Early 20th Century American Folk Art Signs

Materials

Pine

Circa 1890 Hardware Store Wood Trade Sign Carved Smaltz Black and Gold Paint
Located in Santa Monica, CA
Exceptional late 19th century hand carved letters with black and Gold paint and black smaltz background. Excellent typography. Great wall art. Simple and bold.
Category

Late 19th Century American Antique Folk Art Signs

Materials

Wood

19th Century Gold Giltwood Carved Letters William Trade Sign
Located in Santa Monica, CA
Classic 19th century American wood trade sign with chunky hand carved and gold painted letters. Ready to display.
Category

Late 19th Century American Antique Folk Art Signs

Materials

Wood

Rustic Folk Art Hand Painted Gas Station Sign
Located in Oakland, CA
Vintage handcrafted gas station signage on board. The sign dates to pre 1975 when leaded gasoline was phased out. The state states “No Lead 99.9”, painted in yellow paint on a black ...
Category

1960s American Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Scrap Wood, Paint

19th Century Antique Ships Chandler Shop Advertising Sign
Located in Peabody, MA
A relic from Boston’s mercantile history and the seafaring trade. This 19th century shop sign displays a fairly detailed replica of a navigator’s octant (or sextant) and the proprietor’s name and street number...
Category

Late 19th Century American Antique Folk Art Signs

Materials

Wood

Vintage Hand Painted British Motorcycle Shop Sign
Located in Santa Monica, CA
Vintage graphic Motorcycles sales and service sign. Great hand-painted lettering. Wood with original paint surface. Found in the northeastern United States. Fun Americana with a Brit...
Category

1950s American Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Wood

Giant Wood Early 20th Century Hand Painted Americana Barber Shop Sign
Located in Santa Monica, CA
Large and chunky Americana! Fantastic and original Barber Shop trade sign in the shape of a barber pole. Great statement piece. Layers of super graphic red and white original paint. ...
Category

Early 20th Century American Folk Art Signs

Materials

Wood

Large Old Hand Painted Wooden Sign for J.Drayton St Ives Cornwall England
Located in Llanbrynmair, GB
A lovely old hand painted sign J.Drayton Master Thatcher of St. Ives. Known for its surf beaches and quaint costal villages with thatched cottages, this piece is a reminder of simpl...
Category

20th Century British Folk Art Signs

Materials

Softwood

Cigars Store / Trade Folk Art Wooden Carved Sign. c 1900
Located in Buenos Aires, Olivos
American Folk art wooden "CIGARS" sign from the 1920's. Great old Store Trade sign. Wood cut to cigar shape. Lettered in Gold Paint. In good conditions, it was a in doors sign. Perfect for any cigar smoker. Cigars History: A cigar is basically dried tobacco leaves that are rolled and wrapped by other tobacco leaves in order to give you a full tobacco smoking experience. Cigars are becoming more popular all around the world recently because they are exposed to a pop culture where a lot of famous people like Michael Jordan and Arnold Schwarzenegger smoke them. In order to understand why cigars have become very well-known, we need to take a good look at their history and where they came from. That way, we can truly understand this pop phenomenon. Here is a brief history of cigars. Origin of Cigars The exact origin of cigars is not entirely known but historians believe that cigars were first invented by the ancient Mayans. The ancient Mayans would collect tobacco leaves and wrap them up in a plantain leave in order to smoke it. An ancient Mayan pot...
Category

Early 20th Century American Folk Art Signs

Materials

Wood

Early 20th century barbers point of sale hair comb and brush
Located in London, GB
Early 20th century barbers point of sale hair comb and brush We share what we love, and we love this rare example of an oversized point of sale barbers hair...
Category

1930s British Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Plastic, Wood

Folk Art Hand Painted Wooden Trade Sign
Located in Nantucket, MA
Antique Folk Art hand painted double-sided wooden trade sign dating from the early 20th Century... 1920s? 1930s? A wonderful whimsical sign most likely...
Category

Early 20th Century American Folk Art Signs

Materials

Pine

Early 20th Century Folk Art Zinc Barbers Pole Trade Sign
Located in London, GB
Early 20th century folk art zinc barbers pole trade sign. An early 20th century hand crafted zinc barbers pole trade sign. Hand painted and of naïve construction. Lots of characte...
Category

Early 20th Century Unknown Folk Art Signs

Materials

Zinc

18th or 19th Century French Ship Chandler's Trade Sign
Located in Nantucket, MA
18th or 19th century French ship chandler's trade sign, circa 1800, an oval pine double sided sign built with large dove-tails, advertising Cooperage and...
Category

1790s French Antique Folk Art Signs

Materials

Pine

Vintage "Your Father's Moustache" Wooden Pub Sign
Located in South Bend, IN
A fantastic vintage "Your Father's Moustache" three-piece wooden hanging pub restaurant sign. Mid-20th century. Measures: 44.5"W x 1"D x 23"H. Good original vintage condition.
Category

Mid-20th Century Folk Art Signs

Materials

Wood, Paint

Antique Folk Art Reverse Painted and Foil Exhibition Sign in Gilt Frame
Located in Nantucket, MA
Folk Art exhibition sign, reverse painted glass with reserved text backed in gold and silver crinkled foil reading "Exhibition / of / Paintings / on / Glass / By Edgar F. Curtis" E...
Category

