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Production Volumes and Rarity Estimates 


Production Volume

Just about any RCA/Radiola Product is worth collecting and is a piece in history within itself, there were large volumes of the different products produced.  With the focus of this site being the early RCA era, 1930 and before, we will concentrate our research on this period in time.  Many thousands of RCA radio products were produced in this period, and therefore, the vast majority of radios one will encounter will not be rare nor particularly valuable at the present time. Something over 2,000,000 RCA radios were manufactured and sold between 1920 and 1930.  However, according to the production data, nearly 50% of RCA’s entire product volume can be fairly evenly divided between the low cost battery operated table model Radiola III line and the low cost table model AC operated Radiola 17, 18 and 60 sets. So the odds are quite high that Grandma's old Radiola is one of these common models, and probably won't have much value unless it is in mint condition. Nonetheless,  one will often see a very common RCA/Radiola model with an asking price of $1000 or more on Ebay, although such a machine will seldom sell for anywhere near that amount. However, rare models do show-up in attics and flea markets on occasion, and I know of several people who have come across some amazing finds in recent years.

Rare and desirable Radiola’s are often those that were built in very low volumes. For example, it is estimated that only 1,700 or so of the Radiola VII were made, making it one of the scarcer models. Good examples of this and similar Radiola products will sell at a premium to any serious collector. 

It is also interesting to note that many collectors value some models that are not particularly rare. Over 100,000 Radiola 60’s were produced, and yet these radios still bring considerable prices if they are in decent original condition and include documentation. The Radiola 60 was the first model that was very simple to operate with just tone, volume and tuning controls and many collectors feel the need to have a good example of the set in their collection.

It is also important to consider that any antique radio that is in true mint original condition will usually have some meaningful value. For example, a Radiola 20 in average alligatored attic-stored condition might only sell for around $100-$150 at auction, while the same machine in mint original condition might bring over $1000 to the right buyer. Even more if it has the original shipping crate and all its documentation! Condition is always a critical factor in calculating value. 

One factor that must be considered in determining rarity and collector interest is the number of sets that have survived and are available today.  Many very desirable sets were destroyed due to the large size of the device and the difficulty in storing, displaying and in some cases, like the Radiola 30, moving the unit without considerable damage to the radio. Over 10,000 Radiola 30’s were produced initially but few remain today.  Also, if you are to have a nice collection of Radiola consoles you better have plenty of room for the collection, and have a method of moving the radio to your location, as this can be a fairly expensive task!

The chart below summarizes approximate RCA production volumes.


Rarity

Classifying rarity is a rather difficult task, as it is necessary to take into account what the current collector community considers common vs. rare. One method to estimate rarity is to examine the quantity of a particular RCA radio such as the "Radiola V", whose production represents only about 1% of the total RCA radio product volume would hardly be considered "rare" by most collectors, as they are still commonly found. One reasonable way to give an estimate to the rarity of a particular radio is to consider the quantity sold on the public internet auction markets over the most current year period and compare that to the total quantity of the volume produced for the particular model under consideration. To try to put some sense in the rarity estimation process the ratio of the total production to the number of units auctioned in the last year was used as a basis.

Note that some "rare" models do not necessarily have high value, depending on collector interest and/or current availability.

Using this method, the following rules were used to determine rarity: 

Y Refers to the most popular machines yearly auction totals are less than 3% of the total production volume.  These models are the most common and are found very frequently.

YY Refers to the next tier of models whose yearly auction totals are less than 2% of the total production volume. These are still commonly found, but not seen quite as often as the Y models. 

YYY Refers to the next rarest tier of models whose yearly auction totals are less than 1% of the total production volume.  These models are not frequently found, and are of increasing interest to collectors. 

YYYY Refers to the final tier of rarest models whose yearly auction totals are less than ˝% of the total production volume these are the rarest of all RCA pre 1930 era models and are usually in high demand. 

The results appear to reasonably correlate with what most collectors consider as common or rare.


