Collector's Guide to Antique Radios, 5th Ed.
By John Slusser and the Staff of Radio Daze
REVIEWED BY DICK DESJARLAIS
In 1987, the founders of the New England Antique Radio Club, Marty and Sue Bunis, published the first of a series of reference and price guides, entitled Collector's Guide to Antique Radios. By popular demand, other editions followed, with the fourth and last edition published in 1997. Those of us who still appreciate hard copy, as well as or in place of the Internet and CDs, longed for a fifth edition of the Bunis series.
Fortunately, this longing has now been fulfilled wth the publication of the fifth edition of the Collector's Guide to Antique Radios by John Slusser and his staff at Radio Daze. Although very similar in format to the earlier Bunis editions, the fifth edition adds more diversity with the inclusion of more photos and listings for battery radios and consoles. It also has a special section on E.H. Scott radios, featuring 28 listings and 20 photos.
The author's stated goal is "to provide the radio style (console, table, etc.), year of initial market introduction, case material (wood, plastic, etc.), an identifying description, the number of knobs, type of reception (AM broadcast band, FM, etc.), the number of tubes, and the type of power utilized (AC, battery, etc.) for each listing." Clearly, this book is intended to guide the reader in identifying old radios, as well as to provide current pricing information.
The author gives a candid and realistic explanation of pricing, and the price ranges represent an average of various pricing sources. Price ranges, as first utilized in the fourth edition, have been reviewed, and, where appropriate, updated to reflect current market values.
In the four year period from 1997 to 2001, most of the radios listed have experienced a modest increase in price, ranging usually from $25 to $50. Some examples include the Federal Model 110, increasing from $700-$750 to $750-$800; the Tuska 222, from $700-$800 to $750-$850; and the Guild Grafanola 785, from $125-$150 to $140-$170. The Sparton Model 557 Blue Mirror radio remained at $2,000 plus. The Zenith Model 12S232 "Walton" tombstone also remained unchanged, at $1,200-$1,300; but the Zenith 9S232 increased from $900-$1,000 to $1,000-$1,100. The Zenith Trans-Oceanic Model B-600 (6A40 chassis) increased from $75-$85 to $90-$120. A very few radios are listed at a lower value than in the fourth edition.
Typographical errors are hard to find, but one example worth noting is on page 161, where the Philco Model 18L is listed as Model "8L." A glossary of radio terms, especially suited to the novice collector, is presented at the beginning of the book.
All in all, this fifth edition is a worthy and welcome extension of the Bunis tradition.
"Collector's Guide to Antique Radios, 5th Edition" is available from A.R.C.; Collector Books, P.O. Box 3009, Paducah, KY 42002-3000; and other A.R.C. advertisers for $19.95. Be sure to check suppliers for shipping information.
(Dick Desjarlais, P.O. Box 690, Littleton, MA 01460)
"Collector's Guide to Antique Radios" is already a bestseller. Kudos to our staff for shipping out over 100 advance orders on the day that FedEx dropped the books at our door. (Editor)