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Thread: High End Zenith Cabinet Stereo (pictures)

  1. #1
    President Member WCP's Avatar
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    High End Zenith Cabinet Stereo (pictures)

    I'm under pressure from my "better half" to sell a cabinet stereo that we purchased in 1966 and need to determine whether it has any significant value for sale. It is a Zenith MNT2670W with built-in reel to reel tape player and is fully functional. It cost us $1250cdn plus tax in '66. It is a big unit with the walnut cabinet measuring 64.5" in length. Any ideas or comments would be welcome. Some recent chatter on the web suggests that there are some collectors that value this type of "retro" sound machine.

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    We purchased a new walnut cabinent (about five feet long/wide) stereo in 1964. It always played very well and had great speakers. We left it in our last house when we moved in 1991. I didn't think that it had much value then and I see them at auction now and they hardly draw any bid.

    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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    There are web sites dedicated to vacuum tube stereo equipment, and also to early transistor radios, but I don't think there's much of a market for the big console stereos. The reel-to-reel tape deck might be worth saving, though without a case, it wouldn't be worth much.

    Skip Lackie
    Washington DC

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    Golden Hawk Member bams50's Avatar
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    I love the looks of those old things, but not enough to want one taking up space. If there is a market, I'd think eBay is the place to start. Here's a quick search I did:

    http://tinyurl.com/y57q9vw

    Look at not only the prices, but which actually have bids. Also, go down the left column and check 'completed listings'. This should give you some ideas. Good luck.

    Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
    Parish, central NY 13131

    GOD BLESS AMERICA
    Ephesians 6:10-17






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    President Member PlainBrownR2's Avatar
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    The amateur radio guys will pay big money for the antique radios. It's mainly a smaller hobby within the service to restore these old radios to cherry condition, and many of them come out looking spectacular. The hitch is I don't know the value of the more modern console radios, but you may wanna check with these guys. The owner has over 1000 pictures of antique radios, so he may have an idea on the value of your radio there.

    http://antique-radios.net/

    As an aside, I know a couple of electronics guys who relish restoring the smaller table and pocket transistor radios from yesterday to like new condition. What's interesting is they have a couple of the console radios(well modern 70's-ish jukeboxes), in the same "man cave" as the cars inhabit .

    [IMG=left]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/55%20Studebaker%20Commander%20Streetrod%20Project/P1010531-1.jpg[/IMG=left]
    [IMG=left]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/55%20Studebaker%20Commander%20Streetrod%20Project/P1010550-1.jpg[/IMG=left]
    [IMG=right]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/Ex%20Studebaker%20Plant%20Locomotive/P1000578-1.jpg[/IMG=right]
    [IMG=right]http://i158.photobucket.com/albums/t102/PlainBrownR2/My%201964%20Studebaker%20Commander%20R2/P1010168.jpg[/IMG=right]


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    President Member WCP's Avatar
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    Thanks for the leads. This unit is the 1st year of the all solid state players from Zenith, except for the pop-up reel to reel tape player that is tube based. It appears that the tube based players are of more interest to vintage collectors.

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    Golden Hawk Member rockne10's Avatar
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    You could always gut it and turn it in to a post-deco bar.
    My Dad did that with the big Zenith he purchased new in 1956. He thought about doing that to the Curtis-Mathes TV cabinet too.

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    Now that inverters are easily had...would it fit under my dash or would I have to put it in the back?
    how's the base....boom chica boom, chica boom



    Bill Foy
    Kingston, Ontario
    1964 Wagonaire Slider

  9. #9
    President Member WCP's Avatar
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    Actually, you could hang it on the back and broadcast political campaign messages as you drive about - 160 watts EIA, or is that EIEIO! You would have to beef up the back springs, though or raise the drivers seat.

  10. #10
    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    I have two of those old living room hi-fi's here, both Electrohomes. One belonged to my folks, and my mom gave it to me when she downsized. That is one I will NEVER part with; I grew up listening to the British Invasion on that one![8D][8D] The other one was owned by a friend of mine's folks who also downsized. Its from the late 1950's, and I was sympathetic for it, as the cabinent is in mint shape. If I didn't speak for it, the poor thing would have been chopped into firewood.[B)] As far as value for them things, one only has to look in the back to see why, especially when the chassis' were transistorized starting in the middle sixties. The electronic components only occupied a fraction of the space inside the often-extravagent wooden cabinets that housed them. Unless its ultra Avant-Garde modern for the era like a G-series Clairtone, Electrohome 'Circa' collection, or an RCA 'Forma' collection, they just don't bring in a lot of $$ due to their bulkiness.