Early 20th Century American Folk Art Signs

Materials

Foil

Vintage Carnival or Casino Neptune's Trident Lighted Trade Sign Americana
Located in Santa Monica, CA
Unique lighted Neptune's trident carnival ride or casino trade sign. Really nice graphic piece. Original layers of golden yellow and red park paint. Provides a nice amount of warm li...
Category

1930s American Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Metal

Mid Century Hand Painted Double Sided Pub Sign C1950
Located in Port Jervis, NY
Double sided pub sign from the United Kingdom. Hand Painted and in excellent condition. Rough hewn wood well constructed with a heavy duty frame ...
Category

1950s British Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Iron

Holstein Milk Painted Metal Trade Sign
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This folky original painted hand made Holsteins Milk metal farm trade sign has the original chain for hanging.It has spots that has paint loss and mino...
Category

20th Century American Folk Art Signs

Materials

Metal

Wood Carved Red and White American Folk Art Barber Pole Trade Sign Sconce, C1920
Located in Santa Monica, CA
Great Americana! c. 1920s American Folk Art wood and iron carved barber pole. Layers of thick original red and white hand painted surface. Substantial iron mounts and iron strapping around neck of sconce. Unique wall sconce...
Category

1920s North American Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Iron

Antique Zinc Red Hat Maker Trade Sign, France, Early 20th Century
Located in Antwerp, BE
XXL Antique hat maker's trade sign, made in France circa 1900 - 1920. This large sign was used as advertising - eyecatcher on the storefront. A large facade sign - advertising sign in front of the hat shop - hat maker's store - red hat facade sign It's a spectacular XXL red hat - red top hat made of hand- painted and hand-crafted zinc. When you look at the spectacular shape, you see that the brim of the hat is completely curled, so can only be done by an art maker - craftsman. The original metal bracket is no longer with this hat trade sign...
Category

Early 20th Century French Folk Art Signs

Materials

Zinc

Rare & Hand Painted Near Antique Folk Art Metal Salmon Sign from Fish Monger's
Located in Lisse, NL
Large size and all hand-crafted metal salmon sign. This vintage salmon sign is another one of our recent great finds. The former owner told us how he, about three decades ago, had purchased this unique antique in France. Over the years we have seen and sold all kinds of antiques, but this was only the second time that we had the opportunity to purchase a vintage (or near-antique) fish sign and we were immediately thrilled. Not only because of the extraordinary size, but also because of the rarity, the details and the marvelous colors. This kind of workmanship you simply don't find anymore in this day and age. We have searched the worldwide web and you simply cannot find these sculptural signs anywhere. The aging has made this salmon even more beautiful and realistic, because the crazing of the paint makes it look like you can see its scales. This handcrafted, folk-art-like antique looks like it is made of zinc, but we think it is thick tin. This large salmon will look great in a fish monger's, but it can also be the perfect decoration in the office of a salmon farm, in a fisherman's lodge, in a mancave or in a fishing (gear) shop. It was originally made to hang, either in an open space or up against the wall (as shown in our photos) but with one or two brackets this work of art could also be displayed on a very large desk...
Category

Mid-20th Century French Folk Art Signs

Materials

Metal

1930’s Enamel And Neon Braumeister Beer Sign
Located in Chicago, IL
1930’s enamel and neon sign Milwaukee’s Choicest Braumeister Beer Sign. New transformer and new wiring. Please note that it will be additional fee for shipping crate.
Category

1930s American Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Enamel

1900s, French Zinc Shop Sign
Located in High Point, NC
This enigmatic shop sign was produced in France, circa 1900. A large zinc wall decoration hanging on a small chain, which may or may not be a piep, features a jug extremity with a lo...
Category

20th Century French Folk Art Signs

Materials

Zinc

Boule D'or Enamel Sign, 1953, Vintage Advertising
Located in HEVERLEE, BE
Charming enamel publicity sign by Boule d'or. Dated 1953 All 4 holes are intact, so can be hung without problems. Normal age related wear to the panel, nothing has been refu...
Category

1950s Belgian Vintage Folk Art Signs

Materials

Enamel

Folk Art signs for sale on 1stDibs.

Find a broad range of unique folk art signs for sale on 1stDibs. Many of these items were first offered in the 21st Century and Contemporary, but contemporary artisans have continued to produce works inspired by this style. If you’re looking to add vintage signs created in this style to your space, the works available on 1stDibs include folk art, wall decorations, more furniture and collectibles and other home furnishings, frequently crafted with wood, metal and other materials. If you’re shopping for used Folk Art signs made in a specific country, there are North America, United States, and Europe pieces for sale on 1stDibs. It’s true that these talented designers have at times inspired knockoffs, but our experienced specialists have partnered with only top vetted sellers to offer authentic pieces that come with a buyer protection guarantee. Prices for signs differ depending upon multiple factors, including designer, materials, construction methods, condition and provenance. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $250 and tops out at $18,500 while the average work can sell for $2,280.

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