Kutztown Radio Show
Kutztown, Pennsylvania -- May 9-10, 2008
BY STAN SAEGER AND JOHN HAGMAN
For this popular radio show, we have two reports: DVHRC President Stan Saeger provides an "official" report, along with photos, and our intrepid East Coast reporter, John Hagman gives his personal take on the show. Thanks to both! (Editor)
BY STAN SAEGER
The Delaware Valley Historic Radio Club (DVHRC) hosted the May 2008 Kutztown Radio Show at Renninger's Antiques and Farmer's Market, in rural Kutztown, Pennsylvania, on May 9 and 10, 2008.
Friday morning loomed gloomy, rainy and cold, but as regular Kutztown attendees can attest, even a hurricane can't keep one of the premier radio shows down. As usual, the main pavilion was sold out with many dealers registered in the overflow pavilion. Gas prices nearing $4 per gallon and the weather didn't seem to have much effect as there were very few no-shows.
Foot traffic was heavy by 10 a.m. Friday and didn't taper off until late afternoon when many attendees retired to their hotels, homes or cars to get warm and perhaps some dry clothes. Most got their second wind, however, as activity picked up again in preparation for the quality auction Friday night at 7 p.m., a joint effort between the DVHRC and Richard Estes of Estes Auctions, Burbank, Ohio.
A Freed-Eisemann set with tuning eye was the raffle prize at this year's show. Stan Saeger, left, presents the set to raffle winner Tom Lager, right.
The auction was a new addition for this show. The goal was to hold a more formal auction with higher quality radios indoors with seating, air conditioning (actually heat!), and a professional auctioneer. The club was concerned going into this new venture: "Will we have enough items to sell?" "Will we have too many?" "Will we have enough attendees so the items draw fair value?" "Will we have enough manpower?"
Our concerns were unfounded as everything fell into place. Check-in was smooth, and approximately 120 lots were consigned and 60 buyers were registered.
The auction moved at a fast pace, lasting 11/2 hours, and all items received bids, except for a dozen or so with generous reserves. I spoke with Richard Estes and a few seasoned collectors, and the consensus was that the final bids were in line with the current market. The DVHRC and Estes were quite pleased with the outcome and plan to make this an annual event at each May show.
Conveniently undercover in the main pavilion, lots of tables laden with goodies await buyers.
Saturday morning was cloudy and damp, but the rain held off for most of the day. There were many collectors in attendance and a fair number of walk-ins from the general public. Activity was steady up to the start of the general auction Saturday afternoon, when most dealers close down and either attend the auction or start their journey home.
The Saturday auction was much shorter than previous years, a goal the club set for this show. The quality auction removed some higher-end items, and a "Buy-it-Now" table was set up for lower-end items. Previous shows with 4-hour auctions left club members and attendees exhausted and "radioed out."
In summary, another big success for Kutztown, and we look forward to our next show, September 19 and 20, 2008. Make plans now to attend.
Stan Saeger has been interested in radio ever since his son picked up a set in need of repair at a flea market. He collects, repairs, and restores almost any type of radio with emphasis on midget sets.
The Delaware Valley Historic Radio Club (DVHRC) publishes "The Oscillator" monthly and holds monthly meetings, swap meets and quarterly tailgate swaps, as well as the Kutztown Radio Show. Dues are $15. P.O. Box 5053, New Britain, PA 18901. www.dvhrc.org.
BY JOHN HAGMAN
My great aunt Neddie was always trying to run away from Florida back to her hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, when she reached a very advanced age. As kids, we thought Scranton sounded like an unappealing andstrange vision of paradise. However, on the way to the Charlotte, North Carolina, meet two years ago, my van needed a new ignition coil in Scranton. After all those years, I got to know the town a bit.
I wondered if the ghost of my aunt was haunting me in Scranton when my van blew a wheel bearing just two miles from the same spot on the way to the May 2008Kutztown Radio Meet. I spent the whole day and a wad of cash at the Scranton Ford dealership getting the van back together that Friday just as the meet was starting. Instead of arriving at 10 a.m., I rolled in tired after dinner.