Valuation

Value is a very subjective parameter which is not easily calculated. The rankings here are based solely on my recent observations and experiences as a collector. Dollar values are not specific, since so much depends on originality, condition, shipping cost, size and how badly the buyer wants the model! I hesitate to put specific dollar values in for each model, since when I examine generalized "valuation charts" the always seem to differ from what I actually see in the collector market place. Without actually seeing and inspecting a model, most generalized dollar-specific summaries can lead to a lot of misinformation and confusion.  I am sure that some collectors will disagree with my summaries, and I will continue to refine these rankings as I continue to solicit input from experts and evaluate the monthly auction models and sales prices.  Note that in many instances, value does not correspond with rarity. This is due to the fact that some models are considered more collectible than others. The value rules are as follows:

Y Refers to RCA models that is not likely to spur much interest amongst collectors unless the model is complete in every respect and includes all original paper work or is in exceptional original condition. Valuation will be minimal on these models, typically in the $75-$300 range in average condition 

YY Refers to RCA models that may generate some degree of buying interest to certain collectors, especially if the condition is good. Prices will usually be somewhat higher than Y models, but not anywhere near the thousands of dollars that may be paid for a truly desirable machine. 

YYY Refers to RCA models that will generate considerable interest amongst the majority of collectors. Selling prices for good quality examples in this category will typically be at least $500 and can range above $3000, depending on condition.

YYYY Refers to RCA models that will command the highest prices, well into many thousands of dollars. These have a continual high demand amongst collectors. 


Approximate Production Volumes for RCA Models, including, Model Name, Model, Rarity and Valuation

Production Numbers are best available estimates, based on company documents and/or database information.

Model Name

Type

Model #

Manufacturer and Release Date

Est. Production

Rarity

Value

DA

DET/AMP

DA

WH/1920

11,000

YY

YY

RA

REC

RA

WH/1920

11,000

YY

YY

RC

REC

RC

WH/1920

66,000

Y

YY

RADIOLA AR

RF/AMP

AR

WH/1923

3,000

YYYY

YYY

RADIOLA RT

TUNER

RT

WH/1923

3,000

YYYY

YYY

AERIOLA JR.

CST/REC

RE

WH/1921

30,000

YY

YY

AERIOLA SR. EARLY

CST/REC

RF

WH/1921

45,000

Y

Y

AERIOLA SR. LATE

CST/REC

RF

WH/1924

15,000

Y

Y

AERIOLA SR. AMP

AMP

AC

WH/1922

5,000

YY

YY

ER-753

CST/REC

ER-753

GE/1922

1,000

YYY

YYY

ER-753A

CST/REC

ER-753A

GE/1922

20,000

YY

YYY

RADIOLA CONCERT

CST/REC

AR-1375

WS/1922

6,000

YYYY

YYY

RADIOLA SPECIAL

CST/REC

 

WS/1923

10,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA SPECIAL AMP

AMP

 

GIM/1924

500

YYYY

YYY

RADIO RECEIVER

REC

AR-1300

GE/1922

8,000

YYY

YY

DETECTOR-AMPLIFIER

DET/AMP

AA-1400

GE/1922

8,000

YYY

YY

RF AMPLIFIER

RF AMP

AA-1520

GE/1922

1,000

YYYY

YYY

AA-484

 

AA-484

WS/1922

200

YYYY

YYYY

AA-485

 

AA-485

WS/1922

200

YYYY

YYYY

AERIOLA GRAND

REC

RG

WH/1922

2000

YYYY

YYYY

VACAROLA

SPK

LV

WH/1922

10,000

YYYY

YYY

LOOP ANTENNA

ANT

AG-814

GE/1924

1,000

YY

YY

LOOP ANTENNA

ANT

AG-1380

WS/1922

5,000

YYY

YY

RADIOLA GRAND

REC

RG

WH/1922

12,000

YYY

YY

RADIOLA GRAND BATT BOX

ACC

 

