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

Antique Wireless Association
Conference and Auction Report
Rochester, New York -- August 23-27, 2005

Compiled from Reports by Ray Chase, Larry Babcock,
Ludwell Sibley, John Terrey and the AWA


For the 44th Annual AWA Conference held in Rochester, New York, August 23-27, the weather couldn't have been better not too hot, sunny and beautiful the entire time. Though attendance continues to decline, this is still the largest multiday meet in the U.S., and those who do attend have a very good and productive time.

Our reports over the last five years show that attendance continues a downward trend to about one-half in 2000, it was 981; in 2005, 453. In contrast, our report last month on Radiofest showed a reversed trend new highs in both attendance and club membership. The key to ARCI's success appears to lie in opening the meet to the general public, and there's every reason to believe that AWA could achieve the same success with a similar policy.

There are indications that AWA is listening to the argument that decline is not inevitable and that what is still an outstanding meet can be improved. The plan for a Thursday, Friday, Saturday format for next year's meet is a step in the right direction. Another issue addressed at the membership forum on Wednesday morning was better advertising and marketing. If opening to the general public were part of the mix, this important meet would be reinvigorated and enjoy its original popularity with the collecting community.

Stephen Johnson
Stephen Johnson, a collector of Supreme test equipment from the 1920s and 1930s, shows his finds a 400B Diagnometer and a Model 89 Deluxe tube tester.

a number of early and desirable radios
Ed Bell was not at the meet but sent his offerings for the flea market which included a number of early and desirable radios. From left to right, with asking prices, are an Echophone F, $900; a Federal 58, $1,100; an Airway G, $2,800; a Federal 57, $1,200; and an Airway F, $1,050. Reportedly, all sets were sold.


The AWA reports that the number flea market spaces sold was 203, down from 215, 251 and 288 in the previous three years. In my traditional walk-around the flea market on Wednesday noon, I counted 115 sellers, down from 123 last year and certainly down from the record high of 225 in 1997. The flea market area had been reduced by one isle and there were a number of empty spaces. In general, buying traffic seemed to be lighter than last year. Unfortunately, some unauthorized selling went on Tuesday afternoon, well before the official Wednesday opening.

However, many wonderful items, as well as some real bargains, showed up in the flea market. It's not always easy to add to an already large collection, but your editor picked up several significant items for his, including Adams Morgan, Jones, and Marconi sets. Others reported similar success.

2-tube Zenith Model 12U159
Alan Jesperson offered this 1937, 12-tube Zenith Model 12U159 in the flea market. The asking price was $2,900.

A happy Ernie Hite
A happy Ernie Hite displays his purchase -- a Clapp-Eastham C-3. Ernie quotes Ed Bell as describing this radio as a "very ra-are set."


Larry Babcock reports that almost all the sellers he talked with said their sales were excellent. He mentions a nice Atwater Kent 10 offered for $900 and a very large loose coupler priced at $500. A Federal 110 with a slightly bowed lid had a reasonable price of $475, while a mint, 4-knob blue mirror Sparton was offered at $2,850.

This year's conference theme, Western Electric, brought 80 impressive entries with over 100 items to the Old Equipment Contest. Many said that the contest was better than ever this year, and, for some, it was the highlight of the meet. In fact, Ray Chase commented that "The contest in itself is worth the trip."

The Western Electric theme was taken up in Bob Murray's seminar on the history of Northern Electric, the Canadian WE. A.R.C. will review Bob's book on the subject in a future issue. Larry Babcock reports that, as a result of Bob's talk, he just had to buy the very nice Northern Electric/Victor radio that showed up in the flea market.

Larry also reports on a pleasant visit with his friend Alan Carter from England, who had brought English items for the auction. Such exchanges always add another dimension to this meet. Although England, Sweden, Japan, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and possibly a few other countries were represented, total foreign attendance seemed to be down this year.

flea market offerings
Depending on where you look, the flea market offerings were many.


Other talks and presentations covered a wide range of topics. Bob Perera was a busy presenter: in one seminar, he talked about "Body Worn Military Direction Finding Receivers and the Newly Discovered Russian Enigma"; later, he moderated a key and telegraph seminar with presentations by Russ Kleinman, Greg Raven, and Gil Schlehman. AWA editors chatted with potential authors and editors at a get-together for those with a literary bent. Bart Lee gave a shortwave report, John Rollins hosted a meeting for Hams, while resources like the David Sarnoff Library available to collectors were Alex Magoun's topic.

flea market offerings
Or... depending on where you look, the flea market offerings were few, indeed.


In addition, Lauren Peckham moderated a discussion of pre-1912 wireless and electrical apparatus where participants were invited to show items from their own collections. A "Moonlight Restoration Forum" hosted by Mark Ellis was an opportunity for everyone to discuss case histories and to field questions. This kind of exchange of information is, after all, one of the great pluses of such a meet.

Other events of interest were the annual ladies' luncheon, which this year featured a very informative slide presentation on wild flowers. Visits to the AWA Museum with its important collection of the early wireless years is always a treat, especially to those who haven't attended the conference before.

