EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for October 2001
(Copyright 1996-2001 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
On September 11, just as we were rushing to get this issue to press, all American lives suddenly changed forever. The importance of our work paled at the magnitude of the horrific events unfolding in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania. Being near Boston, where two of the flights originated somehow made the tragedy more poignant. We cannot know how many of our collecting community have been affected personally, but we can join with you all in the national mourning.
Many of us know from firsthand experience that life must and does go on in the wake of even the most tragic event. Still, in the light of such recent evil, the work that we do in preserving the radios that contributed so much good to the world becomes more meaningful. That work is epitomized by the contribution of Dr. Ralph Muchow whose collection is the subject of this issue.
Collectors from all over the world are now "carrying the torch" for Dr. Muchow, a devoted fellow collector of antique radios. The Muchow family gave us the opportunity at the recent auction in Elgin, Illinois, to see and to buy equipment of such quality and quantity that we may never see its like again gathered in one place. Now it's our job to preserve these sets as Dr. Muchow did.
This unique opportunity has led to our choice of devoting almost the entire October issue to reporting on the auction results. For some of you, this report may not be of particular interest. However, we believe that there can be value in such a report, even to those who do not have large collections. First, it gives an example of prices in a particular snapshot of time, and it includes photos of some sets never before pictured in A.R.C. It also may give us pause to reflect on what to do with our own collections when the time comes to pass them on to the wider collecting community.
Of course, we also present a report on Radiofest XX, which was somewhat overshadowed by the Muchow auction that followed. Nevertheless, Ralph Muchow was a pillar of the Antique Radio Club of Illinois and his museum was always a highlight of the Radiofest annual event. Thus, his family concluded that combining the auction of his treasures with Radiofest was an appropriate choice.
The flea market and excellent contest at Radiofest reminds us that such meets going on all over the country are the backbone of our avocation. Though the "tumult and the shouting dies," as the Kipling poem goes, and the Muchow auction is a thing of the past, meets like Radiofest live on. We will enjoy them for years to come, if we remain faithful to what Steve Muchow has said was his father's philosophy -- that we are all "temporary caretakers of these historical artifacts."
As Steve also said in our June issue, Ralph Muchow realized that his collection was a family affair. He could not have done what he did without the cooperation of family and friends. It was a striking picture to see the Muchow family in the front row throughout the auction.
They must have viewed the proceedings with very mixed feelings. What was paraded before their eyes was a life's work in which they were heavily involved, almost every set having a memory attached.
On the other hand, for them, there would be no more heavy lifting, constant dusting, and weekend shelf building. Life would no longer revolve around radios. Indicative of their decision to divest was the fact that even the model built by son David, as well as the prize ribbons, were sold with the sets. As collectors, we thank them for their part in the caretaking and for their cooperation in reporting the preparations for the event.
Auctioneer Richard Estes asked A.R.C. to be the official reporter of the event, and we have done our best to be as accurate as possible. I, for one, did not dream that the task would be as complex as it has been.
The A.R.C. staff has spent the better part of two weeks going over figures and comparing reports from Estes Auctions, Ray and Edith Chase, Ludwell Sibley, Jerry Vanicek, Randy Renne, and me. We have received hundreds of photos from five contributors, and preparing them for publication was another large job. Proofing, layout, all the tasks related to publication were compounded by the size of this auction, which certainly equaled at least five normal auctions. To all those reporters and contributors, we extend our sincere thanks.
New at A.R.C. With the holidays coming all too soon, you'll want to check out our new A.R.C. benefits. Alert everyone acquainted with your wish list to the fact that all books will now be shipped free by book rate to addresses in the U. S. Also we now accept Discover and American Express, as well as Visa and MasterCard. You folks calling from afar will no doubt find our new toll-free number a plus: 866-371-0512. Be sure to try it soon.
Coming Radio Events. Over 50 meets are scheduled for the month of October. The weekend of October 13 and 14 brings three fall meets: the IHRS Fall Foliage Meet ; the OKVRC Fall Swap Meet; and the MAARC Fall Picnic Meet. The Carolinas Chapter of the AWA is hosting its annual fall swap meet on October 27. Also on October 27, stop by A.R.C.'s table at the NEARC's swap meet to say, "hi."
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
The cover is a free-standing advertising piece for which your editor was lucky enough to place the winning bid at the Muchow auction. The piece is 3-dimensional with cutout figures depicting a family in the foreground listening to a concert on their Atwater Kent set. The concert stage is pictured in three tiers behind them: first, the four soloists; second, the orchestra; and finally, against the back wall, the organist. This was only one of the unique offerings in the paper and advertising section of the auction.