The Mark Woolley Collection of Vintage Radios to be Auctioned in New York City on December 19 – The Mark Woolley Collection of Vintage Radios will be presented to bidders at Bonhams on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2007 in New York City. The international auctioneers will conduct an auction event that will surely serve as a benchmark in the collecting history of this field. The auction will begin at 10am at the Bonhams New York gallery located on the sixth floor of the historic Fuller Building, 595 Madison Avenue at 57th Street.

This well-known, important private collection consists of more than 200 radio models designed and created in America during the 1930s and 1940s. A large number of pieces from the collection have been published in John Sideli’s Classic Plastic Radios of the 1930s and 1940s- A Collector’s Guide to Catalin Models — long considered to be one of the most important reference works on the subject. Several radios from the collection were also included in a Smithsonian exhibition Engines of Change: The American Industrial Revolution, which closed in 2006.

While attending the York (Pennsylvania) Fair in 1982, Mr. Woolley came upon a dealer’s display of Catalin radios. Knowing little of the subject, he was drawn to the vivid colors and design of the objects. The dealer had already sold every radio in the booth, and Mark was left intrigued. He returned home and began researching these objects. Mr. Woolley purchased his first radio, an Emerson Patriot (lot 5186), in New York City in 1982 for $1,200; the collection grew over the years to include as many as 400 examples, later to be gradually refined to the current offering.

Heralded in its day as the gaudy brother of somber Bakelite, Catalin has since been confused with and often mistaken for Bakelite. Unlike Bakelite, Catalin was cast in its original liquid resin state and could be manipulated and tinted to any desired color. Catalin became the material of choice for designers of the day who wished to use color, relegating Bakelite to more industrial utilitarian uses.

Just as the Catalin radio market was getting underway, the advent of World War II forced production to cease. Production of many brands and models was never revived after the war, and several of the models introduced circa 1940 are today among the most rare and highly sought after by collectors.

After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, many industrial manufacturers actively participated in the wave of American patriotism that swept the nation. Chief among them was the Fada Radio Corporation which issued red, white and blue examples of two of their most popular models at the time: the 115 Streamliner, and the Fada L56. These patriotic examples were aptly named “The All American” models. At the time of printing Classic Plastic Radios of the 1930s and 1940s, author John Sideli noted that he was aware of only two known examples of The All American Streamliner. Three examples of this model will be offered on December 19th, estimates ranging between $5,000 and $10,000 for each.

Also included in this collection are fascinating radios designed by Norman Bel Geddes, Frank Glover, J. Samson Spencer and Walter Dorwin Teague. Of particular interest will be a spectacular grouping of 13 examples of the severely Art Deco Air King 52. Designed in 1933 by Harold Van Doren and cast in three variants in shades of red, white, black, mint green, blue and lavender, these radios carry pre-sale estimates ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 each.

Among the many models to be offered are: the Emerson AX235 Little Miracle (1938), Cyarts B (1946), Emerson BT 245 Cathedral (1938), Fada 711 (1946), Garod 6AU1 Commander (1945), Fada L56 (1939), Fada 1000 Bullet (1945), Sentinel 284NI, Addison 2 Waterfall Grille (1940) , Kadette K 25 Clockette (1937), Sparton Cloisonne (1945), Arvin 532 (1938), Tom Thumb (1938), and the rare Symphony Split Grille (1939).