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 Post subject: What's so unique about the Zenith "Walton" radio?
PostPosted: Jan Mon 10, 2011 6:38 pm 
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About 3-4 days ago I was pursuing Ebay for old radios as I usually do and stumbled across one auction that featured a near-pristine Zenith "Walton" radio. It was a rather large table top set with an amazing dial and high quality woodwork. Really beautiful set. But... the price at that point was getting close to $2,500. Wow! Anyway, was this a rare set? Is it one of those "Holy grail" radios? Probably one of the nicer looking radios I've seen.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Mon 10, 2011 6:50 pm 
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Location: Lone Grove, Oklahoma
Maybe the chassis is gold plated? Maybe some Zenith collector will be here in a bit to explain it's wonderful properties. It is a nice looking radio, but there are tons of nice looking radiois out there.

It was made famous from the Walton TV series, and some collectors have gone ape poop over it. I wonder if the Airline Indian Head radio had been on that table in the series if we would now be calling it the Walton Indian Head radio and it would now be worth $2000.00? Who knows. I think it is way over blown and way way over priced....in my humble opinion.

Richard

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Life is too short for drama and petty things, so kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly...Unk.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Mon 10, 2011 8:27 pm 
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They really are impressive and nice looking radios, but you almost have to see one in person to really appreciate it. 1938 is also a very popular year for Zenith with the shutter dials and motorized tuning on the 9 and 12 tube Walton sets. With that said I think they command prices that are ridiculously high, but I guess it's a matter of supply and demand.

Personally I don't think the Walton aspect plays as much into the high prices as the set itself being a prime example of a big black dial Zenith in a large, attractive, and very impressive table cabinet. I wonder if half the people buying one today have even seen the TV series.

I remember buying Walton's and other 38's at well under $100 back in the stone ages. Then Zenith's as a whole got very popular and expensive and then demand for the Walton sets kept driving them up even higher in price. They are one of my favorite sets but I hate to see them going for such crazy prices. Heck, didn't Bob (sofaslug) say a 12 tube speaker went for something like $1400!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Mon 10, 2011 8:31 pm 
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This particular question will be debated for all eternity. :lol: The quick answer is that Zenith radios are particularly collectible and tend to command higher than average prices, Zenith black dials are even more collectible, Zenith shutterdials are even more collectible than that, 1938 models are the most desirable shutterdials, tombstones are more collectible than consoles. Put all of those together and you have a perfect storm for high prices -- the Zenith Walton radios. You were probably looking at an auction for the top of the line 12S232 Walton, which (along with the 9S232) also has both a tuning eye and motorized tuning. This adds to the desirability, uniqueness, and value. Finally, if you want a 1938 (large size) tombstone, the Walton cabinet is your only choice, unlike the other years in which Zenith offered multiple large tombstone cabinet designs depending on the chassis. Honestly, I don't think its appearance on an old TV show has all that much to do with the value.

And yes, the 49-183 speaker (unique to the 12S232) sold for around $1200 to $1400. I can't recall the exact amount.

Bob


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Mon 10, 2011 8:55 pm 
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A Zenith 10S130 will set you back a small fortune, as will other Zeniths that were never showboated on a TV series. Price a nice AK-447 in mint condition when one shows up :D

For some collectors the radios are an artform. The Walton is unique because of the shutter dial chassis being used in a tombstone. It is a handsome and imposing radio in person. They aren't rare by any stretch of the imagination. I suspect some of the feeding frenzy the mistaken idea that they are long term investments.

Pete


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Mon 10, 2011 10:24 pm 
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Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA 89052
This is a 1938, big black dial Zenith, shutter dial, large table radio in an easily recognized, nice looking walnut case, and associated with a popular TV series. The 9 & 12 tube versions have motor assisted tuning. What's not to like here? Can you think of another radio with an equal list of desired qualities for todays market?

Over priced? Yes, to the extent that I wish I had known about and purchased one for my personal collection before the price went up....