Despite the rain that day, attendance was good. It appeared that about two-thirds of the pavilion sellers had set up. I was told the day had started a little later and ended a bit earlier than usual, but not by much. Some sellers told me they'd already sold more than they had expectedto sell through the whole meet.
I enjoyed the usual warm welcome of the Delaware Valley Historic Radio Club and my other friends already in attendance, and that quickly made my harrowing journey seem worth it. About 7:20 p.m., I strolled over to the new evening auction Estes Auctions was presenting. Although I didn't end up bidding on anything, it was fun to look at some of the pieces on sale. These included items in much better condition and of more interest than one usually sees in the regular Saturday afternoon auction.
As it was getting dark, I set up my table with some help and sampled some traditional fine Scotch. I'm not usually a Scotch kind of guy, buton a chilly night while setting up shop, it always seems like the perfect thing. I went back to the van to walk the dogs and set it up withlights and heat before checking out a campfire in a washtub burning near the "food court."
This E.H. Scott Model 800B receiver, ca. 1946, with 24 tubes, was the last of the Scott radios.
We told lies and war stories there for a while, but I realized my energy was fading by 10:30. With the good weather forecast, I anticipated a busier than usual Saturday with the usual 6 a.m. "soft start." The best part of this meet is the free camping, and I camp with most of the comforts of home. And the dogs just love all the fields around the pavilions.
There were no early announcements to wake me this year, so I was glad to have set an alarm for just after six. I looked around at the items for salefor a while, and finding nothing pressing to buy, I uncovered my table just before 7 a.m. Many dealers were still just opening, and a few were not yet there. So there was a large number of buyers walking around with cash obviously falling out of their pockets, and my table items began moving like the proverbial hotcakes.
I sold my Stromberg-Carlson 140L console and Crosley 170 cathedral quickly, and smaller items a bit later. Peter of the DVHRC offered me a Heathkit metered isolated Variac for a great price, which I later took him up on. This is the perfect device for firing up an old scary radio chassis for the first time.
I was looking through the Waves of NYC truck that had not yet been fully unloaded when I spotted an Airline 62-403. It had just a little water damage, but was otherwise very nice. This is a 13-tube Moviedial console, and a nice looking one with eye tube (most of theseMoviedialshave rather plain cabinets). For $200, I couldn't pass it up. I've done several high-end Silvertones recently, so I figure it's time for a Montgomery Ward model.
That pretty much completed my purchases for the day, though I did continue to sell small stuff off my table until late morning. One item remaining was a tin can of new loose transistors of early vintage. I donated it to the club for auction, after tearing off the $10 price tag. It later sold under fierce bidding for $57 -- go figure. This points out how even the lowball club auction does make people aware of items that they may have overlooked, and that can occasionally net high pricesagainst all tradition.
Almost every seller and buyer I spoke with had a fine day. I was happy to have both bought things and reduced my burden to take home. I started packing up in early afternoon. I watched about half the auction, but though a "Buy It Now" table had cut down the number of items, it still seemed likely to last until late afternoon as usual. Wasn't I surprised when it finished by 2:30 p.m., before I was even fully packed! Some streamlining by the club and the auctioneer had really paid off.
I was offereda visit to a club pal's Pocono retreat, and I had a great time there Saturday afternoon admiring the lovely stream and walking with the dogs in a big sunny field. I don't know exactly how I came to feel so at home 400 miles from home, but I've come to cherish Kutztown and all that it has brought into my life.
An Atwater Kent Model 9 breadboard, the desirable version with the Type 11 tuners, and an RCA Model 621TS television set await buyers.
Thanks a million to all the hardworking club members and others that make this event happen, and who make me feel so welcome. Remember the next Kutztown is September 19-20, 2008. More info can be found at www.dvhrc.org/kutztown/kutztown.htm.
As Mike Koste of DVHRC often says --"See you on the set!"
John Hagman is a Vermont "radio archeologist" with a talent (or weakness) for barn and basement-dwelling radio orphans. His specialty is AC high-end wooden sets 1930-1940.