EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for December 2004
(Copyright 1996-2004 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
Here we are in the midst of the holiday season, and with it comes the usual mix of nostalgia and excitement. Collectors know a lot about both -- we're nostalgic about antique radios and find excitement in any aspect of their preservation, as well as in looking to the future of the hobby.
What might be one element of that future is suggested by our lead article. When you flip this page, for a minute you might think you're looking at a holiday gift catalog; instead, Richard Menta's spread about MP3 players will prod you into thinking that they might be one of the collectibles of the future. Who knows -- in 20 years or so, MP3s may become common on these pages. To follow Richard's line of thinking, you might go to his Web site at www.mp3newswire.net and also await Parts 2 and 3 of this series.
But if vintage MP3 players are not tops on your holiday gift list, it's back to more familiar ground -- the nostalgia of the past. Auctions allow us to indulge in a plethora of items from the good old days that are possible additions to our collections. Ray Chase's report on yet another Estes Auction reveals that items related to radio sometimes surface in quantity. In this auction, phonographs, music boxes, and especially jukeboxes brought solid prices. A case in point is the Wurlitzer Military Band Organ that went for $12,000, the top dollar in this auction.
When he can't cover an important auction, Ray keeps us all in mind, and tries to find coverage. Luckily, he did just that for the Smith Company auction of the William Fitch collection. Fellow New Jersey Club collector Lisa Starnes responded to Ray's request and did an outstanding job. Our thanks to both Ray and Lisa.
Like the Estes auction, the Fitch auction contained radio-related items that don't show up regularly in collections, such as quack/electro medical equipment. Especially strong were the microphone offerings, numbering more than 100. Though many were fairly common types, the RCA 77 in an aluminum case brought $1,650. How often do you get a chance to ballpark microphone prices in such quantity?
Auctions in general also offer multiple photos of interesting sets and displays, which sometimes provide a substitute for Photo Review. Take a look at the Bestone V-60 on page 23 and the Freshman Masterpiece on page 28 for examples of the interesting sets not often seen in flea markets or auctions. However, we will get back to publishing that popular section of the magazine soon, and we hope that you will continue to contribute to it.
Speaking of photos, Dave Hofeld's photo of RCA at Atlantic City has to jog the memory of someone out there. Above the awning is the caption, "RCA Victor Centralized Radio Exhibit." That must have been the target of many a tourist in the grand age of radio.
And how about Carl Sutton's piece of nostalgia in the form of an ad in a 1942 newspaper -- the Ironton Tribune of Ironton, Ohio? Once again we're thrown back to World War II when radios became very much a part of the war effort, and people were urged to put their old radios to good use by helping the troops.
That spirit of helping each other out prevails among radio collectors. An example is contained in Eugene Reed's Christmas restoration story, which reminds us of how a simple repair job can mean the world to someone else.
Another example is Dave Cantelon's article providing capacitor tips for beginners. When you're stuck in the midst of a repair job in the coming winter doldrums, consult Dave's article, or contact him as he suggests.
And just in case you're stuck for a last-minute gift, books are a good answer, either for a fellow collector, or why not yourself? It's hard to believe that John Slusser's Collector's Guide to Antique Radios is now in its sixth edition. As Dave Crocker's review says, this is the most comprehensive single-volume reference for collectors of old radios. It is the book most likely to be used as a guide, even by those who have only one radio to sell. So, you may want to bring your library up-to-date.
If British crystal sets are your thing, Howard Stone's enthusiastic review of Ian Sanders' second volume on British crystal sets of the 1920s will pique your interest. In particular, you will be impressed with the exceptional quality of the photos.
A.R.C. Benefits. Be sure to take advantage of A.R.C. benefits when ordering a subscription and/or books. Here they are: a toll-free number, (866) 371-0512; Discover, Visa, American Express, and MasterCard accepted; books shipped free in the U. S. by book rate; and for current subscribers, a ten percent discount on all book orders.
Coming Radio Events. Of the 33 events listed this month, four are holiday socials, four are swap meets, and three are auctions. No matter what the season, radio collectors have many ways to celebrate.
All of us wish all of you the best of holiday seasons and a safe and fruitful New Year.
John, Cindie, Dorothy, Pat,
Bobby, Ray and Dave
ON THE COVER
Our cover this month is a reproduction of a postcard from the John V. Terrey collection. In keeping with the nostalgia of the season, it depicts a family Christmas in the 1920s when a radio figured among the presents, along with the toys.
The date for next year's AWA Conference published in the November 2004 issue was given to us in error. The correct date is August 23-27, 2005.