Stay tuned to Bonhams New York for the sale of the Richard Balsbaugh Collection of Vintage Radios

The Richard Balsbaugh Collection of Vintage Radios
11 Dec 2012
New York

New York, NY – On December 11th, Bonhams will conduct an auction of The Richard Balsbaugh Collection of Vintage Radios, an event that will serve as yet another benchmark in the collecting history of the popular collecting field of vintage radios. The auction will begin at 11:00 a.m. at the Bonhams New York flagship gallery located at 580 Madison Avenue at 56th Street.

This important private collection consists of 133 radios designed in America during the 1930s and 1940s. Richard Balsbaugh lived and breathed radios since he was a young man. Starting in the radio business as a salesman in 1972, he quickly rose to sales manager and then manager. He went on to form Pyramid Communications and was extremely successful in acquiring failing radio stations, updating format and content, and thereby increasing popularity and profitability. In 1996, he sold the firm for $300 million.

Richard Balsbaugh caught the collecting bug in the 1980s while on a business trip to Los Angeles. In search of an antique radio as a present for his morning deejay in Boston, he found himself in Off The Wall Antiques, a popular antiques shop on Melrose Avenue. Already a fan of 20th Century Design, Balsbaugh was instantly drawn to the modernist design and bold colour found in Catalin radios. He bought one for the deejay, and one for himself- a Fada Bullet, and there one of the finest collections of vintage radios was born. Over the years, Balsbaugh considered several criteria in selecting radios for his collection - first and foremost was condition, followed by form and then colour. With the guidance of Michael Lawlor, Balsbaugh's collection grew to number over 200 prime examples.

Of particular interest in the Bonhams auction is a spectacular grouping of 6 prime examples of the Art Deco Air King Skyscraper 52 radio. Designed in 1933 by Harold Van Doren, these radios are considered by many to be the epitome of successful architecture-influenced design. Colours include a rare crystalline white radio with its original carrying case purchased by the collector at the landmark sale of the Mark Woolley Collection held at Bonhams New York in 2007, as well as almond, brown, and exceedingly rare lavender and mint green examples. These radios carry pre-sale estimates ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 each.

Among the many models to be offered representing a diversity of design are: the Emerson Axe235 Little Miracle (1938); Emerson BT 245 Cathedral (1938); Fada 711 (1946); Crosley G-1465 Split Grille (1938); Garod 6AU1 Commander (1945); Fada L56 (1939); Fada 1000 Bullet (1945); Sentinel 284NI, Addison 2 Waterfall Grille (1940); Kadette K 25 Clockette (1937); Arvin 532 (1938); and the Tom Thumb (1938).

For the full auction catalogue and preview hours please visit


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

Related auctions