The value of an antique radio is in the eye of the beholder. Very desirable things keep going up; the lower and middle fluctuate. Common models of early battery sets, started at $50, went up to $75-$100, and are back down to $50 now. After peaking in the early '90s, only very good transistor radios are currently desirable; the remainder have decreased in value.

 

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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Collectibles > Feature: Antique Radios: From A Golden Age
The Market for Antique Radios
 


Soaring Popularity of Collecting Antique Radios

Old Radios Condition

Old Radio Values

Old Radio Speakers

Old Phonographs

 

 
ANTIQUE RADIOS


1946 Fada Bullet - a classic Catalin radio.

This 1946 Fada Bullet is
a classic Catalin radio.


THE MARKET
The value of an antique radio is in the eye of the beholder. Very desirable things keep going up; the lower and middle fluctuate. Common models of early battery sets, started at $50, went up to $75-$100, and are back down to $50 now. After peaking in the early '90s, only very good transistor radios are currently desirable; the remainder have decreased in value.

Bakelite/Catalin radios, originally selling for under $30 in the 1940s, were snubbed by early collectors as plastic junk. Now they sell for up to $500, a lot more than some of the early stuff. (Caveat emptor: technically inferior, Catalin radios are valued only for their cabinets; if chipped or cracked they have almost no value.)

Radios are a financially accessible collecting category. You can still buy a transistor radio for $5; a battery radio for $50 and up; a console radio for $75-$100 and up; a cathedral radio for $100 and up. While only a few radios get up into the thousands of dollars, an early Marconi wireless recently sold for $49,500.

REFERENCES
In addition to various books specific to particular manufacturers, valuable references include:

 


Collectors Guide to Antique Radios:
Identification and Values, 5th Ed

by John Slusser, Kathy Slusser

Complete Price Guide to Antique Radios:
Tabletop Radios Vol. 3, 1933-1962
by Mark Stein

Antique Radio Restoration Guide
by David Johnson

The Complete Price Guide to Antique Radios:
Pre-War Consoles

by Mark Stein

Complete Price Guide to Antique Radios:
Tabletop Radios Vol. 2,
1930-1959

by Mark Stein

Antique Phonograph: Gadgets, Gizmos, and Gimmicks
by Timothy Fabrizio, George Paul