Greg


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Mon 10, 2011 10:56 pm 
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Since I have a Zenith shutter-dial 9S262 and a Zenith 9S-244, I'd like to have a Walton to go with them but they're priced (now) way more than I would pay for a radio. In the meantime, I'll have to be happy with this Philco 16B, the biggest table model Philco every made. I think they're as big or bigger than a Walton and 7 years earlier. (and mine has 5 bands)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Mon 10, 2011 10:58 pm 
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With all the hype over the past few years some buyers just have to have one no matter the cost. Bragging rights?? Call it what you want.
Last July I sold a Zenith 12S-265 for $1300.00 and thought the buyer was crazy. There isn't any radio I wouldn't sell with offers like that.
Personally there isn't any radio worth anywheres near the prices mentioned above, not even close. :) JMO


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Mon 10, 2011 11:48 pm 
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The 9S and 12S are the same cosmetically. The 7S is the same cosmetically except it lacks the small knob on the tuner for the motor. They all have the tuning eye and same band coverage. The 7J lacks the tuning eye and uses an AC/DC switchable chassis. The real life performance difference between the AC versions is minimal on AM Broadcast. Sitting on the shelf playing, the average person wouldn't know the difference. I would be happy with a 7S and would have no urge to "upgrade" to 9S or 12S. Almost bought a 7J in 1990 at a rural farm auction. It went for $50, all I had on me was $40.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2011 1:07 am 
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Some of these days the Walton's bubble has to pop. In actual production there were probably more of the 7S made and sold than the 9S and 12S. The TV series had a hand in driving the prices up to where they currently are. Personally I prefer some of the consoles with the 9 and 12 tube chassis but space is the problem.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2011 1:19 am 
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It's one of those designs that just has "it". I'm not really sure what "it" is but as was noticed previously, you really do have to see one. They are beautiful. There is something about the design that just clicks.

Would I pay the money for one: no. Do I wish I had one: absolutely.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2011 1:21 am 
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I don't see the prices for the Walton radios dropping significantly unless the demand for all antique radios drops too. They're not particularly rare compared to other Zenith tombstones, but they're in much higher demand. Personally I prefer the cabinet of the 10S130 to the Walton radios, but there's no denying the allure of the tuning eye and motorized tuning. It always gets a lot of oohs and aahs. IMHO for looks, rarity, and performance the 835 from 1935 beats any of the 1936-1938 black dial tombstones. That one's a masterpiece of radio design.

Bob


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2011 4:09 am 
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I bought a 7S261 a few months ago, paid a lot more then I usually pay for radios, but liked the looks of it, was quite surprised what its worth according to the Zenith collectors book. see at http://s531.photobucket.com/albums/dd353/celetg/

Frank


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2011 4:27 am 
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Location: British Columbia
Art Hoch wrote:
Since I have a Zenith shutter-dial 9S262 and a Zenith 9S-244, I'd like to have a Walton to go with them but they're priced (now) way more than I would pay for a radio. In the meantime, I'll have to be happy with this Philco 16B, the biggest table model Philco every made. I think they're as big or bigger than a Walton and 7 years earlier. (and mine has 5 bands)

Image


Not to mention that any of the Philco 16B and 116 series are much better performing radios that any of the Walton Zeniths, arguably I think the styling is better as well. Believe it or not I have a Philco Tropic that is bigger then the Philco 16, at least in cabinet as it has 11 tubes, its a 40-780 and looks like a console that got cut down. Thankfully, unlike a Zenith Walton, the Philco 16B is still affordable, although not always cheap, and they built a lot of them.
Best Regards
Arran


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2011 7:44 am 
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Location: 253 Blanche St. Plymouth, MI USA
I prefer the Philco 116B myself, it has 10" speaker and tons of bandspread, its easier to tune and sounds better than the Zeniths... but its RF ability is much better too. Its my vote for the "Best tombstone ever by a USA consumer brand company" so that might eliminate Pilot since they sold mostly to Europe.

