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The Neon Cal's Liquors Sign Can Be Yours For $8,500

By David Matthews | November 4, 2015 3:03pm | Updated on November 4, 2015 3:59pm
 South Loop dive bar Cal's Liquors' neon sign is for sale.
South Loop dive bar Cal's Liquors' neon sign is for sale.
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CHICAGO — The big, neon sign for shuttered Downtown dive bar Cal's Liquors can be yours, thanks to the Internet.

The sign, which adorned the tavern at 400 S. Wells St. for decades before it closed two years ago, was listed for sale Monday on Craigslist. The asking price is $8,500 or "best offer."

The 121-inch wide by 53-inch tall sign was previously listed for $1,000 less two years ago, according to Gapers Block, which first reported the new listing. The more expensive listing arrives amid a recent preservationist push to save vintage neon signs, which have fallen out of favor to cheaper, more environmentally friendly electronic ones in recent years. 

"The antiques business is an interesting industry," said Erik Retzer of Architectural Artifacts, the North Side collector who acquired the sign after the bar closed. "As things become more scarce and rare, they become more valuable."

Retzer said the post has received "a few" feelers since it went online, but would not disclose the bids. He said vintage signs are attractive because they're so synonymous with their neighborhoods here.

"There's only one [Cal's Liquor sign] in existence," he said. "Anybody on the South Side is going to recognize that sign as part of the community." 

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