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DIORA AGA RSZ-50 ca.1947 from Poland - Photo License
What makes a radio an antique? If it is at least 50 years old and anything before World War II is always good. Old Radios with vacuum tubes and the first transistor sets are excellent collector items. It is rare to find a radio that dates before 1920.
The antique crystal set radio used no batteries and could only be used with a headphone because this was before amplifiers. These radios had to be close to the radio station to pick up the signal, and if there were more than one station close by it would try to pick them all up. However these crystal sets were cheap to build and didn't have any running costs.
Tuned Radio Frequency (TRF) radios were the most popular of the antique radios. They could amplify using valves or tubes. (Early TRF radios still used headphones) The sound quality wasn't the best but at least the broadcast could be heard.
Superhets antique radios were expensive and only the wealthy could afford them. These were made with a lot of valves
Collector's Guide to Antique Radios: Identification and Values
and many other parts and was a huge project to build.
Console radios were also expensive and cost up to $700.00 in the 1930's. These were made to be centerpieces for living rooms, hallways and made a nice addition to the home.
The console radio was the centerpiece of many homes back in the era of radio, they were mostly for the wealthy. Philco, RCA, Westinghouse, zenith and other companies built the console radio.
Tabletop wood radios could be cathedral style, which are an upright box with a rounded top, or in a Tombstone form, which are like a tall and narrow box, or any type of boxy radio that can sit on a tabletop. These were usually used in the kitchen, living room or even the porch.
Black/brown Bakelite plastic radios were the first ones that were mass-produced. These were more affordable and came in different styles. The plastic used was brittle so dropping this radio could break it. Catalin was a color version of Bakelite radio and is most sought after by collectors.
Old Time Radios! Restoration and Repair
Finally the portable transistor radio was invented. These could be turned on without having to warm up first. They used smaller batteries and were handy to have a round. The downside was the high prices and poor sound.
The top prices paid for antique radios are for the Catalin color plastic and the high-end consoles. Medium prices are paid for the tabletop Cathedrals and tombstone radios. Lower-end radios like the Bakelite usually sold for less then $40.00 each.
On this page you will find special sections that have Tombstone, Cathedral and Catalin Radios for Sale.
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Dear Antique Radio Fans,
I am writing to you in behalf of your Heavenly Father. He is seeking you like a lost sheep. You remember the Bible story? It is about a shepherd who has 100 sheep. But when he brings the sheep home one night, one is missing. He then leaves the 99 sheep and goes out into the wilderness until he finds that lost sheep.
In this parable the shepherd goes out to search for the one lost sheep-the very least that can be numbered. So if there had been but one lost soul, Christ would have died for that one. To read more click Lost Sheep