EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for September 2004
(Copyright 1996-2004 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
As we go to press this month, the eyes of much
of the world are on Athens and the Olympics. Our
own focus on European auctions seems to tie into
that scene of extraordinary achievement. Collectors
following the European auction scene recently have
reason to be as excited about the offerings as Olympic
followers must be about the athletes they are championing.
In past years, I myself have greatly enjoyed
the Auction Team Köln auctions in Cologne,
Germany, and the National Vintage Communications Fair in
Birmingham, England. Though it's been a while since
my travel plans included Europe, three major auctions in
a 30-day period this year were almost irresistible. I
finally succumbed to the lure of the Bonhams' Morse to
Marconi auction in London, an event A.R.C. had
previewed in the May 2004 issue. London also offered
another temptation -- four antiquarian book fairs that were
not to be missed.
As on past trips, I also hoped to visit Gerald
Welles' museum, and the fact that he was hosting his
annual "Garden Party" seemed the perfect opportunity.
However, I was told that the party had been "overbooked"
-- a good sign of general interest, but not so good
for last minute foreign visitors.
I wish I could have included Paris and Cologne
in my trip, but then, my managing editor would
have asked, "Have you no restraint?" When it comes to
old radios, the answer has to be, "Not much."
The London auction was unusual in its
concentration on telegraph, both land and sea, with few
actual radio items offered. Reflecting on the whole event,
I have to conclude that it was disappointing in
that attendance was low and nearly one-half the items
were passed, including the two featured items. Still,
the telecommunications part of the auction yielded
significant proceeds -- $93,883.
The striking radios on our cover are an indication
of why the Sothebys Paris auction of the Pierre
Lescure collection was a major event. The wide variety of
Art Deco radios offered was impressive. Three
Hopalong Cassidy radios sold for $400 each, while
Emerson character radios like Mickey and Snow White,
numerous Catalins, and even a jukebox or two rounded
out this outstanding Americana collection, which
accounted for $410,450 of the $2,628,205 grand total.
A stand-out item was the Sparton Nocturne,
selling at the appropriate price of $58,344. I don't
remember ever seeing this set at auction before, and I
imagine that it caused quite a stir among bidders.
Past experience leaves me with no doubt that
the Cologne auction was exciting. This well-organized
technology auction included 84 mostly European
radios and TV sets, totaling $46,000 of the $350,000
grand total. The highlight was a 1960s "Space Age"
design TV, radio, tape deck console, selling for over $9,000.
Back on the home front, George Potter reminds
us that U.S. auctions need not take a back seat. He reports that the VRPS spring auction, which is
the smaller of the club's two auctions, still brought
over $19,000. Though none of the pricier sets usually
seen in the fall auction show up in this one, a solid
variety was in evidence, and the results were laudable. I
look forward to attending the club's 30th anniversary
celebration from November 12 to 14.
Photo Review offers two of many kinds of sets --
two battery sets, two sets from the 1930s and the
1950s, and two European crystal sets. One interesting
single item is a microphone in the guise of a telephone.
And incidentally, this issue is particularly
chock-full of photos -- a total of 52 photos of identifiable
radios spreads from the cover on through the articles
and Photo Review. These photos are a reminder of
the infinite variety of collectible items available to us today.
Photos often lead to more information surfacing
on a subject, as in the case of Geoff Shearer's
Crosley 2C1. Geoff writes about the response he received
to his request in the July 2003 Photo
Review for information that enabled him to restore his basketcase.
A.R.C. contacts do make a difference.
Contacts are also made through our Web site.
Barbara Levow responded to our Radio Row article on
the Web with a photo of her unusual birthday present --
a Cortlandt St. sign. You'll enjoy reading about her
memories of that historic area.
A.R.C. Benefits. Be sure to take advantage
of A.R.C.'s many benefits: a toll-free number (866)
371-0512; the Web: www.antiqueradio.com; Discover,
Visa, American Express, and MasterCard accepted;
books shipped free in the U.S. by book rate; and to
subscribers, a ten percent discount on all book orders.
Coming Radio Events: The September events
list includes 32 meetings, 7 swap meets, and 3
auctions for a total of 42 activities. For now, I'm off to
A.W.A. where I'm looking forward to seeing some of you.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Our cover photo, courtesy of Sothebys Paris,
shows what the auction house called an "array of rare
Catalin radios in eyepopping colors -- the tip of the iceberg
of the Pierre Lescure collection." Nine of the ten radios
in this photo sold and brought $75,000 of the
$385,000 total for radios and jukeboxes. Top row, left to right:
an Automatic Radio Co. Tom Thumb selling at $10,940;
a Fada L56, no sale; and an Air King 52 at
$13,127. Second row: Three Emerson BT245s selling at
$8,022, $4,084 and $2,334; and a Fada 115 Bullet at
$2,480. Third row: a Sparton Cloisonné selling at $9,043;
an Emerson BT245 at $5,251; and a Motorola 51X16
at $5,834. Bottom row: a Motorola 50XC selling at
$10,940 and a General Electric L622 Jewel Box at
$3,647. Thanks to Sothebys also for the photos included in
the report on this auction.