EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for May 2002
(Copyright 1996-2002 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
The season of heavy radio collecting activity is well underway. Whatever your focus -- club events, auctions, yard sales -- no doubt you've taken time to assess your collections. What additions or subtractions do you intend to make? Has your collection outgrown the space you have for display and storage? To this question, most of us will answer a resounding "yes."
This reality brings us to the subject of our lead article by Chris Watts about the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut. Our hats are off to Museum Director John Ellsworth and the many others who helped to bring this 12-year struggle for space to fruition. And what a space it is! An 85,000 square foot mill building, listed on the national historic register, that has untold potential for housing collections and offering educational opportunities.
Of course, we all know that a building isn't everything. It must be made safe, and then staffed and maintained. The Connecticut Museum has a long way to go before it is fully operative, and, as with all such enterprises, funding is essential. We hope that collectors will want to join this effort to bring many collections together in one place for all the world to enjoy.
In such a facility, viewers might see an extraordinary radio that really looks quite ordinary, like the Patterson 127. This radio is the subject of an article by Bill Moore and Hardy Trolander, who did a fine job of covering not only the technical features of the set, but also of looking into its marketing and the reasons for its scarcity in the U. S.
The Patterson reminds me of the more common Philco cathedral that I knew as a boy in my Texas childhood home. I remember using it to log stations for the Boy's Life shortwave listening contest.
"Vintage" is a key word in the world of collectors. Surrounded by vintage everything, we shouldn't be surprised to find an early telecom device with similarities to today's WebTV. Bill Horn recognized the AT&T Sceptre Videotex at a yard sale as a piece of vintage history. Though almost 20 years old, it worked when he plugged it in. Who can tell him more about this tantalizing device?
Longtime subscribers will be happy to see an old classified ad favorite on the Photo Review pages -- a Mitchell Lumitone. But even more intriguing are the oddities. Have you ever seen fingertip wrenches that enable you to use a screwdriver with the other hand? Or, how about a "Perfumatone" with three perfume bottles that pop up when the buttons on the radio are pushed? Wonders never cease, as the saying goes.
Auction reports take us round the world -- from Missouri to Vienna, to Down Under, and back to Ohio. E. Miller reported on the Jacobs and Kemper sale of two private collections in Columbia, Missouri. A Zenith for everyone seemed to be a theme of this auction which totaled around $15,000.
Our correspondent in Vienna, Erwin Macho, reports on a radio auction of only 38 catalogued items. Nevertheless, the auction totaled over $10,000. The top item was a Hornyphon selling at $733.
Richard Begbie's account of the first major 2-day National Radio/Phono Fest in Canberra, Australia, makes us aware of the fact that radio collectors are pretty much the same everywhere. Americans would have felt right at home at the flea market, auction, and banquet. No matter where they are, collectors like the one-on-one contact that meets allow.
Auctioneer Richard Estes always has radios somewhere on his agenda. The highlight of this one was a Marconi 106 that sold for $20,000. Obviously, the usual stars, like a Sparton Mirror and a glass-covered 3-dialer, couldn't compete with this price. The auction totaled $74,000.
These auction reports, and the others in our backlog file, prove that live auctions are alive and well. eBay has not drained all strength from the radio auction market, as people still look for the excitement and intensity of the real thing.
Radio Miscellanea reminds us of three coming events in the London area -- the June BVWS swap meet and museum viewing, as well as the National Vintage Communications Fair in May. I know from experience that the British really know how to conduct these affairs, and so I urge you to consider a spring trip to England. You'll see our editorial colleague Ray Bintliff there.
Other letters are feedback to articles. This kind of exchange is one of A.R.C.'s primary missions, and we appreciate your responses to the information you pick up in our pages.
A.R.C. Benefits. A toll-free number, 866-371-0512; Discover, American Express, Visa and MasterCard accepted; books shipped free in the U. S. by book rate; and for current subscribers, a ten percent discount on all book orders. Subscribers, remember you must request the discount when you order, and shipping must be to the address to which we send your magazine.
Coming Radio Events. Multiday events are the focus this month, with five of them spread out across the U. S. and Canada: May 4-5, the 6th annual Military Radio Collector's Group meeting in California; May 10-11, the IHRS annual spring meet in Indiana; May 16-18, Radioactivity in Maryland; May 17-18, Radio Daze in Minnesota; and May 19-20, the CVRS spring show in British Columbia.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Pictured on our cover is the old brick section of the 85,000 square foot mill building which will be the new home of the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut.This was perhaps the first stage of the building's history, built in 1870, with additions being made until 1920.