A cast aluminium street sign for Mortimer Street W1, with raised black painted border, black and red painted relief lettering and gilt painted relief crown to bottom right, with four screw holes, sold together with a signed Certificate of Authenticity from Westminster City Council.
An old Mortimer Street sign. One of hundreds that are for sale at auction. Photo: Catherine Southon Auctioneers & Valuers Ltd.

A collection of 340 1950s and 1960s City of Westminster street signs will be offered for sale by auction this month.

“There are two different types of distinctive London Street signs being auctioned. The first examples are all from the Crown Estate date from the 1960s and are cast iron [the auctioneers say they are aluminium] with relief lettering and all feature the gilt painted crown to the top right,” says Westminster Council.

There are 50 of these earlier signs which include Regent Street, and several streets in Fitzrovia including Mortimer Street, Margaret Street, and Little Portland Street. 

The later enamelled steel signs (of which 280 are being auctioned) were first created in 1967 by Sir Misha Black who was Professor of Industrial Design at the Royal College of Art.

These later signs also feature Fitzrovia streets, including Berners Mews, Clipstone Street, Great Titchfield Street, New Cavendish Street, Ogle Street, and Rathbone Place.

“The familiar black and red sans serif lettering, are under copyright law, forbidden to be copied anywhere else in the world without permission from the council. Each of the signs offered for auction will be sold with a signed certificate of authenticity,” says the auctioneer.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, cabinet member for city management, said:

“The council regularly maintains and updates street signs to ensure our public spaces are looking their best at all times, and these signs have been taken down and replaced after being on display for a number of years.

“Previous street sign auctions have raised thousands for local services and all money raised in this sale will be reinvested to improve services for our residents,” he said.

The London Street Sign auction by Catherine Southon Auctioneers & Valuers will held on Thursday 18 May 2023. The auction will feature on their website and on the bidding platform The Saleroom where the full catalogue can be found.