The Awards Banquet is usually a highlight of the social events of this meet; however, the three most important and oldest awards (the Tyne Tube and the two Houck Awards) were not given this year. In addition, many took exception to the tenor of the entertainment which seemed out of touch with the socio-political awareness of our times. In fact, about two dozen people left the room because of the insensitivity of the jokes about minorities in this country not, in our judgment, appropriate for AWA to seem to espouse.


Ready to plug and play, and selling for only $800 -- a Collins "S-Line" station consisting of a 75S-1 receiver, a 32S-1 transmitter, as well as a power supply/speaker, cables and a user's manual.


Once again it's worth mentioning that the Rochester Institute of Technology and Conference Center, formerly the Thruway Marriott Hotel, is a very acceptable venue. The restaurant is good and prices are at student rates not a bad perk, to say the least. The bar area makes an excellent gathering place, and the hamburger/coffee stand at the flea market is a great convenience. Though the rooms are still student housing, they are certainly comfortable enough, and no students are present during the conference.

The Auctions

The tube auction was as usual a Thursday evening affair with auctioneer Bruce Roloson who spiced up the event with his repartee. There were about the normal number of entries in this auction, but notable were the many bags of big pin and octal tubes that went for practically nothing. These were all entered by Bruce as part of his personal clean-out program and there seemed to be no reason why they were not scooped up.

Highlights of this auction were a DeForest spherical, double-wing Audion in excellent condition selling at $1,500, and a 1917 Telefunken EVN 171 in the original box selling at $250. Two WE 212-D large transmitter tubes sold for $260 and $300 respectively.

Once again Walt Buffington handled the paper, books and general equipment auction starting at 9 a.m. on Friday, which turned out to be one of the biggest ever, lasting 61/2 hours. Among the exceptional paper items were a pair of ARRL Convention badges, 1924 and 1927, selling at $1,000 and $1,050. A Civil War Morse Telegraph pamphlet sold for $950.

Cathedral style radios
Cathedral style radios are always popular auction items. Shown left to right: an Atwater Kent Model 206, an Atwater Kent Model 84, and a Jackson-Bell "Sunburst." All three radios were in working condition. Unfortunately, the Atwater Kent Model 206 and the Jackson-Bell "Sunburst" were among the 27 items that did not reach the reserve amount. The Atwater Kent 84 sold and brought $300. See print version of A.R.C. for photos of the Atwater Kent Model 206 and Jackson Bell Sunburst.


Of the 413 items offered in the equipment auction, 12 sold for over $1,000. According to the AWA Journal, the auctions totalled $65,335, almost twice last year's total and reversing a downward trend since the lows of '01 and '02.

A number of outstanding items appeared in the equipment auction. Among them was a Marconi early marine crystal set receiver in fair condition and needing a lot of work; yet, it sold for $11,000. An 1880 Knox and Shane telegraph register sold for $5,600; a 1920s Adams Morgan III-A battery set, an attractive, small table model with doors, that could sit in any living room, for $2,000; an early 1920s Kennedy 110 and a 220, for $1,200 and $1,350 respectively, with a matching amplifier going for $900; and, from the Muchow Collection, electronics for a McMurdo Silver Masterpiece 6 console for $2,000.

Although there is no longer a separate communications equipment auction, occasional nice items show up. This time it was a Collins S-Line station selling at $800.

The 2006 dates are from August 23, Wednesday evening, through August 26, Saturday. The conference theme is Military Radio/Signal Corp.

DeForest Double-wing Spherical Audion
This DeForest Double-wing Spherical Audion sold for $1,500 in the auction. The tube has a Hudson double filament of which one is good.


In all, your editor continues to recommend that if you can attend only one major meet, AWA is the one to fit into your schedule. If you've been disappointed in recent years, give it another try, as there is much to be enjoyed.

e=excellent, vg=very good, g=good, f=fair, p=poor, unk=unknown condition, N.O.S.=new old stock, wk=working, nwk=not working, WT=with tubes, NT=no tubes, gf=good filament, BB=brass based, TT=tipped tube, N.I.B.=new in box, SW=shortwave, PS=power supply, PB=push buttons, WE=Western Electric. Prices have been rounded down to the dollar. Some low cost items and items in poor condition or non-specific descriptions are omitted. See print version of A.R.C. for complete auction listing.

a rare Canadian Marconi 2848 crystal receiver
Front view of a rare Canadian Marconi 2848 crystal receiver that brought $11,000 in the auction, even though it was very dirty, had multiple cracks in the front panel, and had some coils in need of rewinding. See print version of A.R.C. for rear view.


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.

(Ray Chase, 1350 Marlborough Ave., Plainfield, NJ 07060; Larry Babcock, 8095 Centre Ln., East Amherst, NY 14051; Ludwell Sibley, 102 McDonough Rd., Gold Hill, OR 97525; John V. Terrey, c/o A.R.C., Box 2, Carlisle, MA 01742)

For information about joining the Antique Wireless Association (AWA), write to P.O. Box 108, Stafford, NY 14816 or Dues are $20 (U. S.), $25 (elsewhere). AWA publishes the "AWA Journal " quarterly, holds an annual national conference and regional meets, and maintains a museum.

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Copyright © 1996-2005 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.
Last revised: October 30, 2005.

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