Estes Auctions -- Deeley Collection
Burbank, Ohio -- April 22, 2006
REPORTED BY RAY AND EDITH CHASE
Ray and Edith Chase report on a very significant auction of early broadcast and wireless items -- the Dexter Deeley collection. Since Dexter's collection paralleled my own interest, the event was a "must attend" for me. I have augmented Ray and Edith's photos with some I took at the event. And, yes, I did acquire a set or two for my collection. (Editor)
The April 2006 Estes auction dealt primarily with the collection of Dexter Deeley from Lake Lure, North Carolina. It had been much anticipated by the radio collecting fraternity who were familiar with its depth and quality. Dexter was a long time officer of the AWA and had spent 50 years amassing an outstanding radio collection. He felt that it was time to share his collection with others; hence, this well publicized auction.
The collection of Grebe receivers was truly outstanding, and this was reflected in the prices realized. The entire auction brought in over $200,000, and the 19 Grebe sets accounted for a little over $58,000 of that total. An early Grebe CR-6 sold for $25,000 while an early CR-5 yielded a sale price of $10,000. One reason for the excitement was the excellent condition of the sets, as well as the fact that these particular Grebes were early versions with front panel rheostats. Most other Deeley radios in the auction were exceptionally clean and in fine condition, and most of the Ham gear included operating manuals.
Adding to the excitement were nearly 50 crystal sets, some of which fell into the rare category. Also included were quite a few really nice console radios, many excellent Ham sets, lots of nice 1930s wood radios, and other early radios by Atwater Kent, DeForest, Kennedy, Western Electric and others. Truly a high-end sale, and if you had a yen to add significant pieces to your collection, this was the place to be.
Even the test equipment collectors were accommodated, as there were many Jewell test sets that are seldom seen. A very early German glass enclosed lab instrument was another rare item. There was a fine collection of books and ephemera as well, but that was sold by "choice" and I could not track the prices realized. A side auction of nice advertising signs and posters was held about mid-morning. Unfortunately I could not record the results.
There was a minimum of box lots and low value items this time, but the tubes offered for sale were plentiful and interesting. A single wing spherical Audion received a great deal of detailed inspection, and although it was reported to be original, most experts were dubious as to its origin, and it was sold as questionable for $200. For the phonograph collectors there was a goodly number of cylinder phonographs and parts. A very special Capital disc phonograph built into a table lamp complete with frilled shade sold for $1,600.
The weather on Friday was threatening and a violent cloudburst occurred during the evening viewing. This area of Ohio had experienced a severe week of rain with some flooding, so pessimism was the operative word regarding the weather. Some additions to the auction were still being received on Friday evening, but none came in Saturday morning. Saturday began cloudy and threatening, but soon the sun came out, and the day turned out to be excellent.
A rare sight at auction -- all four RCA/Westinghouse units which were advertised by RCA as the "Super Selective Combination." Left to right, the AR radio frequency amplifier; the RT antenna coupler; the DA detector/amplifier; and the RA regenerative tuner. They sold for $725, $1,000, $275 and $125 respectively.
Richard Estes taking a bid from the room.
I tabulated 643 lots but could not cover any side auctions of advertising items or box lots, as well as the books and ephemera sold by choice. I stopped recording at 5:30 p.m., while the auction continued on until about 6:10 p.m.
The total sale price of my listing is $193,662, but that does not include the sales that I missed or the 5 percent buyers premium charged at this location. This is also true of all the tabulated prices and any prices quoted above.
There was a good crowd of buyers in attendance as would be expected at such an important sale and many went home with new prized possessions. Even if you did not get to take anything home, it was a pleasure to see and touch this fine collection of radio history. Such is the unique draw and experience of these Estes auctions.
e=excellent, vg=very good, g=good, f=fair, p=poor, unk=unknown condition, N.O.S.=new old stock, N.I.B.= new in box, gf= good fil, 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, 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. See print version of A.R.C. for complete auction listing.
Photos by Ray and Edith Chase and John Terrey
(Ray Chase, 1350 Marlborough Ave., Plainfield, NJ 07060; Estes Auctions, 7404 Ryan Rd., Medina, OH 44256; (888) 769-4992; email@example.com)
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.
The early version of the Grebe Model CR-6 attracted the top bid in the auction $25,000. Any CR-6 is rare, but the version with the exposed rheostat windings put this item in the super-rare category. The photos above show the Grebe being shown to the bidders, plus front panel and inside views.
This rare RCA/GE ER-753 sold for $1,500.
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.