The John Drake Collection
Medina, Ohio -- September 27, 2008
REPORTED BY JOHN V. TERREY
As many of you know, I am an avid collector of early battery sets, and so would love to attend every Estes auction that contains such sets. However, as with most of us, it is hard, if not impossible, to carve out several days each month for a trek to Ohio. But, when the collection of a major collector, such as John Drake, "goes on the auction block," I'm on the phone to make my flight and motel reservations.
I and many fellow collectors were not disappointed. Quality and variety were there in spades. However, prices were a bit soft, and so, bargains were to be had. The 800 items auctioned brought total bids of $56,230. As usual, the auctioneer augmented the featured collection with items consigned by others.
Top: This early version of the Hallicrafters Sky Buddy BC/SW set sold for $110. Middle and bottom: These photos show the ornate Guild New Englander radio/phonograph combination which, unfortunately, did not receive a bid in the auction. The stereophonic-high fidelity set covers both AM and FM and is complete with two tuning indicators and a stereo balance meter. The extensive electronics feed two sets of impressive speaker systems in the lower side panels.
Several of the unusual sets were the "Cleveland Waves To You" tuner/detector/amplifier combination which had been in the famous Muchow collection. This item sold for $1,600. A nice Silver-Marshal Sargent-Rayment Seven broadcast receiver in an aluminum cabinet, with data sheet, sold for only $150, while a Leutz Transoceanic Type 9 sold for $1,000. A Wireless Specialty Apparatus Co. IP-500 receiver brought $1,000, and its matching 2-step amplifier brought $1,300. The final item selling for over $1,000 was a Zenith Walton, unfortunately, refinished and with an incorrect speaker, bringing $1,050.
Offered, but not even receiving a single bid, was an interesting item -- the Guild New Englander, a radio/phonograph combination built into a desk. In the 1950s and 60s, Guild manufactured an unusual series of radios, each built to look like ordinary items -- a hanging lantern (Town Crier), a wind-up phonograph with a horn (Grafonola), a spice chest (Spice Chest) and others. Guild has never been a popular collectible, but hidden somewhere there must be a collector who has an example of every model. (Hint... an article perhaps?)
Shown in the upper photo is the Aerex Model BR-1 set which sold for $220. The lower photo shows the set's tag, which, in addition, says "King of the Air," Aerex Radiophone Corp., N.Y.
The three-panel "Cleveland Waves To You" set, shown on top, sold for $1,600. The panel functions are tuner, detector, and 2-step amplifier. An unusual item, this particular example was at one time in the Muchow collection. The nameplate, shown below, is an artistic departure from the usual radio nameplate. The lettering superimposed over a wave-shaped line is: "wCaLvEeVsEtLoAyNoDu."
Rounding out the early battery set era were a number of items from Crosley, Grebe, Kennedy, Magnavox, RCA, and Tuska. A good selection of cathedral and tombstone radios from Atwater Kent, RCA, and Zenith also were included.
Richard Estes often sells some "lesser" items at a side auction, run by an associate. Since it occurs at the same time as the main auction, just a few of the buyers leave the main auction for the side auction. Usually, the items offered are in poor condition and/or of low value. The result is a number of "bargains." I do not believe that the side auction items represent typical sales, and so most of the side items are not included in the listing.
All in all, it was a fun day; both the "usual crowd" and new faces were there. Watch Richard's announcements in A.R.C. and on his web site, estesauctions.com, and perhaps you'll be persuaded to attend one in the future. See print version of A.R.C. for complete auction listing.
Abbreviations: vg=very good, g=good, f=fair, p=poor, wk=working, WT=with tubes, BB=brass based, TT=tipped tube, PS=Power Supply, SW=shortwave, gf=good fil, WE=Western Electric. All prices have been rounded down to the dollar. Some low cost items and items in poor condition or with non-specific descriptions are omitted.
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.
(John V. Terrey, c/o A.R.C., P.O. Box 2, Carlisle, MA 01741. Estes Auctions, 7404 Ryan Rd., Medina, OH 44256; (888) 769-4992; firstname.lastname@example.org)