WH/1922

1,000

YYYY

YYY

RADIOLA RS

REC

RS

WH/1923

5,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA SENIOR

CST/REC

RF

WH/1923

3,500

Y

Y

RADIOLA SENIOR AMPLIFIER

AMP

AC

WH/1923

6,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA I

CST/REC

ER-753A

WH/1923

8,000

YYY

YYY

RADIOLA II

PORT REC

AR-800

GE/1922

10,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA III

REC

AR-805

WH/1924

300,000

Y

Y

RADIOLA IIIA REC AR-802 WH/1924 170,000 Y Y
BALANCED AMPLIFIER

AMP

AR-806

WH/1924

60,000

Y

Y

RADIOLA IV

REC

AR-880

GE/1922

11,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA V

REC

AR-885

GE/1922

25,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA VI

REC

AR-895

GE/1922

3,000

YYYY

YYY

RADIOLA VII

REC

AR-905

WS/1923

1,700

YYYY

YYYY

RADIOLA VIIB

REC

AR-907

WS/1924

2,700

YYYY

YYYY

RADIOLA VIII EARLY

REC

AR-810

GE/1924

5,000

YYY

YYY

RADIOLA VIII LATE

REC

AR-810

GE/1926

15,000

YYY

YYY

RADIOLA IX SONORA

REC

AR-1404

WS/1925

3,000

YYYY

YYY

RADIOLA IX RCA

REC

AR-1395

WS/1925

3,000

YYYY

YYY

RADIOLA X

REC

AR-816

WH/1925

15,000

YYY

YYY

RADIOLA REGENOFLEX

REC

AR-817

WH/1924

15,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA SUPER-HETERODYNE

REC

AR-812

GE/1924

150,000

Y

YY

RADIOLA 16

REC

AR-924

WH/1927

87,000

Y

Y

RADIOLA 17

REC

AR-927

WH/1927

180,000

Y

Y

RADIOLA 18

REC

AR-936

WH/1928

250,000

Y

Y

RADIOLA 20 REC AR-918 W/1925 140,000 YY YY
RADIOLA 21

REC

AR-1258

WH/1929

10,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA 22

REC

AR-1265

WH/1929

6,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA 24

REC

AR-804

GE/1925

8,000

YYY

YY

RADIOLA 25

REC

AR-919

WH/1925

100,000

Y

YY

RADIOLA 26

REC

 

WH/1925

20,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA 28

REC

AR-920

WH/1925

90,000

Y

YY

RADIOLA 30

CON/REC

AR-921

WH/1925

11,000

YYYY

YY

RADIOLA 30A

CON/REC

AR-926

WH/1927

20,000

YYYY

YYYY

RADIOLA 32

CON/REC

AR-925

WH/1927

7,000

YYYY

YYY

RADIOLA 33

REC

AR-784

GE/1929

240,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA 41

CON/REC

AR-782

WH/1928

7,000

YYYY

YY

RADIOLA 44

REC

AR-594

WH/1929

30,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA 46

CON/REC

AR-596

WH/1929

100,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA 47

CON/REC

AR-1147

WH/1929

16,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA 48

CON/REC

 

WH/1930

7,000

YYY

YYY

RADIOLA 50

CON/REC

AR-910

WH/1928

3,000

YYY

YYY

RADIOLA 51

CON/REC

AR-904

WH/1928

6,500

YYY

YYY

RADIOLA 60

CON/REC

AR-954

WH/1928

140,000

Y

YY

RADIOLA 62

CON/REC

AR-982

WH/1928

20,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA 64

CON/REC

AR-894

WH/1928

7,500

YYY

YYY

RADIOLA 66

CON/REC

AR-598

WH/1929

4,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA 67

CON/REC

AR-1168

WH/1929

5,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA 80

CON/REC

 

RCA/1930

25,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA 82

CON/REC

 

RCA/1930

15,000

YY

YY

RADIOLA 86

CON/REC

 

RCA/1930

10,000

YY

YY

FH HORN

SPKR

FH

WH/1923

10,000

YYYY

YY

UZ-1320

SPKR

UZ-1320

GE/1923

50,000

Y

Y

UZ-1325

SPKR

UZ-1325

GE/1924

250,000

Y

Y

100

SPKR

UZ-915

GE/1925

250,000

Y

Y

100A

SPKR

UZ-1076

GE/1927

350,000

Y

Y

100B

SPKR

UZ-783

GE/1929

11,000

Y

Y

102

SPKR

UZ-913

GE/1925

1000

YYYY

YY

103

SPKR

UZ-749

GE/1928

120,000

Y

Y

104

SPKR

UZ-914

GE-1925

15,000

YYY

YY

105

SPKR

UZ-1082

GE/1928

1,200

YYY

YY

106

SPKR

UZ-642

GE/1930

15,000

YY

YY

SHORTWAVE ADAPTER

 ADAP

SW-10

W/1930

2,000

 YYY

 YY