EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for April 2005
(Copyright 1996-2005 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
Whether it's entertainment, politics, fashion or, yes, collectibles, "in" and "out" are classifications often seen in various publications. Collectors of old radios can trace the in and out status of types and brands of radios over several decades. For example, battery sets were "in" as the latest technology in the 1920s, but obsolete a decade later. By the 1950s and 1960s, these sets had become very "in" as collectibles, and so the cycle of "in and out" goes on.
Today's collector often seeks out the set remembered from his childhood, many of which landed in junk yards or in the recycling drives of the war years. Now they are collectibles. That same collector may also be fascinated by the rapid advances in electronics from the 1950s through the 1990s and find that many products of those decades have also slipped into the collectible column.
Phil MacArthur's lead article in this issue is a case in point. The 1954 Regency TR-1 initiated the era of the transistor radio, and today the TR-1 is a prize possession of transistor radio collectors. Phil takes transistor sets into the 1960s when manufacturers packed as many transistors into a case as possible, not because they improved performance, but because they made the set more marketable.
In fact, some of the extra transistors were used as diodes, but the set was still marketed as a 10-, 12-, 14-, etc. transistor set. Though right now these multitransistor sets are the least collectible, Phil continues his search for them. Who knows -- tomorrow they may be "in."
In Part 2 of his series on MP3 portables, Richard Menta continues his defense of these sets as future collectibles. Though the manufacturers of these sets may still be around, the products themselves have been superseded by several generations of technological improvements. Perhaps in another decade, Richard's prophecy that these products of the 1990s have collecting promise will be validated.
Have Atwater Kent products ever been "out"? Their staying power among collectors seems confirmed by the success of Phil Steffora's website for the International Society of Atwater Kent Collectors.
Whether a set is "in" or "out," its owner must be concerned about its preservation. It's a comfort to know that there are people out there looking for ways to help along those lines. Bob Zimmer of Zim Electronics has developed a "soft-starter" to protect old sets from over-voltage and excessive inrush current. A.R.C. staff member Ray Bintliff has tested the product and found it very useful.
Photo Review is always a reminder of the wide range of collecting possibilities. The Mickey Mouse nite-lite radio is one for the more fun-seeking side of collecting. On the more serious side, for the hardcore superhet collector, there is a Leutz kit set, which is an example of beautiful workmanship.
And speaking of fun, Joseph Jackson, who usually passes up radio ephemera, succumbed to an interesting radio card game. A.R.C. staff thought we should borrow it for a lunch-hour diversion.
It's our good fortune that one source of Ray Chase's fun seems to be attending Estes auctions. We're told that only postcard shows might compete for his attention. This auction in August '04 combined the offerings of several sources, and Ray reports the total proceeds as just over $42,000. There were plenty of battery sets, military and Amateur equipment, tubes and parts, and 33 Zenith consoles, along with additional table models. However, the big money went to an Atwater Kent 3945 breadboard for $2,400.
Radio Miscellanea clearly indicates that readers pay close attention to articles and previous letters. There is more on the issue of eBay trading and on the subject of fixing IF transformers, as well as thanks for information on Camp Selby. The subject of model years is also opened up for discussion. We always appreciate any exchange of information on this page.
A.R.C. Benefits. Continue 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. Taking liberties with a song, we could say, "spring is bustin' out all over," if the number of radio events across the country are any indication. Meets, shows, and conventions total 17, while meetings and auctions add to the count. Be sure to get to at least one event in your area.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Our cover is a photo of a Sony Music Clip, one of the subjects of Richard Menta's article on MP3 portables. It is shown with headphones and a lanyard for carrying it around the neck. This set was a colossal failure because, though advertised as an MP3, it wouldn't play MP3 files, but only files in Sony's ATRAC3 format. Buyers felt cheated and soon lined up at the "Returns" counter.
Ray Chase has pointed out an error in his Estes auction report for July 17, 2004, which appeared in the March A.R.C. He placed the comma incorrectly and said the auction total was $46,00. We, in turn, moved the comma so that the number read $4,600. Both are wrong. The correct total is $46,000.