Collector's Guide To Antique Radios, Sixth Edition
By John Slusser
Reviewed By Dave Crocker
It's here! After three years, the updated version of the most comprehensive, single-volume radio collector's guide is available, and it's about time! The many changes in our hobby in just the last few years have affected radio values. The current edition is up from 285 pages in 2001 to 320 pages for 2004, with lots more radio photos and more accurate prices.
When you're about to make a radio purchase, this is the book you have to open to finalize your decision. Most antique radio collectors have earlier editions of this guide, and unfortunately, if you're looking for a bargain, so do a lot of antique stores we frequent.
Keep in mind that prices quoted are just what the book title says -- it's simply a guide. And, the prices are for radios that are complete and in original condition, but not necessarily working, On the other hand, they could be made to play with a little work. Make no mistake, working sets are a plus! You can assume that the prices in this book are for radios with tubes. The exception is battery sets of the early 1920s which, when bought new, came without tubes and would be unlikely to have tubes now. This issue should be clarified before you buy an early battery set.
A little caution: when you are looking down the listing on a page, it may seem that a model number has been left out. If you check out the captions under each radio photograph, you'll usually find it there. Slusser states that not duplicating the photo description in the listing made room for more photos.
However, it is nice to see that Slusser has included a lot more photos of battery sets in his sixth edition. In particular, be sure to check out the beautiful pictures of the Scott radios, some of which are repeats from the last book, but awesome nonetheless.
Wishes? Not much, but I'd like to see the Atwater Kent breadboard section include Atwater Kent part numbers, such as 3925, 3945, etc. That would clear up the missing model numbers like 3 and 4. And how about the Atwater Kent crystal set?
For the most part, this whole series of price guides, right from Marty Bunis' first edition, has been a boon to collectors interested in identification and evaluation of radios of the 1930s and 1940s. This "Classic" era includes the beautifully crafted cathedrals, tombstones, and Catalins that are so prominent now. As for the new prices listed in this latest edition, well, some of my radios have gone up, and some have stabilized. Hardly any go down, but you'll never know until you get your own copy!
Collector's Guide To Antique Radios, Sixth Edition, by John Slusser is published by Collector Books. It has 320 pages in a softcover 8 1/2" x 11" format. Priced at $24.95, it is available from A.R.C and other book sellers.
(Dave Crocker, 35 Santuit Pond Rd., #4B, Mashpee, MA 02649)
The exclusion of photographed radios from the listing is a major flaw with the book. Since the photo is often not on the page on which you would expect the set to be listed, you must search the three or four pages before and the four or five pages after the place in the listing that you expected to find the radio. Only after looking through these additional pages, do you either find the radio or discover that it is not included in the book. For five editions of this book, it was easy to find radios or to discover that they were missing in the listing. Why change the policy? As is often said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" (Editor)