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

Antique Wireless Association
2010 World Convention Report
Rochester, New York -- August 17-21, 2010


Web Edition

The 49th Antique Wireless Association (AWA) World Conference was held at the RIT Inn and Conference Center in Rochester, New York, from August 17 to August 21, 2010. In order to accommodate the additional auction of the late Larry Babcock's collection, registration opened on Tuesday at noon, with a preview of the Babcock collection scheduled at 5:00 p.m. A separate report by Ray Chase on the Babcock auction held on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. follows this report.

Many of you will remember that Larry Babcock also contributed to these AWA reports in the past. Needless to say, we will miss his input in the future.

The convention themes this year included Midget Radios, Sylvania, and the 100th Anniversary of the Radio Club of America (RCA). This organization, which is totally separate from AWA, was founded by experimenters and inventors who were the pioneers in radio. The members who followed included a list of Who's Who in radio -- Goldsmith, Armstrong, Sarnoff, and many others. This RCA, of course, is not to be confused with the Radio Corporation of America.

Registration continued on Wednesday and Thursday, and the registration of 527 was up from 418 last year. In fact, the numbers in general were up from 2009: 137 flea market spaces sold, up from 115, and 147 banquet attendees, up from 104. However according to our tabulation, the auction generated $24,500 in sales, down from $28,000 in 2009.

proposed entrance to the new Antique Wireless Museum
The proposed entrance to the new Antique Wireless Museum resembles the Sparton Model 557 blue-mirror radio.

One mystifying factor was that although the number of flea market spaces sold was up, the number occupied after opening on Thursday was down. On your editor's annual tour that day at noon, I counted 82 actual setups. Last year the count was 111, and the year before, 88. Still, the popular big tent was full, and sellers and buyers enjoyed protection from the sun -- no rain this year -- and brisk sales.

Perhaps some didn't get around to setting up because there were too many other distractions, such as the Babcock auction the day before. (Some auction items appeared in the flea market.) Or perhaps the many excellent seminars, the quality of which is an AWA trademark, were hard to miss. Nevertheless, a lot of good items showed up in the flea market, as indicated by photos on these pages.

The well-attended seminars included such wide-ranging topics as "Macmillian and Don Mix" presented by John Dilks; "Little Midgets for Big Spies" by Bart Lee; "Alaskan Wireless Stations" by Morgan Blanchard; "Moonlight Restorations" by Marc Ellis; "The All Red Line" by Bob Murray and Bruce MacMillan; and "Lee de Forest, Inventor of Sound Movies" by Mike Adams. A "Pre-1912 and Electrical Apparatus Seminar" was moderated by Lauren Peckham and Felicia Kreuzer and featured a display of items shown by members.

The AWA Members Forum on Thursday morning focused on the AWA Museum project, which consists of three buildings on approximately three acres adjacent to Rt. 20. The museum was open for viewing on Wednesday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and anyone not familiar with the developing campus could roam the extensive property and get a sense of its progress. This ambitious project will, no doubt, be a few years in the developing stage, and fundraising is in the cards.

a table full of Federal sets
Jeffrey Wolford from Eric, Pa., had a table full of Federal sets. Front left, a Model 58 selling for $850; center front, a Model 57 for $750; right rear, a rare Model 161, with "gold" plated knob pointers and filled engraving, in a refinished cabinet for $1,100; and center rear, a Model 61 for $1,200.

The purpose of any radio museum, of course, is the preservation of radio history, as well to function as an educational tool. The education component is also a part of the conference where an old equipment contest is a featured event. You will see in this report photos of many interesting items in the contest, but very important always is the documentation that accompanies the entries.

An example in this contest was Eric Wenaas's RCA tube tester display which won both the People's Choice Award and the Display Award. Eric's careful research won't be a surprise to readers of his excellent book Radiola -- The Golden Age of RCA, 1919-1929.

Your editor was pleased to win two blue ribbons -- one for a Chicago Radio Lab Model PAR regenerative receiver with a Model AGN-2 3-tube detector/amplifier; the other, for a Cutting & Washington Model 11 receiver. Other exhibitors also were recognized, and all should be commended for the quality of their displays.

