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NOVA-Antiques is the Mid Atlantic website for all things antique and collectible. Our website features antique & collectibles dealers, shops & malls; Flea Market Directory & Reviews; Monthly Antiques Show Calendar; Estate & Tag Sales Page; and our NOVA-Antiques Newsletter, which contains news, articles and information about the antiques & collectibles market. NOVA-Antiques Blog is an extension of our Newsletters.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Collecting Vintage Radios

One of the first things that I ever sold on eBay was a vintage radio that had been sitting around the house for a long time.  I had picked it up at an auction in Buffalo and although I was not a newbie to buying and selling antique and vintage items, it was the first time that I had sold anything to anyone outside of the old neighborhood.  For a few years after that, I went into a frenzy; scouring flea markets, estate sales, yard and garage sales in search of more vintage radios and then rotary phones that I could sell on eBay.

I sold working and non-working antique and vintage radios that were made by all of the top companies including Philco, Westinghouse, Sylvania, Zenith and Emerson.  They were made from molded plastic, Bakelite and in some cases wood.  There were tube radios and transistorized models, cathedral shaped, futuristic and many clean-line modern.  I sold all types of radios to all types of people around the country, but they all had one thing in common, the love for nostalgia and the beauty of the vintage radio.

Alas, as eBay and other collectibles websites grew, the market for vintage radios, like all other vintage and antique items got flooded.  Most collectors were able to get pickier; they wanted only working radios, in good condition for the lowest possible price.  Very few wanted the non-working radios with blemishes, which could be fixed but would take time.  Additionally, the supply dried up as more and more people grew delusional with their prices; and priced themselves right out of the market.

One time I sold a Zenith 514, also known as an owl eye radio alarm clock from the mid-1950s, for $180.  Recent sales of the same radio on eBay range from $15 for a regular Bakelite model to $55 for a “rare” pink colored radio.  A green colored working radio went unsold with a price tag of $55.

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