EDITOR'S COMMENTSFrom Antique Radio Classified for March 2009
(Copyright 1996-2009 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
What's "old" in your personal radio lexicon? Maybe it's nothing after 1950. But, maybe you've made a few concessions to the 1960s. If not, it may be time to reconsider your age categorizations because radios of the late 1960s and 1970s are coming increasingly into play as "old" and collectible.
In our lead article, Andrew Hayden offers two RadioShack Realistic sets as examples. The 1968 FM Concertmaster tabletop with its oiled walnut veneer cabinet has a clean, modern look. It was designed to compete at a lower price with other nearly hi-fi-delivery tabletops, such as the KLH Model 21 and the Scott Model 100. According to Andrew, this FM-only set holds up very well in the competition for over-all fidelity with other more highly regarded sets.
The Realistic Patrolman 9, a 9-band portable, was designed to compete with the Zenith Trans-Oceanic 7000 Series. It joined other look-alikes in the competition of the 1970s. All in all, Andrew reminds us of the popularity of the Realistic brand right up to the 1990s. Maybe rethinking our definition of "old" will take us farther into the 20th century than we imagined possible.
However, "older" or even "very old" is still the most exciting part of the collecting experience for many. Alan Douglas reports on a little-known company, the Boston Scale & Machine Co., and its scarce product, the Type 105 receiving tuner. This 1920s set was lifted from obscurity to collectible status when it appeared years ago in Morgan McMahon's Vintage Radio on page 117, and I feel fortunate to have one in my own collection.
Alan's story has the interesting angle of showing how one collector often comes to the aid of another with a surprising result. Alan loaned his Type 105 to Richard Foster who used it as a model in restoring his set, which was in very poor condition. Richard's restored set challenges Alan's set in that the two are virtually indistinguishable in the photo. Another plus for radio preservation!
In the same spirit of helping out a friend -- in this case, with cleaning out an attic -- Dave Crocker was rewarded with an Amrad 3366 crystal receiver. This set would certainly fall into the "old treasure" category. But, an even more important aspect of finding it in pristine condition in a half-opened box was the ease of determining that it is original and unmodified -- and that includes the crystal detector as well.
Usually, a find of any kind can present many challenges -- how many parts have been lost, damaged, or replaced; how many versions did the manufacturer make; how many reproduction parts are out there, and so on. Luckily, Dave's Amrad had none of these issues.
It's also possible that Amrad made several versions of the crystal detector. In fact, Dave's Amrad triggered a memory of an Amrad receiver in my collection that I believe is authentic, and I added a photo of the detector to the article. There could be several additional versions out there, and perhaps someone will contribute an article to expand on this topic. As we all know, "the devil is in the details," and we always welcome more of those.
We also always welcome the auction reports that keep us informed about the ever changing marketplace and allow us to present many photos of the unusual items that show up at these events. So it is with Dale Boyce's Part 2 of the Estes auction of the Dick Bury collection. You won't want to miss the photos of the Globe 2-tube amp, the large Western Electric loop antenna, and Radio Rex in his doghouse, always good for a chuckle from guests.
The top item in this auction was a Marconi 106B (or 106C) selling at $5,000, a lower price than might be expected. Here again the question of originality comes into play, as there was some question about non-factory modifications on this set. Nevertheless, the proceeds of this auction totaled a solid $78,000.
As we go to press with this issue, we look forward this weekend to seeing many of you at the Radio XL Meet in Westford, Massachusetts, which A.R.C. manages annually. If you weren't able to make it this year, we hope you will plan for next February on President's Day weekend. Folks say it's the major New England meet of every winter and not to be missed.
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: Winter activities are a way to beat the weather with warm gatherings. Listed this month are 29 meetings, 8 meets, and 2 auctions. Be sure to join in the good times.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
The tube on our cover is called a VacObuB, obviously a manufacturer's amusing play on words to promote sales. According to tube expert Ludwell Sibley, this tube is quite consistent with the Standard Radio Light Co., New York, N.Y., VacObuB and cardboard packing canister shown on page 97 of George F. Fathauer's Radio Tubes and Boxes of the 1920s. The tube sold for $95 as a display tube in the Bury auction reported by Dale Boyce, who also contributed the photo.