EDITOR'S COMMENTSFrom Antique Radio Classified for September 2008
(Copyright 1996-2008 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
When the collection of someone who has compiled antique radio information in many books goes on the auction block, the collecting community sits up and takes notice. So it was with the crowd of avid collectors attending the February Estes auction of the collection of Mark Stein, well-known author of eight radio reference books.
Frigid temperatures and a threatened snow storm were no deterrents because here was an opportunity to see -- maybe even buy -- sets collectors had seen pictured in the Stein books on their shelves for years. Stein's Machine Age to Jet Age 4-volume series on tabletop sets, no longer in print, are staples in many collections. Of the four other Stein books, three are also out of print, but we still have all four remaining in our stock.
We find these and other reference books useful in editing articles and auction reports. Mark Stein's photos are often helpful in identifying a set or providing a model number, but, if you are interested in a particular value, referring to several price guides is always wise.
An example in this very auction is the Majestic "Park Ave." console, which Stein values in his Pre-War Consoles at $7,500, but which sold for $4,750 in this auction. The same set in another price guide is valued from $720 to $960. Guides are just that -- guides to recent action in the marketplace, not fixed price lists. It pays to take what they say into account and then show up when important collections are auctioned. You may be lucky.
Sometimes a bit of luck is involved in a purchase that turns out to be something other than expected. Instead of the Zenith Y832 tabletop he thought he had bought, Andrew Hayden opened the chassis and found markings labeling it a Model 6Y61B. Furthermore, it is not AM/FM, but AM plus shortwave. The reference books don't help on this one, but maybe other collectors can. Andrew's find illustrates one of the pleasures of collecting -- unearthing a mystery and pursuing its history.
Alan McChesney is certainly into equipment mysteries. Of course, what appears to be a robot/analog computer with dials like a circular slide rule is not a radio. But, I still couldn't resist doing a little research on the robot -- it is a Japanese toy named "Flashy Jim." Perhaps others out there have more to add to Alan's research on this interesting unit.
Obviously a radio historian, Alan also offers in another short piece a comparison of three sets using the same cabinet, but different knobs and escutcheons -- a CRC Radio Co. "King" pictured in the January 2008 "Photo Review," his own Steinite, and an Aero 4-tube Midget shown in a 1933 ad. There's always a new angle to be pursued in radio history, and so often we have to conclude that there's no single answer,
It occurred to me that those of us who have been collectors dedicated to the preservation of radio history for decades have personal stories worthy of inclusion in the grand story of radio. Pete Gray, a new subscriber to A.R.C. at age 93, has such a compelling story that his local newspaper in Albany, Oregon, decided to feature his long "Life in Radio." We're happy to reprint that story and only wish that Pete had found us years ago. However, we look forward to connecting him to the wider radio collecting community from now on.
Another longtime radio story has yet to be told. Our fellow staff member Ray Bintliff will get around to that someday, but meantime, we rely on him to report on radio topics of all shapes and sizes. As a serious repairman, Ray encounters many bizarre problems. This time he warns of the danger of a mistake in choosing a replacement for an item as simple as a screw. The result could be a hot time in your old workshop.
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. Moving into fall, we look forward to as many events as possible, always with an eye to the shorter days and colder temperatures ahead. The list this month includes 6 auction, 9 meets, and 29 meetings.
As we go to press this month, we are preparing to travel to upstate New York for the annual AWA Conference, August 20-23. The theme of "International Radio" promises a wide range of interesting sets on display, as well as seminars on radio history in Europe, Canada, and Ireland. Hope to see many of you there.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Two unusual tabletop sets from the Estes Auction of the Mark Stein collection are featured on our cover: Top, a Stewart-Warner Companion mantel set with gold trim, which sold for $900; bottom, a Cord Silver radio with a mirrored front and marine motif, which sold for $600. Photos are by Ray Chase.