Antique Radio Club of Illinois
Elgin, Illinois August 4-6, 2000
REPORTED BY JOHN V. TERREY AND THE ARCI
Web Edition - See Complete Auction Listing
And More Photos In Print Edition
The Antique Radio Club of Illinois (ARCI) held its Radiofest XIX from August 4 to 6, 2000, at the Ramada Inn, Elgin, Illinois. The weather cooperated in that it was pleasant for the peak flea market times, and thunderstorms hit only during the indoor auction hours. Attendees represented the entire country -- from New England and Florida to Arizona and the West Coast. In addition to representatives of Canada and Greece, it was a pleasure to see A.R.C. contributor Ian Sangster and his wife who came all the way from New Zealand.
The change from the Wednesday to Saturday schedule of the past to a Friday to Sunday schedule had to be viewed with a degree of apprehension. But, if the flea market was any measure, the change meant success -- 214 spaces were sold, and the peak count was 177 sellers set up on Friday morning. In 1998, I recorded a peak of 170, while in 1999, it dropped to 156.
Has the newly svelte Ed Bell given up battery sets for M&M novelties?
The club was also relatively successful at minimizing the number of vendors who defied the rule and opened a day ahead. The majority respected the rule and literally seemed to wait for the gun to go off. And it did -- apparently, at around 4:30 a.m. on Friday when the flashlights appeared and the game was on! Stay-in-beds were caught by surprise.
Though Friday was definitely the peak day for the flea market, on Saturday, the action didn't slow down until showers hit around auction time in the afternoon. Really rare items were not much in evidence, but there were enough desirable items to keep buyers happy.
A very interesting innovation on the part of ARCI was opening the event to the public and offering more than just viewing privileges. In fact, an appraisal table staffed by club members was advertised, and the public was encouraged to bring in grandma's old Philco or whatever for evaluation. To avoid a conflict of interest, appraisers were not allowed to buy the items. Forty people took advantage of this service, and some then walked through the flea market and sold the items. Others elected to put their items into the auction.
A warning: Auction prices are not current values. Our selection of auction items is not necessarily complete. A listing such as this cannot adequately include the condition of cabinets, chassis, transformers, tubes, the operating status of the set, and the inclusion of incorrect, restored or replica components, etc. Auction prices are the result of the excitement of the auction process, the skill of the auctioneer and the specific interests of the participants. Nevertheless, auction prices serve as useful references and as another element in the value determining process. The possibility of error always exists, and if we are notified, corrections will be reported.
In the flea market: an early Crosley Model V 1-tube receiver with an accompanying Model IV 2-tube audio amplifier.
The idea of opening club events to the public for purposes of widening interest in radio collecting and preservation has long been a topic of discussion among collectors. Our hats are off to ARCI for apparently finding solutions to the objections often raised to nonmember participation in club events. This event certainly spread good will among the general public -- good news for collectors and for those old radios still stashed away in attics everywhere.
An important component of Radiofest is education. Wide-ranging and informative presentation topics included Matt May's "How To Read a Schematic," Bill Reid's "32-volt Farm Power Systems, Radios, & More," and Bob Paquette's slide show of microphone history.
An assortment of 1940s and 1950s wood and plastic table radios in the Motorola Exhibit at Radiofest XIX: front, left to right, Models 68X11, 54X1, and 63X21.
Since Motorola was the theme of the event, a fine display of Motorola items contributed by collectors was available throughout the weekend. In addition, the Motorola Museum, a short bus ride away, was open to participants. Here the history of Motorola products is told as a "Journey through Time and Technology." In all, folks had a chance to see a wide range of Motorola products.
Of course, the Motorola Museum offerings reminded everyone of the sad passing of Dr. Ralph Muchow and of how much we looked forward in the past to the annual visit to his multifaceted museum. It was good to see Dr. Muchow's family at the banquet and to know that the Muchow Award will continue to be presented by his son Steve.
Speculation continues about what will happen to the Muchow collection. The scuttlebutt of the weekend was that an auction will be held next year in conjunction with Radiofest. If this should prove true, you will want to keep early August open for a possible dual event.
As usual, the Old Time Radio Contest featured some excellent entries. They included everything from small transistor radios to TV sets.
Contest entry: a Liberty Central Trust Co. crystal set.
The Friday night awards banquet was held in a smaller space than in the past, as the banquet attendance of 89 seemed down from recent years. But the crowd was enthusiastic and enjoyed the entertainment provided by the Merry Mugs.
Auctioneer Harry Blesy and his wife Toni, assisted by ARCI members, moved the auction along at a good pace for the 108 registered bidders. The event was over by dinner time, so that collectors could dine at leisure. Of course, fewer items were offered -- 93 as compared to 119 in 1999 and 161 in 1998. Obviously, the trend is downward, perhaps due to eBay. However, the increased flea market activity was a plus, and opening it to the public showed that clubs can adapt to the times and affect the outcome of their events.
The highlights of the auction were rather unexpected. Two top items turned out to be unusual cone speakers -- a Western Electric and an Algonquin -- selling for over $400 each. A Shure microphone also went for $400, while a Supreme AN/USM-3 Navy test kit and a Motorola Lazyboy with remote brought $350 each. All four of these items are rarely seen, but other things were also in the unusual range. The auction proceeds totalled $8,942.
Overall, Radiofest this year met the demands of the public for a shorter, higher intensity event. Though the numbers fluctuated somewhat -- up for the flea market, down for the auction -- it had much to offer, and no doubt, will offer even more next year. Make your plans for August 2001.
John V. Terrey and Daniel Schoo.
(John V. Terrey, c/o A.R.C., P.O. Box 2, Carlisle, MA 01741)
The Antique Radio Club of Illinois (ARCI) holds bimonthly swap meets and the annual August Radiofest. The "ARCI News" is published semiannually and the "ARCI Update" periodically. Dues are $15. For more information, contact: Art Bilski, 1139 La Grange Park, IL 60526.
A cool contest entry: a Dr. Pepper cooler radio.