An aficionado of the 20th-century American design, Richard Balsbaugh who made a fortune acquiring ailing radio stations, turning them around by changing their music, content and pulling up popularity and profitability, was originally stunned by the elegant modernism of the radios and by their bold color and high prices. This man who actually lived and breathed radios since he was young, is widely known to own the most extensive collection of radio sets, which he collected considering several criteria’s, including condition as first and foremost, followed by form and then color. Now, on Dec. 11th, auctioneer Bonhams will conduct an auction of The Richard Balsbaugh Collection of Vintage Radios comprising of 133 radios designed in the U.S. during the 1930s and 1940s, at the Bonhams NY flagship gallery located at Madison Avenue at 56th Street. Notably, this exclusive auction will serve as yet another benchmark in the collecting history of the popular collecting field of vintage radios.
Historically, Richard Balsbaugh first encountered radios made from Catalin 12 years ago when he wandered into an antique shop in Los Angeles looking for an old radio as a gift for his morning deejay in Boston.
Notably, the highlight of the auction of The Richard Balsbaugh Collection of Vintage Radios includes a spectacular grouping of 6 prime examples of the Art Deco Air King Skyscrapper 52 radio. (pictured above)
Designed by Harold Van Doren back in 1933, these radios are considered to be the epitome of successful architecture-influenced design. Circa 1933, the radio which is expected to fetch between $12,000 and $15,000, comes in a mint green case with green on black knobs and a map of the world dial.
Some of the other radios include an Emerson AX235 Little Miracle 1938 (pictured above) which comes with marbleized red case with white knobs and louvered grille and is expected to fetch $2,000 and $3,000, and a Garod 1B55L Drop Handle 1940 radio (pictured below) boasting maroon case with yellow knobs, faceplate and drop handle, with Garod decal, which is expected to fetch $2,000 and $3,000.