The Fine Things are Always Hand Made
Hello my friends. It has been quite a while since I've been able to post here and to read posts by others. I had quite a few health problems that also led to financial ones. But I'm here to tell you about my Crosley WLW, which after a full year has finally been totally restored by my man Chuck Azzalina, who did an outstanding job. Believe me when I tell you that this is the finest console radio I have ever heard bar none. It has power to spare for one thing. The bass is quite full, and the midrange is excellent. But what will really impress is those three tweeters that go up to 14,000 cycles. They will blow you away with sound like a modern high fidelity system. Of course the imposing case is the first thing that "hits" you when you see it standing and turned off. Once it is on and that huge glass dial lights up with its multiple colors and you see the "lightning bolt" signal strength meter going, it's a bit of heaven. Chuck made me an iPhone input device so I have enjoyed modern music coming out of it too. I would like to hear a phono as well but so far don't have one that will match up properly. If you don't know, this "beast" weights 475 pounds!. It was never sold to the public and only ten were ever made. As far as we know only two got out and I have the only one that is fully original and complete. Considering my financial state, I don't know how much longer I'll be able to keep it. Chuck has a buyer with a top collection who is interested, so we will have to see. I think the Zenith Stratosphere, which was the main cause for the WLW to be produced has a more interesting style but when they are standing side by side, you know who is boss! I put a Crosley "Pup" atop the WLW so the contrast between their smallest and largest radio can be appreciated.
Incidentally, I'm still sitting with my Zenith Stratosphere and I don't understand why. I started it on ebay at 60K, went to 50, then 40, and stopped at 30 and withdrew it because I would lose about 20K if I had sold it at that level.
The other problematic radio I have is a McMurdo Masterpiece V in the Clifton Cabinet. It was beautifully restored by Phil Bartels but after only twenty minutes of playing the speaker voice coil went off center and now it sounds awful. John Goller told me there are ways to re-center a voice coil without reconing. Of course I want to try that and will have Chuck take the Super Giant speaker to his guy to try. If he can't do it, I want it returned untouched. Why? Just saw one that buzzes sell on ebay for 6,200 while one reconed brought only 1,500.00. The rest of the radio was parted out and UNRESTORED it brought 10,500.00 which does not include a chrome radio cover. I would gladly sell my V for that price and regretfully part it out to get that kind of money, I would only lose 1,500.00 since I paid 13K for it. BUT what I don't know--and what I hope some of you can give me advice on--is the difference in value and desirability between a V and VI. Mine is also in a refinished Clifton cabinet like the one on ebay.
Outside of that my wife Anna and I have been selling radios and related gear like there is no tomorrow. We have enjoyed our best sales ever the past few months and that has very much helped us to keep our bills at bay and even have something left over for a few nights of enjoyment. Surprisingly, the "hottest" items have all been vintage hi-fi gear including receivers, amps, cassette decks, speakers, and turntables. Wish I had more of those to sell!!!
That's about all for now. Best wishes to everyone here from Sam Samuelian.
PS. Oh, by the way, I still have my Scott Buckingham that has the best chrome I have ever seen. It is an older restoration that works well. It does have some veneer problems and it is missing the metal escutcheons. It, too, will have to be put up for sale in the near future. There are other top sets like my museum quality Philco 38-690 and Sparton Triolian console. And two novelty radio pianos, one made by Sparton and the other by Atwater Kent. And of course many, many table radios of all sizes and shapes.