EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for December 2001
(Copyright 1996-2001 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
In keeping with tradition, A.R.C.'s December issue has always had a "Tis the season to be jolly" tone, especially indicated by the cover. However, in the light of recent events, it hasn't been easy to strike a celebratory note, and there's no question that the mood of the nation this holiday season is more subdued than ever before. Nothing quite right jumped out of our files for our cover or lead article.
But then, we realized that radio collectors have something other than the holidays to celebrate this month -- the 100th anniversary of Marconi's transatlantic wireless message from England to Newfoundland on December 12, 1901. Though transatlantic cables had been the means of intercontinental communication for 35 years, Marconi's wireless transmission meant the beginning of a new era -- the era of radio.
Searching for the right theme, we were delighted that Michael Dalzell had proposed an article on a newly minted £2 coin -- the British way of recognizing the importance of Marconi's achievement. The article combines Michael's interest in both radio and coin collecting and provides information about Marconi's struggles to achieve his goal and about how to procure the commemorative coin.
There are three versions of the coin -- nickel-brass, silver, and gold. I could not resist any of them and can guarantee that all are beautiful -- especially the one in gold which is accompanied by a very good, hardcover book on the Marconi saga. Travelers to Britain will find it interesting to see the circulated version showing up in their change, but many of you may want to order the special uncirculated versions.
Just as Michael's article fell into place for the Marconi celebration, so too did staff member Bobby Lyman's late summer vacation on Nantucket. Bobby happened to notice the plaque honoring the first Marconi station in the U. S. at Siasconset, Nantucket. Her curiosity led to contact with the Nantucket Historical Association and permission to reprint a 1991 Historical Nantucket article on the Siasconset station.
Most interesting is the fact that a ship-to-shore transmission to Siasconset in August 1901 predated the Newfoundland contact in December of the same year. However, Marconi chose Newfoundland for the intercontinental trial because it is closer than a U.S. station would be to England.
To continue the Marconi celebration, Ray Bintliff has reviewed Marconi's Miracle by D.R. Tarrant, a book about the 1901 event, published in Newfoundland. To keep the roles of both sides of the Atlantic in view, Marconi Communications in Coventry, England, published Marconi's Atlantic Leap by historian Gordon Bussey, which accompanies the uncirculated gold commemorative coin. Both are popular press books intended for the general readership, and both are highly recommended.
Photo Review includes a wide variety of items ranging from a 1-tube Crosley Pup and an Amrad battery set of the 1920s to a 1948 TV and a 1950s auto radio. Radio had come a long way in that quarter of a century.
The Muchow auction followed by our coverage of the events of September 11 delayed our AWA Conference report by a month. In many ways, this was an outstanding meet, and those who attended had an enjoyable time. However, as we say in the report, while AWA looks for a new location in 2002, we hope that the conference's shortcomings will be overcome.
In both the flea market and the auction, desirable items appeared. The contest too had many interesting entries. The auction totaled $39,607, a respectable result, though down from last year's $48,656. Attendance was also down, and now that most of the hotel has become a dormitory, folks should stay tuned to see how AWA resolves the problems.
Another significant summer meet is the Michigan Antique Radio Club's Extravaganza, which was a success across the board, including good programs and an auction that totaled nearly $13,000. This flea market is particularly successful due perhaps to the rigorous restriction to Friday morning opening. Though registration is allowed on Thursday night, people seem to respect the rule against early opening. This is a weekend meet and thus encourages attendance, which was up 25 percent. AWA should take note.
Radio Miscellanea includes a response to my suggestions in our October report as to how the Muchow auction might have been handled better. A spirited exchange of ideas is always welcome in A.R.C. Comments on the AWA Conference are also included.
The Internet. Since the holidays are upon us, we urge you to take advantage of our new A.R.C. benefits: books shipped free by book rate to addresses in the U.S.; Discover and American Express added to Visa and MasterCard as acceptable credit cards; a new toll-free number, 866-371-0512; and a ten percent discount on all book orders for our qualifying subscribers. All should aid in easing your wish-list shopping.
Coming Radio Events. Over 30 meetings, swaps, and holiday parties will take place in the month of December. In addition, our "Mark Your Calendar" section lists another 46 events already scheduled for the year 2002, including some of the major annual meets. Start planning your travel schedules now!
Happy Collecting and Happy Holidays from all the A.R.C. team -- John, Dorothy, Cindie, Tammy, Bobby, Ray, Dave and Lisa!
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
Our cover shows the uncirculated £2 commemorative Marconi coin issued by the British Royal Mint on October 15, 2001. Designed by Royal Mint engraver Robert Evans, wireless waves are depicted emanating from the center portion and around the outer border. A series of dots for the letter "S" in Morse code heard by Marconi in 1901 radiate from the date. See our lead article for purchase information.