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

Estes Auctions -- The Mark Stein Collection

Burbank, Ohio -- February 23, 2008


Web Edition

The February Estes auction promised to be a notable event because of the sale of the famed Mark Stein collection. However, attendance at an Estes auction during the winter months requires planning and a close watch on the weather. The forecast called for a winter storm to be passing east through Ohio and Pennsylvania between Thursday and Friday preceding the auction.

After consulting the weather gods (radar maps are great nowadays), we decided to leave New Jersey Thursday afternoon and hopefully let the storm pass us while we were snug in a motel somewhere, maybe half way through Pennsylvania. That worked out perfectly, as we hit our motel just as the snow started falling. We were able to complete our trek to Ohio, catching only the tail of the storm on Friday morning.

There are few if any radio collectors who do not know Mark Stein, at least through the many books and price guides that he has authored. He is also a regular at many radio conventions and swap meets. His collection was primarily 1930s and 1940s, AC-powered radios of famous designers, so the display of his collection was widely anticipated as an event not to be missed.

Another sample of the variety of sets offered in this auction
Another sample of the variety of sets offered in this auction -- Catalin and wood, cabinets in unusual designs from a wide range of manufacturers.

This was a large auction with probably 700 lots to be sold. The display on Friday was awesome, and yet because of space limitations, many display tables were three deep in radios. Here one could see dozens of truly rare and uncommon radios that probably would never again be seen together in one place. The viewing crowd on Friday afternoon/evening was particularly large with many new faces. This in spite of quite cold weather outside and the fact that the Expo Auction Center is not noted for having a very efficient heating system.

Majestic Park Model M886
One of the top dollar items in the auction was this Majestic Park Model M886. It sold for $4,750.

Since this was a highly personalized collection, there was not much in battery sets, Ham gear, military equipment, or books and paper. A great percentage of Mark's radios were wood table or consoles, yet there were still over 125 plastic radios of all types present. However, some consignors brought in battery sets on Saturday morning, probably intent on taking advantage of the hype about this collection. Still battery sets seemed not to draw as well as they might have during this auction.

Clearly most buyers were here for the "pretty" stuff. And pretty it was truly "eye candy" for those who were looking for radios that represented the best of many design genres. It appeared that more attention had been placed on the appearance of the radios than on their ability to function. This was only my opinion after peering into the innards of quite a few of the radios, although I could be mistaken since the working condition of the sets was not listed. Richard Estes had gone to great lengths to provide many pictures on the Estes website and to include a catalog of many of the sets in advertisements.

On Saturday, as is the usual format, a low value auction preceded the main auction at 9:00 a.m. There was little of note in this sale, and I recorded only one or two items. The number of bidders on Saturday was well over 100, and during the sale, quite a few "left bids" (bids left by absentee bidders) were exercised, as well as a few phone bids. I stopped recording at 4:30 p.m. as the crowd dwindled. There were still quite a few large tube lots to be processed at that time. It should be noted that there are large quantities of collector and repair tubes at these auctions. Over 60 lots were sold on this date, not counting the unrecorded bulk box lots.

interior view of the Majestic M886
This interior view of the Majestic M886 shows its chassis and large speaker.
Emerson AZ-196
Emerson BD-197
An interesting pair with similar conical dials: the Emerson AZ-196 on the top sold for $450, while the Emerson BD-197 "Mae West" on the bottom sold for $4,100.

The final sale realized over $132,000 not counting the five percent buyers premium charged. The detailed price list also does not include this premium or taxes as applicable. All in all, a very exciting day, one that many radio collectors will not forget for quite a while. 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.

Majestic Model 174
A Majestic Model 174, this big tombstone has a large chrome grille decoration and Art Deco styling. In very good condition, it brought $1,600.
side view of the Majestic 174
A side view of the Majestic 174 shows its elaborate timer.

e=excellent, vg=very good, g=good, f=fair, p=poor, unk=unknown condition, N.I.B.=new in box, N.O.S.=new old stock, wk=working, nwk=not working, WT=with tubes, NT=no tubes, BB=brass-based, TT=tipped tube, gf=good fil, 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 non-specific descriptions are omitted

Aircastle Diamond Jubilee
This Aircastle Diamond Jubilee was the top dollar item in the auction and sold for $5,000. It includes a mechanically-operated digital clock.
Silver BC/SW radio
Another different cabinet style, this Silver BC/SW radio is housed in a round cabinet. In very good condition, it sold for $625.

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.

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