Estes Auctions -- The Steven R. Ralston
Burbank, Ohio -- October 10, 2009
CONTRIBUTED BY RAY CHASE
The October Estes auction dealt with a fine collection amassed by Steven R. Ralston of Lyons, Colorado. Included were a Grebe CR-18 with coils and a RORK amp, a McMurdo Silver Masterpiece V in Clifton cabinet, a magnificent Philco 37-690, two of the RCA & GE wood advertising dolls designed by Maxfield Parrish, many military sets, Ham sets, and a large selection of tube testers, along with the usual great selection of tubes.
This was a large sale. I recorded over 500 items in the main sale and missed quite a few items due to several side auctions that I wanted to attend. There were side auctions of phonograph items, transistor radios, paper items, and the usual bulk tube lots later in the day, none of which I recorded. There was also the usual 8:30 a.m. auction of low value items that lasted until 10:07 a.m. and was not recorded. These early morning auctions are an interesting free-for-all, and it's amazing how much "stuff" moves out in a short period of time. Bargains are to be had and sometimes a few really good items turn up.
The total sale proceeds that I recorded came to over $47,000, not including the 5 percent buyer's premium. With that number and the auction items I missed, the total sale value must have been closer to $60,000.
These communications receivers sold well. Counterclockwise from upper left: a Breting 40 receiver, w/speaker sold for $175, a Hammarlund SP-600 sold for $250, a Collins 75A-3 receiver sold for $300, and a Collins 51J receiver, in the wrong cabinet, sold for $175.
This McMurdo Silver Masterpiece V in a Clifton case and in "super very good" condition brought the top bid of the day, $4,250.
There was rain on Friday when we arrived and Saturday morning was cold and wet, although not raining. However, by mid-morning, the sun was out, and it was warm enough to open the auction hall doors for ventilation. The parking lot was full and over 100 bidders registered for the sale. Competition was firm, and it seemed as if prices were firming up a bit after being in the doldrums for most of the year.
However, as always at auctions, there are bargains to be had, especially as the day wears on, and bidders run out of funds or stamina. The two seldom seen wood-articulated GE & RCA advertising dolls by Maxwell Parrish sold for $700 and $750. A very nice Grebe CR-18 with coils and RORK amp sold for $2,300. The excellent McMurdo Silver Masterpiece sold for $4,250 while the very nice Philco 37-690 console went for $800. Other prices were more or less in line with current valuations, but I was shocked when a really nice Philco 39-116 console complete with its Mystery remote control was sold for only $35. I guess if you do not have room for it, it matters little how low the price goes.
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.
One of the top items of the day was this Philco 37-690 console with telephone-dial-style "automatic tuning."
This Arcturus blue-tube advertising display sold for $115.
I stopped recording at 4:45 p.m. while there was still a lot to sell and bidding was still active. All in all, a nice sale on a good day. It was wonderful to see and touch those fine radios even if you could not manage to take many home with you. See print version of A.R.C or complete issue PDFs for full auction listing.
Legend: e=excellent, vg=very good, g=good, f=fair, p=poor, unk=unknown condition, gf=good fil, N.O.S.=new old stock, wk=working, nwk=not working, WT=with tubes, NT=no tubes, BB=brass-based, TT=tipped tube, SW=shortwave, PS=power supply, PB=pushbuttons, 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.
Ray Chase has been a radio enthusiast and a collector of many types of radios for years. Currently, he specializes in World War II electronics equipment, as well as early battery superheterodynes. He also has an extensive collection of radio documentation and ephemera.