World’s Best Radio Collection?

It seems impossible that there could be a greater radio collection than the one owned by Hugh and Jane Hunt of Blair, Nebraska.

(All photos can be enlarged with a click and zoom.)

The first display when you walk into the large “radio room” is the above group of amazing radios.  Collectors will see that the shelves are filled with many extremely hard-to-find radios, and yet, here they are all together!

Take a look at the row of Air King “Skyscrapers”.  Those nine radios from the 1930’s represent some of the most beautiful and colorful radios ever produced. Based on auction and private-sale prices I’ve seen, that one row of radios is worth around a quarter-of-a-million dollars.

(The yellow Air King is 1 of 2 known to exist.)

The second set of shelves (above), has 49 Catalin radios.  Look at them closely and you’ll see a whole row of Motorola “Circle Grilles”, and nearly a row of colorful Emerson “Little Miracles”.  There are a bunch of Tom Thumb radios, and on one of those shelves are these two radios:

These “Split Grille”  Detrola and Symphony radios are extremely rare, as is the Espey radio sitting next to them in the group photo.  Two shelves below is a blue Sentinel “Wavy Grille”.

One of these went for over $30,000 at an auction in New York.  Throughout Hugh & Jane’s collection are so many radios that individually would be the centerpiece of a typical collection like mine.

Next, look at the long wall across from those radios.

It’s hard for the mind to even take in these 87 fabulous Catalin radios!  You’ll have to “click & zoom” this photo to appreciate what’s there.  On this end alone, you can see the Sparton “Cloisonné” sets, Fada “Bullets”, 12 (12!) Emerson Tombstones, and rare Kadette “Clockettes”.

Here’s a shot from the other end of the shelves.  Enlarge & zoom to look closely at the gorgeous Fada’s, Addison’s, Emerson’s, DeWald’s, Sentinel’s, Motorola’s, Garod’s and more.

See anything you’d like to have in your collection?

Here is the last set of shelves on this end of the room:

(At the bottom are 4 ultra-rare Namco Catalin radios.)

(The Blue [oxidized to green] Namco may be the only one in existence.)

Now we turn to the shelves on the other end of the very long room.  There are non-Catalin radios in multiple displays, featuring rare Bakelite, Plaskon, wooden, mirrored, novelty, and some foreign radios:

There are also larger radios not on shelves:

Besides radios, there’s the recently acquired 1942 Rock-Ola jukebox, seen here with Jane and Hugh:

People may choose different types of radio collecting…wooden table radios, consoles, early breadboards, transistors, etc., and tastes differ.  This radio collection includes every Catalin model listed in John Sideli’s famous book Classic Plastic Radios of the 1930’s and 1940’s (and a couple models Sideli missed).  The collection even includes complete color combinations of some of the models, and most of the truly collectible radios made of other plastics.  Plastic was a new medium, and some of the world’s greatest designers developed these 1930’s and 1940’s radios.

(Jon Walker, Philip Bausch, David O’Hanlon, Hugh Hunt, Jane Hunt, John O’Connor, and Jeannette Bausch.  Thanks for the photo Scott!)

When we radio collectors get together at the Hunt house, we love to look at this “museum” of radios.  Is this multi-million-dollar radio collection the best in the world?  It is to us.

Bonus:  Hugh recently added a car radio to his collection.  Attached to it was this 1954 Cadillac:

9 thoughts on “World’s Best Radio Collection?”

  1. Wow! I’m in awe! What a beautiful collection. I have an Emerson Tombstone tube radio, mode R156 and cannot find it online anywhere. The serial # isR1019876. Can you help me in any way? It works but I know nothing about it.

    Editor: Some information about the Emerson 156 was sent directly to George.

  2. A beautiful collection. I’ve been searching for a Girl Scout catalin radio (Stewart-Warner, 1939) for many years. If nothing else, I’d love to see a photo of this rare item.

    Editor: The 1939 Stewart Warner Girl Scout radio I found online is a Bakelite radio that’s painted green. It’s not made of Catalin. I’ve never seen one in person.

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