Antique Radio Classified
A.R.C.--The National Publication For Buyers And Sellers
Of Old Radios And Related Items--Published Monthly

Estes Auctions
Deutsch and Rossbach Collections
Burbank, Ohio--September 20, 2003

reported by Ray Chase


An historic event? Maybe not, but it surely set the current record for the sale of a single vacuum tube -- $14,500. This was the final bid for a German Von Lieben LRS relay tube with a measurable filament, circa 1910. A second similar tube with an open filament was sold for $7,000. Heady numbers for the vacuum tube collecting fraternity. Both tubes were from the Sanford Deutsch collection of Yorktown Heights, New York (see A.R.C., September 2003, for a preview). Having one of these rare tubes for public sale would be a momentous event; two of them, well, incredible! For more details on the Von Lieben tube, see Gerald Tyne's Saga of the Vacuum Tube.

The Deutsch collection was highlighted in the September 2003 issue of Antique Radio Classified, and review of that article is suggested along with this auction report. The radios from the Deutsch estate were truly in outstanding condition and could move right into the new owner's collection with no more than a dusting off.

Two Von Lieben LRS relay tubes
Two Von Lieben LRS relay tubes. The tube on the left, with an open filament, sold for $7,000. The clear glass tube, with a good filament, right, sold for $14,500.

Historic tubes were not the only items setting records at this auction. A mint condition Wireless Specialty IP-501 paired with a rare Type B 2-step amplifier was hammered down at $31,000. Among the many other exceptional items from this superlative collection were a Westinghouse SE-1012A shortwave receiver at $10,000, a Western Electric 4A receiver at $8,000, a Grebe CR-2 at $5,600, and a Waterbury, Conn., Bristol B receiver at $3,600. Interestingly, in this 750 plus lot sale that totalled over $196,000, 25 of the lots that sold at $1,000 or more contributed to over 50 percent of the final proceeds.

Other radios came from the Donald Rossbach collection and these were also in very fine condition. One interesting aspect of some of the early battery radios in this sale is that they were outfitted with "transistorized tubes" so that the radios were immediately playable with very moderate battery supplies. Printed instructions were included with most of the radios so equipped. I tried to identify these radios in the following listings but may not have noted all of them.

Now one should not come away with the impression that this sale was strictly for the "high rollers." As indicated previously, there were over 750 lots in this auction, and, as is usually the case at Estes auctions, there is something for everybody. This sale had a more than the usual selection of books and paper items, along with good groupings of parts, military sets, Ham gear, televisions and miscellaneous moderately priced radios of all sort. In addition to the rare tubes, there was a very large selection of other collector tubes available to power up your battery and AC sets. There were few box lots and no transistor radios, but Estes had a follow-up auction scheduled for his auction barn a week later that would have a good supply of these items.

A warning: Auction prices are not current values. Our selection of auction items is not necessarily complete. A listing such as this cannot adequately include the condition of cabinets, chassis, transformers, tubes, the operating status of the set, and the inclusion of incorrect, restored or replica components, etc. Auction prices are the result of the excitement of the auction process, the skill of the auctioneer and the specific interests of the participants. Nevertheless, auction prices serve as useful references and as another element in the value determining process. The possibility of error always exists, and if we are notified, corrections will be reported.

Bristol "single control radio receiver"
This nice Bristol "single control radio receiver" was another high dollar item at the auction. It sold for $3,600.

Western Electric Model 4A, 7-tube superhet
Front: The Western Electric Model 4A, 7-tube superhet brought $8,000, although the panel meter may not be original. The Atwater Kent breadboard variocoupler, in box, sold for $225. At the rear: the loop antenna by Deutsche TelephonWerke sold for $1,500, and the large Music Master wooden horn speaker sold for $850. In front of the loop antenna is the Western Electric 25B amplifier, which sold for $1,300.

As usual, the detailed price listing does not include the 5 percent buyer's premium that is charged at this site. Also, I stayed until 5:30 p.m. recording this auction but then had to leave while the sale continued for another 20 to 30 minutes. Prices have been rounded down to the dollar. See print version of A.R.C. for complete auction listing.

e=excellent, vg=very good, g=good, f=fair, p=poor, BB=brass-based, TT=tipped, N.I.B.=new in box, WT=with tubes, NT=no tubes, N.O.S.=new old stock, gf=good fil, wk=works, nwk=not working, PB=push buttons, PS=power supply

(Ray Chase, 1350 Marlborough Ave., Plainfield, NJ, 07060; Estes Auctions, 7404 Ryan Rd., Medina, OH 44256; (330) 469-4992;

unusual Tesla speaker
This unusual Tesla speaker in a maroon Bakelite cabinet sold for $135.

 Radiola VII-B
This nice Radiola VII-B with tubes brought $2,200.

5-tube Western Coil Radiodyne WC-15 Jr.
This 5-tube Western Coil Radiodyne WC-15 Jr. with tube cover in place sold in the auction for $900.

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