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 20-23, 2003



The Antique Wireless Association (AWA) held its 42nd annual historical radio conference at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Inn, formerly the Thruway Marriott, in Rochester, New York, August 20-23, 2003. Although still one of the largest shows, attendance continued on a downward trend -- 730 compared to 825 in 2002, 854 in 2001, and 981 in 2000.

However, many overall improvements were evident and may serve to turn things around next year. First, the accommodations are improved, as many of the rooms have the look of real hotel rooms rather than drab dorm rooms. In fact, the Conference Center states that the facility is now fully operative as a hotel from May to September; during the academic year, the North Tower is reserved for transients, while students occupy the rest of the premises.

Last year the hotel was in transition from being a Marriott hotel to becoming an RIT facility. It appears that a middle ground has been achieved, and both students and the general public can be served. Though still a cafeteria, the dining room has the quality of an upscale chain restaurant. In addition, a full bar was open to facilitate the sociability so basic to such an event. A more welcoming sign at the entrance to the flea market area is also a definite improvement, but it's still regrettable that the event is restricted to members, unlike the open policy of other several major meets. This change would do much to encourage new membership and insure the continuity of antique radio collecting.

the conference theme this year -- FM Radios
This contest entry was an excellent representation of the conference theme this year -- FM Radios.

In general, the Wednesday at 6 A.M. opening of the flea market was honored by all but a few. The flea market participants numbered 251, down from 288 last year, but, of course, not everyone opened up at the same time. In my annual walk-around at midday, I counted 157 vendors open, some with multiple spaces. Previous year counts were 196 in 2002 and 189 in 2001.

If we take A.R.C's book sales as a measurement, the drop-off was precipitous on Thursday and Friday. Thursday sales were one-third of Wednesday's, and on Friday, the auction day, the outdoor flea market was a ghost town. The conclusion is that the flea market has become a one and one-half day affair. However, it's important to remember that the flea market is not the only attraction at the AWA Conference. There are seminars, an old equipment contest, and activities for non-collectors as well. The seminars were all well presented and attended. Topics ranged from ephemera presented by Bart Lee to FM history by Ludwell Sibley; restoration by Marc Ellis; the German enigma cipher machine and key and telegraph, both by Tom Perera; the invention of the transistor by A.C. Sheckler; Amateur operation by John Rollins; pre-1912 wireless and electrical apparatus by Lauren Peckham; early TV by Peter Yanczer; the slide wire bridge by Dale Goodwin; and the status of radio museums by John Terrey.

Of particular interest to "significant others" was the Ladies Luncheon on Thursday noon. The speaker was Susan Brewster who shared her experiences serving on the hospital mercy ship Anastasis. Subscribers will remember the November 2001 A.R.C. article by Richard Brewster about his discovery of a radio museum in Rotterdam, Holland, where the Anastasis had docked for supplies. The Brewsters are once again on the high seas with the Mercy Ship.

Another extra and a primary reason to attend this event is the opportunity to visit the AWA Museum. Here even noncollectors must be impressed with one of the foremost collections of the early wireless years. In addition, the Old Equipment Contest offered many interesting entries on the theme of FM radio, marking the 70th anniversary of Edwin Armstrong's first disclosure of wide band frequency modulation to RCA in 1933. This theme was highlighted at the banquet with a "slide show," on video, on Armstrong, originally put together years ago and narrated by silent key Bruce Kelly.

Joseph Milano's offering of cathedrals and other sets
Joseph Milano's offering of cathedrals and other sets is now a tradition in the AWA flea market. Top to bottom; left to right; top row: Philco 60, 89 and 60; second row: a Pilot 13-tube and a Philco 60; third row: Philco 70 and 60, and a Gloritone (U.S. Apex) 32; bottom row: an RCA 96-T7, a Philco 144 and a Sparton Jr. Sets were priced from $95 to $450.

Geoffrey Bourne, the new president of AWA, has picked up the job of running the contest from the late Ralph Williams. Geoff seemed to be everywhere, as he works to move the organization forward into this new century and a new era of radio collecting.

