New England Antique Radio Club Meet
Nashua, New Hampshire -- April 17, 2004
BY RAY BINTLIFF, W1RY, and John Hagman
Another successful New England radio meet is the subject of these articles by Ray Bintliff and John Hagman. Ray, who, along with other A.R.C. staff members, is a regular attendee at this New Hampshire event. John Hagman, from the "West Coast of New England," writes again to the Internet news group (rec.antiques.radio+phono) about his experiences at this quarterly radio event. John always tells it "like it is." The photos throughout are from Ray and your editor. (Editor)
Ray Bintliff reports:
The New England Antique Radio Club (NEARC) held its second meet of the year on April 17, 2004, at St. Stan's Hall in Nashua, New Hampshire. The weather was fine, and, like bees, the collectors swarmed to the event. Swap Meet Chairman Marty Bunis said that 104 tables had been sold and paid admissions exceeded 200. Great numbers, considering that some other organizations are experiencing declining attendance. It appears that NEARC's success is the result of heavy advertising and its policy of inviting the public. Some TV coverage from WMUR in Manchester, New Hampshire, is planned in advance of the next meet in July.
Meet Chairman Marty Bunis, left, and Club President Dave Sutherland bask in the glow of another successful meet.
Attendees came from each of the six New England States and from Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Club President Dave Sutherland noted that there were many new faces in the crowd, as well as some old faces returning after long absences.
Radios offered in the flea market ranged in age from Atwater Kent breadboards to plastics from the 1950s. European manufacturers and a host of U.S. companies were among the goodies on the tables.
The contest themes for April were "Tombstone Territory," Microphones, and Marconi-Related items.
Radio meets are, of course, more than just about radios. They are an opportunity to meet and chat with old friends and to make new friends. There was plenty of evidence of both activities at this meet with knots of collectors in the corners or at the tables engaged in conversation. Like fishermen's tales, there were probably stories about "the big one that got away."
Every flea market should have an Atwater Kent breadboard or two, some horn speakers, and a Magnavox amplifier.
Behind every successful meet are the unsung heroes that make it happen. Although too numerous to mention here, we know who you are and we say thank you.
(Ray Bintliff, W1RY, 2 Powder Horn Ln., Acton, MA 01720)
John Hagman reports: Last Friday night I found myself once again at the Nashua, New Hampshire, Motel 6 with a bulging van load of radio ephemera. Truth be told, although I locked the van, I was certain no thief would see anything but a literal ton of ancient electronic junk. This particular Motel 6 (I am a veteran of many) does not give particular distinction to the name. Its chief virtues for me are it is $36, they allow pets, and it's five minutes from the meet at St. Stan's. Frankly, I'd be happy to pay more, if they would spruce the place up a bit.
I arose at 5:30 a.m., but still managed not to get to the hall until 7:00, as usual. I had an exhibit for the contest in the tombstone category -- my restored Saba 310WL Bakelite. I prepared a little presentation with pictures of the radio and chassis before and after, and I had it playing as well. Later, when I checked the contest area, I noticed a quality monster -- a chrome grille Zenith tombstone in the center of the displays. I knew somehow it would trump me into second place, which is exactly what happened.
Probably the nicest Ham offering was this National HRO-5 with matching speaker and "dog house" power supply.
Meanwhile it took until after 8:30 to get all of my stuff on the table and my two working consoles displayed and playing. The place gets busy with shoppers very early -- by 8:00 -- so it's always a tough one getting set up. The meet has expanded to 100 tables, and it was a sellout. There wasn't much in the way of high-end fixer-uppers for me, but in the beginning, I was too focused on selling to notice many of the bargains, which usually trade hands early in the meet.
In fact, as is traditional in this hobby, many deals are stuck in the parking lot at dawn and never make it to the hall at all. I also can't believe how many people still split a table with someone because they don't want to plunk down 15 bucks, sheesh! Their good stuff ends up tucked underneath the table, where only the aggressively cheap shoppers will find it.
I use fluorescent Post-It notes for big price tags now, and I sell things more easily as a result. A few meets ago I noticed lots of folks don't bring or refuse to wear their reading glasses, and regular size price tags are just a blur to them.
Purchases: Between sales I found a slightly battered but complete RCA 106 tapestry speaker for a big $45, which I instantly bought. These usually go for five times that price in good shape, but this is nothing I can't fix up. It is a self-powered dynamic speaker from 1928 that uses copper oxide disk rectifiers (early solid-state). Incredibly, I'm listening to it now, just as it came to me, and it sounds great. I have a speakerless Radiola 44 and a 60 in the queue for this summer, so I want to have something to use with them.
I also snagged a pair of nice Euro sets for my friend up north in Malone, who loves such things -- a Lowes Opta with phono up top, and a Tonfunk.
Seen at the meet are these two happy contributors to A.R.C.: Dick Desjarlais, of Dick's Radio Days, left, and Wally Worth, right.
This RCA Model 40X57 "Golden Gate International Exposition" table radio from 1939 was at Rain Buttignol's table.
I sold the Philco 65 console I had brought, and as I loaded it into a really nice car, I realized this meet has a tremendous appetite for restored consoles. I met three couples looking for working "decorator" console radios, and the 65 was all I had brought.
No one wants the $20, 1930 TRFs without tubes or cord, but I could have sold four or more $300 to $500 consoles. The only thing needed to make the $20 one into the $300 one is a bunch of TLC.
By 11:00, the meet was winding down, and a few sellers began packing up, although it runs officially until noon. I overheard quite a few complaining that it was a slow meet for selling. I had to agree, as I sold only a third of my load, and usually do more business.
The day was one of the first beautiful Saturdays of the spring, and, of course, we all suspected that outdoor activities took precedence over shopping for many people. It still was well worth the trip though, and, as usual, I had a fun time talking to Adam V., Dave "Jack of All Trades" Sutherland, and our fine hosts, the Bunises.
All and all, it was a great meet, and I will have a table at July's meet and again in October for sure. Thanks to all the hard-working folks who make it possible.
Sincerely, John H. on the West Coast of New England.
(John Hagman, 198 Park St., #2, Burlington, VT 05401)
The New England Antique Radio Club publishes "The Escutcheon" and holds swap and sell meets quarterly. Dues are $14 a year. For membership information, write Bob Andersen, P.O. Box 201, Spofford, NH 03462 or firstname.lastname@example.org