    Craig

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    President Member TX Rebel's Avatar
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    I saw an old late 40's-early 50's console unit on ebay recently that had a phonograph, radio, & wire recorder in it for a good price, but it was in WI, so I had to pass...

    Barry'd in Studes

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    $1250 was a ton of money in 1966!
    Zenith built fine, high quality electronics for decades; some of the best transistor radios from the 50's and 60's were Zeniths, and most are familiar with the all-band Trans-Oceanic portables.
    The cabinet style of yours is important to worth, as Craig stated. If your console is contemporary (mid-century modern, danish modern) then it will have interest. Period cabinetry such as colonial will find much less interest. Put it on craigslist to see if there is any takers. Post a picture if you can.
    I refinished a '64 RCA console, danish modern, that sits in our foyer. It's half "solid state" (amp) and half tube (tuner), and the amp only works on one track. The cabinet was sun faded, but in good shape, and I paid around $300.00 for it in an antique shop. I completely sanded the cabinet down to bare wood, carefully, because it's just veneer, and sprayed it to the original walnut finish. It's a beautiful piece of furniture.

  13. #13
    President Member WCP's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments, autocrat. Our unit is Danish modern. The cabinet rests on somewhat fragile legs. When we purchased it in '66, it was delivered mounted on a pallet with vertical supports under the cabinet, such that the legs were suspended, and all in a big cardboard box. I'll take some pictures tomorrow and see if I can post them.

  14. #14
    Golden Hawk Member JDP's Avatar
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    quote:Originally posted by autocrat

    $1250 was a ton of money in 1966!
    Zenith built fine, high quality electronics for decades; some of the best transistor radios from the 50's and 60's were Zeniths, and most are familiar with the all-band Trans-Oceanic portables.
    The cabinet style of yours is important to worth, as Craig stated. If your console is contemporary (mid-century modern, danish modern) then it will have interest. Period cabinetry such as colonial will find much less interest. Put it on craigslist to see if there is any takers. Post a picture if you can.
    I refinished a '64 RCA console, danish modern, that sits in our foyer. It's half "solid state" (amp) and half tube (tuner), and the amp only works on one track. The cabinet was sun faded, but in good shape, and I paid around $300.00 for it in an antique shop. I completely sanded the cabinet down to bare wood, carefully, because it's just veneer, and sprayed it to the original walnut finish. It's a beautiful piece of furniture.
    Now you made me look at Bam's link and I find a neat piece right on the way to the casino. I don't NEED it, but for the low bid I might want it.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/_W0QQitemZ220591344747

    JDP Maryland

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    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    quote:Originally posted by WCP

    Thanks for the comments, autocrat. Our unit is Danish modern. The cabinet rests on somewhat fragile legs. When we purchased it in '66, it was delivered mounted on a pallet with vertical supports under the cabinet, such that the legs were suspended, and all in a big cardboard box. I'll take some pictures tomorrow and see if I can post them.
    Does it have any fancy 'extras' like a reverb? That just may add a few more 'points' to its worth. My great-aunt did have a Motorola hi-fi, circa-1963 with a built-in reverb. The front had three panels, the two ends for left and right channels, and the center for the reverb unit. It was a 'contemporary modern' style, but not 'out-of-this-world' modern like a ball-speaker Clairtone G-series.

    Craig

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    The problem with the later solid state stereo consoles is their size. I collect antique radios and early tube type audio equipment, and I am in contact with other collectors and restorers. Unfortunately, the larger consoles aren't worth much money, especially the solid state units in today's market. You would be better off listing your console on your local Craigs list as the shipping price for your radio would far exceed the price of the radio for many people that buy on EBAY. You can ask about your radio at antique radios.com and post your question on the vintage audio forum. Bud

  17. #17
    President Member WCP's Avatar
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    These are the pictures of the Zenith unit. After much difficulty I finally figured out how to include a picture from this new Apple. I've still got a few kinks to iron out!












  18. #18
    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    quote:Originally posted by WCP

    These are the pictures of the Zenith unit.
    It truly is a mid-century jewel with its contemporary Scandinavian Modern cabinet. Those adjustable speaker baffles only add to its character. Are you going to throw in some Herb Alpert and some Bob Crewe Generation LP's in the built-in record holder along with the sale??

    Craig

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    President Member aarrggh's Avatar
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    I have an old beast radio taking up space too..It works but i dont want too plug it in and burn my house down..





  20. #20
    Golden Hawk Member bams50's Avatar
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    Very nie guys. But my eyes must be failing- I couldn't see where the iPod plugs in on any of them??