The tube auction was held on Thursday evening at 8:00 P.M., Bruce Roloson auctioneer. This auction ended at about 9:40 P.M.

an Addison A-2 in green and yellow
three Emerson AU-190s in yellow, red and cream
A few of the many Catalin sets in this year's flea market were these in John Sakas' setup. Above, an Addison A-2 in green and yellow priced at $2,000. Below, left to right: three Emerson AU-190s in yellow, red and cream priced at $1,800 to $25,000.

The main auction was interesting as usual but still falling off from prior meets. To make up for the loss of the communications equipment auction that used to be held on Wednesday morning, a section of the general auction was reserved for this type of item, and some noteworthy equipment showed up. The communications equipment section was held just after the paper auction and before the general auction. Otherwise, all was as usual with Bruce Roloson doing the tubes on Wednesday evening and then Walt Buffinton doing the rest on Thursday.

One sentiment that circulated was that AWA has abandoned a major selling opportunity in giving up Ed Gable's separate communications gear auction, which dates from Canandaigua times. Ed's entertaining and informed commentary made this a social event, as well as a sale, and created a lot of interaction with the audience. One result seemed to be the diminished number of items offered (35), far below the 181 of ten years ago.

In spite of the added communications equipment items, the total of lots entered in the general auction was 348 vs. 346 last year. The auction bottom line was $45,042.50 vs. $31,734 last year, including the five unusual "high flyer" items that accounted for $11,850 of the total.

Surprisingly, a very good complete Atwater Kent breadboard failed to meet a reserve of $550. An extremely nice early Canadian Marconi 3-unit battery set commanded the highest bid of $5,500, and a Viking Ranger transmitter sold for $2,250. The quality of the tube and paper items was well down from prior years. Although an increase in the number of items per entrant was allowed, all this seemed to do was to reduce the average quality of the items.

However, the auction crew did a fine job and everything was handled very smoothly. The auction was concluded by 2:30 P.M. so there was ample time to check out and pick up one's items.

Be sure to put next year's AWA Conference date on your calendar -- August 17-21. For those of you who may have missed this year's event due to dissatisfaction with the recent past, things have improved, and we recommend another serious try. Hope to see you there.

Lot items
Two lot items in the auction were this Amplion "Dragon Fly" horn speaker selling at $1,600 and this Federal Jr. crystal set selling at $450.

1931 Crosley 'Buddy Boy' 58
Audions, both spherical and tubular
This 1931 Crosley "Buddy Boy" 58 was offered for $600 with this Magnavox M1-A horn speaker for Audions, both spherical and tubular, priced at $1,200 and $150 respectively, were offered by Jack Parsons in the flea market.

Swiss Philips 830a cathedral
Robert Lozier can be counted on for a striking contest entry -- this year a Swiss Philips 830a cathedral, ca. 1932.

both were made by Porto Products and both had a Stewart-Warner radio chassis
On the left is Bob Schaumleffel's Smokerette and on the right is Ken Lowther's Portobaradio. A bit of in-house research indicates that both were made by Porto Products and both had a Stewart-Warner radio chassis.

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, BB=brass based, TT=tipped tube, SW=shortwave, PS=power supply, PB=push buttons, gf=good filament. All prices have been rounded down to the dollar. Some lower-priced and inadequately-described items are not listed. PLEASE SEE PRINT VERSION OF A.R.C. FOR COMPLETE AUCTION LISTING.

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.

[Free Sample] [Books, etc., For Sale] [Subscribe to A.R.C./Renew]
[Classified Ads] [Auction Prices] [Event Calendar] [Links]
[Home] [Issue Archives] [Book Reviews] [Subscription Information] [A.R.C. FAQ]

Copyright © 1996-2003 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.
Last revised: December 26, 2003.

For Customer Assistance please contact or call (866) 371-0512

Pages designed/maintained by Wayward Fluffy Publications

Antique Radio Classified
P.O. Box 2-V75, Carlisle, MA 01741
TEL: (978) 371 - 0512 || FAX: (978) 371 - 7129