EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for September 2001
(Copyright 1996-2001 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
The anticipation of the past year reached its zenith at last. The Ralph Muchow estate auction has become history, and to say that it was a success would certainly be an understatement. More than 300 collectors came to lay over a million dollars on the table for the enrichment of their own collections. The numbers speak for themselves -- 177 items exceeded $1,000, 15 of which brought $10,000 or more. This auction will be the talk of the radio community for a long time to come.
These collectors also came just to view Dr. Muchow's legacy -- a meticulously maintained collection that was his contribution to the preservation of radio history. He would have been pleased to know that his efforts were much admired and valued. We could do no less than give you a preview in this issue of the proceedings of the 3-day event, with a promise of a definitive report next month.
Some have criticized the frequency of auctions appearing on our pages; however, there is no question that auctions are where the action is. The interest in the Muchow auction and in auctions by Estes, Harris, eBay, and at meets makes it obvious that auctions will continue to play a significant role in antique radio collecting.
But, without intrepid reporters like Ray Chase, and his wife Edith, who recorded 68 pages of listings, we would be unable to report fully on these events. Edith, incidentally, is the perfect "radio-wife." Not only does she spell Ray in note-taking, but she also supplies him with sustenance as he pursues their joint task. Our sincere thanks to them for the excerpts presented in this issue and the complete report to come.
An unexpected connection to the Muchow auction became evident when Dave Crocker contributed an article about a recent find -- a Western Electric CW-936. A similar set sold in the Muchow auction for $7,000. Finding two such sets in almost complete condition is certainly unusual and worth noting.
Articles sometimes just evolve over a long period -- a bit like Art Kingsley's elongated radio. A year ago at the annual AWA Conference in Rochester, New York, I happened to meet Art, and he showed me a photo of his 20-foot long radio. The photo corroborated what might otherwise have sounded like what we used to call a "fish story." There it was -- all 20 feet -- with its creator at the helm. It was obvious that a significant story was in the offing, and Art agreed to tell it in an A.R.C. article.
Photo Review this month triggered a bit of personal nostalgia. The "foxhole" crystal set repro made with razor blades and pencil lead reminded me of a similar project I had undertaken at about age eleven. How many others out there also spent their childhood leisure hours jamming razor blades into wood and whittling pencils down to the lead in order to listen to local radio stations in the wee hours of the morning?
Although the Houston Vintage Radio Association did not provide us with a report on its nearly $20,000 auction, we were able to put together an account from its club publication and Web site. An interesting aside is that this convention was an excellent example of club collaboration. George Potter, active in the Dallas VRPS and faithful reporter of their auctions for A.R.C., presented a seminar on his extensive display of De Forest receivers.
Even short reports are valuable. Anthony Patti sent an account of the Mapes Gallery auction of the Al Battison estate. This auction house in Vestal, New York, is worth watching for announcements about the inclusion of radios in future auctions.
The excitement about John Slusser's publication of the fifth edition of the Collector's Guide to Antique Radios prompted last month's cover. We then asked Dick Desjarlais to review the book, which has 40 more pages and describes and prices 9,000 models. All new photos added to Dick's enthusiasm for the book.
Obtaining a quality replacement for grille cloth is problem enough, but when the surface to be covered is curved, most of us are in trouble. Ted Rogers attacked the problem and won the battle. He shares with us a step-by-step process with clear illustrations -- the kind of repair article we all appreciate.
Radio Miscellanea provides corrections by careful readers -- welcome input that improves the accuracy of our reports. We're also glad to report that antique radio has become a theme even for B & B's.
The Internet. There's always more to see on our Web site. We like to think it is a reliable source of information about the activities of the world of antique radio collectors.
Coming Radio Events. The fall radio season is upon us, with over 50 meets scheduled for this month. Not-to-be-missed is the annual AWA Conference in Rochester, New York. Other events include the Military Radio Collector's Association annual meet in Tobyhanna, Pa.; the Southeastern Antique Radio Society's Swap Meet in Alpharetta, Ga.; the A.E.A. event in France; the National Vintage Communication Fair in England; and the Australian Radio/Phono Fest. There's a world of collecting out there -- join in!
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Our cover features a World War I Western Electric CW-936 radio telephone system, found recently by Dave Crocker. The system includes the following, clockwise: transmitter/receiver, horn speaker, dynamotors, headphones, microphone with holder, amplifier, and transmit/receive switch. The two units were found in the original crates. The set is similar to one in the Muchow auction and is the subject of Dave's article in this issue.
Here is a medium-size version of this month's cover!
Here is a large version of this month's cover!