EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for January 2007
(Copyright 1996-2007 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
In this issue, we present our special coverage of two major collector events of 2006 -- the Antique Radio Club of Illinois (ARCI) Radiofest and the Antique Wireless Association (AWA) Conference. As we look back on these successes of the old year, the beginning of a new year prompts us to look ahead with confidence in the survival of this avocation of ours. The longevity of such events gives us hope for 2007 and beyond. After all, they are basic to achieving our common goal -- the preservation of antique radios.
Though there is a definite overlap in coverage by these two events, AWA draws largely from the eastern two-thirds of the U. S., plus foreign collectors, while Radiofest attracts collectors from the western two-thirds of the country. Both events have recognized the changing times and have shifted their opening day from Wednesday to Thursday, making the schedule somewhat easier for work and travel arrangements. Both continue to have outstanding contests, seminars, flea markets, and banquets.
Over the past five years, Radiofest has been particularly adaptable to change, even moving its venue. The real key to its success is the fact that its flea market is open to everyone, not just to club members. What better way to encourage new interest and new membership?
The Radiofest flea market offers the general public the opportunity to shop and view what our radio world is all about. This year, many visitors took advantage of free appraisals and were impressed by the special event operation of Amateur radio station AR9CI. And to encourage the next generation of collectors, Radiofest welcomed about 30 Boy Scouts who earned merit badges in "Radio" and "Collections."
Another major difference between Radiofest and AWA is the size of the auction. The Radiofest auction has diminished in importance over the years. However, its donation auction is a hit event, and a nice plus for the club's coffers.
On the other hand, AWA's auction is still very significant, and this year it was conducted by auctioneer Richard Estes. Some highlights were a DeForest spherical Audion selling at $1,100, a WE 4D receiver at $1,950, and a Grebe RORD detector/amplifier at $1,400. Total proceeds were approximately $38,000.
At first glance, the price of a Hallicrafters SX-115 selling at $1,800 might be considered out of line. However, the set sold originally in the early 1960s at a premium price of $600 -- one of Hallicrafters "last hurrahs," according to reporter Ray Chase. Considering that a near mint SX-115 doesn't appear on the block very often, we have to conclude that the price wasn't too far off the mark.
Although the AWA Conference is still the largest meet in the country, unfortunately, it is close to losing that status. In 2006, registered attendees totaled only 400, down from 981 in 2001. As an example of what's happening at other meets around the country, the paid attendance at the February 2006, one-day Radio XXXVII in Westford, Massachusetts, was 453 -- including family members, the total attendance was 725.
AWA's attendance has dropped, largely, we contend, because the conference is open only to members. Unfortunately, "walk-ins" are required to join AWA for $20, in addition to paying the $29 conference fee, even though they may only want to walk around the flea market. These charges are a serious disincentive to the person with a casual interest in radio who could potentially turn into a real radio aficionado.
Of course, in addition to the auction, there is still much to enjoy at AWA -- the wonderful contest entries, the presentations by members who are "gifted in historical knowledge," as Ray Chase puts it, and the camaraderie. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this year, a rare happening for me, but A.R.C. was represented by Bobby Lyman at our booth, and we're grateful to Ray Chase for his detailed report.
Several interesting items are pictured in Photo Review this month. The two speakers are unusual in that the Franklin is made of carved wood, while the Majestic is made of celluloid. The Casa Montes crystal set is unusual in more ways than one, not the least of which is that it was manufactured in Spain. But surely of all the items on these pages, the "Little Squirt" crystal set takes the prize.
One of the great things about antique radio collectors is their willingness to share information. Radio Miscellanea includes tips about restoration and sources of covered wire, as well as the availability of a GE video with TV emphasis. And once again we're reminded by readers of the need to watch out for fraud. As more and more people have access to e-mail, the danger of being victimized increases.
A.R.C. Benefits. Be sure to take advantage of A.R.C. benefits: a toll-free number (866) 371-0512; Discover, MasterCard, American Express, Visa accepted; the Web, www.antiqueradio.com; books shipped free in the U. S. by USPS media mail; and for current subscribers, a 10 percent discount on all book orders.
Coming Radio Events. Reading about the wonderful events in this issue should get you moving to at least one of the 37 listed in this month's calendar. Joining in the good times at these events should start your new year right.
Happy Collecting and Happy New Year!
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
The Lyric Mohawk/All American Model C-6 on our cover was Bob Sands's first place winner in the old equipment contest at Radiofest. Photo credit goes to Daniel Schoo. The set was also a first place winner at the IHRS spring meet in May 2006, which was reported in our December 2006 issue.