Mark Oppat
www.oldradioparts.net


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2011 7:50 am 
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This flattop tombstone, not a Walton obviously, was described like this by a seller on radio attic:


" Zenith 10-S-130 Tombstone (1937)
Rarer than the Zenith Walton; and a whole lot better looking too! This was Zenith's top of the line table model for 1937. "

The seller was asking $2750 for it. Sold, but I'm not sure for what amount.


http://web.archive.org/web/200707301623 ... ellerId=23


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2011 9:30 am 
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The only thing unique about a Zenith walton radio is the price some people pay for for one .


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2011 3:06 pm 
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Location: Southern NH, 03076
The Waltons fast rise to absurd prices was certainly fueled by the TV series which has been in constant reruns. It is not the true collector that has been all to blame but the high end consumer who has had the radio placed in their yuppie palace by an equally overpriced interior decorator.

In reality it is only a piece of furniture to show to other less fortunate peers.

As the economy continues to tank the yuppies will be selling everything to raise cash and bargains will be aplenty.

Carl


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2011 4:54 pm 
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The TV show probably helped raise the price of the Walton models way back in the day, but I really doubt that there are still enough collectors and non-collectors out there obsessed enough with a 30 year-old TV show to big big $$$ for a radio that appeared in it. Plenty of other reasons have been listed as to why the Walton radios sell for high prices, and it should be pretty obvious that the Philco 620 wouldn't be selling for $1500 to $3500 even if the Waltons had been carting one around their mountain.

I never watched a single episode of that TV show and yet there were plenty of reasons why I wanted one. I will agree that the Philco 16B and 116B are superior in performance to the 12S232 Walton, but I've yet to have a casual visitor pay more than glancing attention to my 16B. All of them would take the 12S232 Walton because of the shutterdial, tuning eye, and motor that add a wow factor lacking in the 16B -- and while the 16B is a better performer, the 12S232 is no slouch. You'd be hard-pressed to notice much difference when listening to the BC band. Most of it would be due to the larger speaker in the 16B.

Speaking of performance, I'll take another opportunity to praise the 3-legged dog of Walton radios -- the 7J232. It's an *excellent* farm radio, probably one of the best chassis designs Zenith ever came up with. The push-pull audio section puts out excellent sound. It has an RF amp stage and very good sensitivity on the SW bands. It also had the capability of switching to 110v AC power from 6v DC with the flick of a switch on the back. It's a terrific radio that I think even a Walton-hater could learn to love. :D

Bob


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jan Tue 11, 2011 8:51 pm 
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The only time I'm bothered by the price of something is when I can't afford it. :wink:

As mentioned, the Zenith sets were high quality radios in their day. Combine that with the Art Deco styling, high 'gadget factor' of the big, black robot dial that disappears to reveal another, and another; the green tuning eye, push-pull audio, and the amazing (for the day) tuning rate requiring a motor drive to cover in a reasonable time, and you've got a winner.

Now, add all that into what are clearly low numbers compared to many other sets, and it makes for a supply/demand dilemma if you really want one. Nothing mysterious about it, no gold plating involved.

It also appeared on screen in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! before the Waltons aired, IIRC. Next time you watch it, pay close attention when the Japanese pilots are listening in on Honolulu radio on board their carrier before the attack. So maybe it should be called the Zenith Tora3 instead?

Got mine back in 1981-82 time frame from a friend who liked to buy old radios, fix them up, and sell them for a few dollars profit. Can't remember now if I paid $35 or $50 for it, but it was real money at a time when few were looking at electric sets. I just loved the overall package of bells and whistles and didn't give it much thought. It's been my favorite electric set since, long before they became fashionable to own.

Had a collector in GA offer me a SX-88 for it some years back. Wasn't really interested in the -88, and I'm certainly glad I never traded. The value to me isn't it its dollar value, but the enjoyment it brings to myself and those who see it at work.

Just need to fix that slipping tuning belt, change out a few caps....


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