    I just remembered seeing one of these cabinets a few years back that so
    someone had gutted and built within a Rube Goldberg-type rig for transferring tapes and records to an iPod. Of course now there are plenty of much simpler machines all ready to do just that, and don't cost much either. Gotta get me one someday[8D]

    Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
    Parish, central NY 13131

    GOD BLESS AMERICA
    Ephesians 6:10-17






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    aarrggh,That big Crosley radio is worth money as it is a very collectable pre world war 2 high tube count radio. Its value will vary, depending on what part of the country you live in. If its electronics are restored properly, it's a great sounding radio. Bud

  22. #22
    President Member WCP's Avatar
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    Interesting comment concerning your iPod Bams. Actually I have a CD player and TV/VCR/DVD that plays through this stereo as well as a pair of large speakers in the basement. Great sound!

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    I had one of those multi-band upright radios that I used as a garage radio. I left it in my last house in 1991.

    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

  24. #24
    Silver Hawk Member JBOYLE's Avatar
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    If you had the space...always a problem...

    It would be great to get a unit like that and some other early-60s "contemporary" furniture pieces to furnish a corner of your garage...it would be a great setting for an Avanti or GT (or Riveria, T-Bird or Lincoln) of the era.

    63 Avanti R1 2788
    1914 Stutz Bearcat
    (George Barris replica)

    Washington State

  25. #25
    President Member aarrggh's Avatar
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    quote:Originally posted by Bud

    aarrggh,That big Crosley radio is worth money as it is a very collectable pre world war 2 high tube count radio. Its value will vary, depending on what part of the country you live in. If its electronics are restored properly, it's a great sounding radio. Bud
    Thanks Bud :: Its just one of many interesting things i have decorating my house..



  26. #26
    Golden Hawk Member 8E45E's Avatar
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    quote:Originally posted by aarrggh

    quote:Originally posted by Bud

    aarrggh,That big Crosley radio is worth money as it is a very collectable pre world war 2 high tube count radio. Its value will vary, depending on what part of the country you live in. If its electronics are restored properly, it's a great sounding radio. Bud
    Thanks Bud :: Its just one of many interesting things i have decorating my house..
    I kind of see where this thread is going![^] And it is gravitating towards the topic on this thread: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...hTerms=seeburg

    Craig

  27. #27
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    WPC, your stereo has a beautiful cabinet, mid-century pieces are in demand, and you should have no trouble selling it. You can also uplink your photos to the online Radio Museum http://www.radiomuseum.org/ , a great site.

  28. #28
    President Member Bordeaux Daytona's Avatar
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    Neat Stereo!
    I went to a garage sale last friday and there was one just like it there except it didn't have the reel to reel, there was a storage bin there instead.
    The guy didn't give me a price, he said it was his parents.
    I would think the reel to reel would make it more desirable, I've never seen one with it.
    I used to work with a guy that collected juke boxes and he had a couple consoles that had lp changers in them. I think they might have been Seeburg's and held 50 lps.
    There's some info here.
    http://home.pacbell.net/fmillera/home_units.htm
    John V.




  29. #29
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    You know, I've got one of these things (a Magnavox) in my living room. I like it because it's retro and besides, it still works. How else to you play vinyl.

    Mark Anderson
    Member SDC and FMCA
    Keeper of the Studebaker Cruiser Registry
    www.65cruiser.com



  30. #30
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    We bought a Magnavox console in 1962 and it put out some great sounds. We lived near the Heath-Kit company and some of my friends had great equipment that had Heath components. Eventually, Zenith bought Heath and in a few years the market for the do-it-yourselfers seemed to disappear. Many of the local schools first computers were Heath-Zenith. Probably, Some Heath equipment shows up from time to time. Not on topic, but in the 60's I recall an unassembled Heath-Kit airplane still in the box for sale in a local shopper. It would have been a great buy for sale in today's world.

  31. #31
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    I'd have to agree, the mid-'60s consoles have very little value to collectors, regardless of how nice they are. The antique radio guys usually avoid anything solid-state, other than the transistor radio collectors.

    Your best bet would be finding someone who seeks to decorate their home in Danish modern.
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

  32. #32
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    I wonder how many people know that on those antique radios, the "Police Band" at that time was FM. If you use the same band today, you get the regular FM stations in the range..
    Bob Johnstone

    64 GT Hawk (K7)
    1970 Avanti (R3)

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    In the pre WW2 radios, the police band was in the 1.8 to 5.5 mhz band on AM not FM. There were a few radios built in 1940 and 1941, Philco and Zenith come to mind among others that had low band FM in them which was 42 to 50 mhz. Bud

  34. #34
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    I am a sucker for those things! I love 'em! I have a few older style tube radios and various equipment already...and space is not an issue...but I just cant justify the expense...but I sure wish I could! whatever you do, don't junk the thing or just give it away to some ungrateful fella. It is worth preserving!

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