Wireless (pre-1920) Radios
Marconi Wireless (pre-1920) Sets
Tubes & Valves
Crystal Set Radios
Antique Radios (1920s)
Antique Radios (1930-1960s)
Antique Radio Advertising
Radio Speakers & Microphones
Articles on Antique Radio I Have Written
Radios for sale
Wanted Antique Radio Parts
Tubes for sale
Defeating Depression book by Howard Stone
Interview of Howard Stone on Tube Talk Classic Radio Show
Early Books and Literature on Radio, Tubes, & Electricity
You may find it helpful to read through this page before contacting me. There may be an answer to your question or a link to find what you're looking for. Also check out some of the listings in the LINKS page in this website. Thank you.
Q: Can you tell me what my radio is worth?
A: This is one of the most frequently asked questions. It is also very difficult to answer. There are so many variables to consider when determining a radio’s value. Placing a value on any antique is highly subjective. So here goes….
Over 90% (maybe 95%) of all radios are worth less than $100. Most radio collectors who have been collecting for a few years show little interest in these radios. A few very rare radios are worth a lot. Small wider than tall home sets (brown or white bakelite, plastic, or wooden) are worth $5 or $10 if complete but not working, and maybe twice that if they are in good condition and working. Most consoles are worth less than a $100—many times much less. Think about it; how many consoles can you have in your radio collection before you run out of space. Most communication receivers are worth $20-50 and some are worth more if they have a large number of tubes, are not rusty, and are working well. Test equipment, except for high-end tube testers, has little value.
There are reference books available that provide price ranges, and these can be found in most of the larger, well stocked book stores or the public library. The most commonly mentioned is The Collector's Guide to Antique Radios by John Slusser. It is available from Antique Electronic Supply (see LINKS) or Amazon.com. What a specific radio actually is worth may be quite different than what these guides list. In addition, the condition of the radio (both cosmetics and electronics) is critical. The prices in guidebooks are for working radios in excellent condition. Antique Radio Classified (see LINKS) is a buy-and-sell journal, probably the most accessible true market information available for inspection.
The only real way to determine a radio's value is to try to sell it and see what you get. There are too many variables to be able to place any reliable monetary value on antique radios of any sort. Good clean electronic equipment restored to good working condition is worth more money, but generally much less than the costs of restoration, if one includes any value for skilled labor in doing the restoration.
Q: How can I date my old radio?
A: One way to make a rough estimate it to look at its tubes. Radios that only have tubes with 4 pins are from the early and mid 1920s. Radios with 4 to 7 pins (large pins) are from the late 20s through the 30s. Radios with octal tubes (8 pins) primarily are from the mid 30s, 40s, and 50s. Radios with loctal tubes (8 wire-like pins) are from the late 30s till the 50s. Radios with tubes that have either 7 or 9 wire-like pins are from the mid 40s thru the 60s. Remember this is a rough guide; there are exceptions. One of the easiest ways to date an old radio is to look in a book like The Collector's Guide to Antique Radios by John Slusser. This book will make an estimate of the value of the book and list the date of manufacture.
Q: I was at a garage sale and bought an old radio. The guy that sold me the radio said that it worked the last time he used it—20 or 30 years ago. Should I plug it in to see if it works?
A: Thanks for asking. Too many people plug it in first and when the smoke has cleared ask this question. It can fry the transformer and that requires finding another transformer, which is no mean feat. Major surgery. Never ever ever plug in an old piece of electronics gear that hasn't been used for a few years without checking it out first. It can be dangerous and a fire hazard.
Q: I want to sell my old radio. How do I go about it?
A: Contact me. I would appreciate the opportunity to buy your radio. If I do not want it I am sure I can refer you to someone who will or suggest how you can dispose of it. What I need is the manufacturer, model number, condition, and a price you want. A digital photo or two attached to your email would help a lot (a 30k file is sufficient), but is not necessary. I also need to know if you are seriously offering to sell it to me or just checking on its value. If you are, I will call or email you and discuss the purchase of the radio.
Q: Do you have service info or schematics on a radio, TV, or transistor radio?
A: I do not have any information on antique radios, television or TV, stereo or stereophonic systems, vintage music system, or turntables. Try searching these websites or some of the LINKS listed in this website:
• Radio Era Archives, Schematics, books & manuals on CD-ROM.
• Antique Radios.Com, The Collector's resource. http://antiqueradios.com
• Nostalgia Air (Schematics, tube info, manuals, tech forum.)
• Atwater Kent (Service Manuals, sales literature, gallery, and more.)
Q: Do you sell parts for my radio or know where I can obtain them?
A: I do not have any radio parts for sale. Here are a few good places listed in the links page to obtain parts:
• PlayThings of Past, Gary B. Schneider, 9511 Sunrise Blvd., #J-23, Cleveland, Ohio 44133
• Radio Daze, 7620 Omnitech Place, Victor, New York 145564, 585-742-2020.
• Antique Electronic Supply, 6221 S. Maple, Tempe, Arizona 85283, telephone
Q: Will you repair my radio for me?
A: I do not offer any kind of restoration services. There are many good repair and restoration services available on the Web—“antique radio repair.” Also see the LINKS page. There is a listing by state of people who repair radios in the Vintage Radio and Phonograph Society (VRPS) website in the LINKS.
Q: Do you know where I can get my loudspeaker or speaker repaired?
A: I have not used any of these establishments, but they have been recommended to me:
• John's Vintage Radio
144 N. Beverwyck Rd., #208
Lake Hiawatha, NJ 07034
• The Speaker Shop
9074 Market Street
North Lima, OH 44452
330 758 6911
Website: The speakershop.com
• Orange County Speaker, Inc.
12141 Mariners Way
Garden Grove, CA 92843
Q: I have an old radio-phonograph. The radio works, but the phonograph
doesn't make any sound. What is wrong?
A: Your phono pickup probably uses a crystal cartridge, and it is no good. You will need a new cartridge. Check some of the suppliers on the LINKS page.
Q: I have an Atwater Kent radio that I have listened to for years. It only gets a couple of local stations, and they are not particularly loud. Can I get it to work better?
A: Almost certainly. You have a fifty to eighty year-old piece of electronics. It's a candidate for an electronic restoration. Some parts that may have deteriorated over the years are capacitors (especially electrolytic and bypass capacitors), resistors (which may have a much higher resistance), and tuckered out tubes. Also, someone may have tried to align the set to make it work better—and failed.
Q: I have a battery-powered radio. It has a four-prong plug for the battery. Can I get a converter at Radio Shack to make my radio work?
A: Many battery radios required 1.5 volts for the tube filaments and 67-1/2 or 90 volts for "B" (plate) voltage. In many sets the tube filaments were wired in series, requiring a 6 or 9 volt "A" battery. You'll need a supply that can deliver 1.5 volts at about 400 ma.and 90 volts at about 50 ma. for your four-prong radio. 1920s battery radios require an “A” battery which is usually 6 volts and a “B” battery which can be anywhere from 22 to 135 volts. Some also need a “C” battery, which is typically 4 ½ or 9 volts.