A.R.C. -- THE NATIONAL PUBLICATION FOR BUYERS AND SELLERS
OF OLD RADIOS AND RELATED ITEMS -- PUBLISHED MONTHLY
Ham Price Guide, By Eugene Rippen
REVIEWED BY RAY BINTLIFF, W1RY
From Antique Radio Classified
(Copyright 1997 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
There seems to be a growing interest in Amateur Radio equipment as witnessed by the recent publication of several collector's books dealing with that segment of the hobby. The Ham Price Guide by Eugene Rippen continues this trend. Collectors of radios built for home entertainment have a number of price guides available to them, including Marty and Sue Bunis' popular series. The ham community has not been as fortunate. Hence, Rippen's book is a welcome addition to the list of ham-related publications.
Preparing a price guide is a tricky feat at best, but Rippen lays down some definitive ground rules in his introduction and states that "The primary purpose of this book is that of a PRICE GUIDE. And it is just that, a guide to aid in determining prices at which goods may be sold." He points out that for most ham equipment the volume of sales of a particular model is not sufficient to determine a fair market value in the sense that "blue book" values can be established. Ham equipment is not sold in volume like automobiles. However, for a number of models with sufficient sales volume he does show what he calls "sound value estimates."
He also points out some of the factors that affect the value of an item and make it difficult to establish a precise value for a given model. These factors include appearance, operating condition, availability of a manual and original box, as well as mood and attitude of the buyer and seller.
WHAT'S IN WHAT'S NOT
First of all, it is important to understand what is not in the book. Unlike most price guides, there are no illustrations because of space limitations. The author does provide a list of pictorial guide books that can be used to supplement this price guide.
In addition to the obvious ham gear, the listings include test equipment, antennas, and other ham-related items. In terms of age, the listings range from a 1922 Paragon transmitter to contemporary items from such makers as Alinco, Astron, ICOM, Kenwood, MFJ, TEN-TEC and Yaesu.
Unlike most price guides, Rippen's book makes no attempt to integrate raw sales data to make an educated guess as to value. Some radio price guides show a single estimated value for a radio while others list a range of values. Rippen has taken a different approach by listing the raw data for each model and allowing the reader to determine value based upon the information provided in each listing. Some examples of this approach are discussed below.
The introduction defines the purpose of the book and how to use it. In addition to its useful introduction, this price guide consists of two sections. The first part is a columnar tabulation that is arranged in alphabetical order by the maker's name and lists the maker, a model name/number, a brief description, a price, the year of price, and a single-letter code to indicate if the line item listing represents an actual sale, an advertisement for sale or an offer to purchase (S, A or O).
Some examples of these listings may help in understanding his approach. There are eight priced entries for the Echophone Model EC1. Four entries are dated 1993, three of which are actual sales for $31, $55 and $60. Their respective conditions are listed as G, VG and G (Goodness is in the eye of the beholder). The other entry dated 1993 is an advertisement with a price of $65 but without a stated condition. For 1995, one entry is a sale for $10 with the notation "works, no BFO." The remaining three entries are advertisements from 1995 with prices and condition listed as $40, F, $65 with condition unspecified and $95, listed as G.
In short, what we have is a do-it-yourself price guide that provides a listing of transactions from which the reader can draw conclusions as to value.
This part of the book is arranged in two columns per page and contains 260 listings per page.
The second tabulation is arranged in alphanumeric order by model name/number and shows the maker's name for each listed model. This tabulation is useful in finding the maker's name if only the model is known. This cross-reference is arranged in a three-to-the-page columnar format with 366 listings per page.
Rippen uses abbreviations in the "Model" and "Description" columns to conserve space. He calls them "cryptics." However, many of these abbreviations are easily understood, and all are defined to assist the reader.
The price dates shown in the listings span the period from 1993 to 1995. And most listings appear to fall into the "A" or advertised category. A few listings do not include a price.
All of the well known manufacturers appear in the price guide along with some of the lesser known ones. As you might expect, Heathkit has more listings than any other company a confirmation of its success as a supplier of ham equipment.
The collection, organization and editing tasks associated with the production of this price guide seem formidable. The book contains more than 7,000 line items. But fortunately, someone has finally done it.
This 36-page book is softbound in the usual 8 1/2 x 11" format and is available from the publisher, Sound Values, P.O. Box 9, Auburn, CA 95604, A.R.C., and A.R.C. advertisers. Priced at $9.95, the Ham Price Guide deserves a place in your library. Be sure to check with the suppliers for ordering and shipping information.
(Ray Bintliff, 2 Powder Horn Lane, Acton, MA 01720)