AWA too should be commended for its steady effort to make improvements in this major radio event. For one thing, opening it up to the general public encourages participation by younger potential collectors. As we all know, we must pass this amazing history on to the next generation. Unfortunately, this year the meet ended on Saturday, instead of Sunday when there is a better chance of a larger general public participation.

However, this may be due to hotel limitations, as became evident last year regarding the Book Fair's occupancy of the foyer. Unfortunately, last year's sellers had to strike and reset up their tables because of a hotel event Saturday evening. The good news this year was that the Book Fair had uninterrupted occupancy of the foyer, and there was much activity at the sold-out tables.

A good time was had by all in the tent on Wednesday evening at the "Beggar's Ball." Free pizza and a cash bar made for an evening of camaraderie and good radio talk. Live country music, including a slide guitar, meant that your editor could request Luckenbach Texas, a tune familiar to all Wayland and Willie fans.

Last year you may recall that AWA failed to schedule the annual Ladies Luncheon. The ladies rose in protest and had one anyway. Needless to say, the same mistake was not made twice, and 28 ladies enjoyed what was billed as "an upscale event" on Wednesday noon.

As mentioned earlier, the banquet too was well attended. It moved along well as hosted by AWA's able new executive director Bob Hobday. A representative of the Radio Club of America spoke about its activities encouraging Ham Radio for youth as a character-building enterprise -- certainly also still a viable goal in the interest of preserving radio history.

The Auction

The general auction closed out the convention activities on Saturday. One might have expected a low entry list and poor prices after the Larry Babcock auction on Wednesday, along with several days of flea market activity. Also, with the struggling economy and three prior days of buying, little money might have been left for this close-out event. But, such was not the case.

A total of 336 lots was entered for the Saturday sale, not too far off from previous auctions. Surprisingly, some very desirable items were included. To name a few: an unusual 3-tier tube display of most tubes, from 01-A up through most of the big pin tubes, for $275; a nice spherical Audion that was judged to be authentic for $775; a large Western Electric bipolar motor, for $1,300; a strange British H.W. Sullivan 1920 vintage receiver for $1,200; a very nice, seldom seen Northern Electric R11 superhet, for $700; several very good British crystal sets; a Pink-A-Tone set, for $575; a Mercury 10 tube superhet, for $500; and a restored rare Atwater Kent Model 50, for $1,500, to name just a few.

On the other hand, there were many good bargains to be had on the more common items. Buyers were very selective, and 48 of the 336 items went unsold when their sellers' reserve prices were not met.

This auction was conducted by Richard Estes with the same crew that toiled through the Wednesday auction. It also started at 9:00 a.m., but this time, stopped for a noon break, resumed at 1:00 p.m., and concluded at 2:10 p.m. The 288 lots that did get sold brought a total of about $24,500, not bad for the end of such a busy week.

Zenith pair
Steve Wallace had this Zenith pair for sale in the flea market. The Model 1R receiver and the Model 2M 2-step amplifier had a price tag of $2,300.
display of 3-tube, resistance coupled, audio amplifiers from 1925 and 1926 in the old equipment contest
Joe Knight entered this display of 3-tube, resistance coupled, audio amplifiers from 1925 and 1926 in the old equipment contest. The manufacturers, left to right, are Sonatron, Bradley-Amplifier, DeJur, Kelford, Daven, and Muter.

Abbreviations: vg=very good, g=good, f=fair, BB=brass-based, TT=tipped tube, gf=good fil, 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 non-specific descriptions are omitted. See print version or complete PDF for full auction listing.

Photos by Ray Chase, Richard Hurff and John Terrey.

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 Antique Wireless Association (AWA) publishes the "AWA Journal" quarterly, holds regional meets, as well as the annual national conference, and supports a museum. Dues are $20 (USA); $25 (elsewhere). P.O. Box 421, Bloomfield, NY 14469.

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.

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Last revised: November 15, 2010.

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