Richard Balsbaugh, the founder of Pyramid Communications sold his business in 1996 for $300 million. He is now, a producer of an R&B band, Chivalry, but is best known as a men who made a fortune by revitalizing foundering radio stations, and a men who has enviable collection of vintage radios. Richard Balsbaugh’s private collection of 133 radios designed in America during the 1930s and 1940s, will be offered by Bonhams on December 11th at its New York flagship gallery located at Madison Avenue at 56th Street.
Balsbaugh’s passion for vintage radios started in the 1980’s, when he wandered into an antique shop in Los Angeles, hoping to buy an old radio as a gift for his morning deejay in Boston. He saw a radios made from Catalin, that have fascinated him with the modernist design and bold colors. So, he bought one for deejay, and one for himself- a Fada Bullet, and and soon one of the finest collection began to grow. Condition, form, and color were order of criteria in selecting radios while making his collection.
Highlights of the collection include six examples of the Art Deco Air King Skyscraper 52 radio, designed in 1933. Considered by many to be the epitome of successful architecture-influenced design these radios carry pre-sale estimates ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 each. Colours include a rare crystalline white radio with its original carrying case purchased by the collector at the landmark sale of the Mark Woolley Collection held at Bonhams New York in 2007, as well as almond, brown, and exceedingly rare lavender and mint green examples.
Some of the other radios include: the Emerson Axe235 Little Miracle (1938); Emerson BT 245 Cathedral (1938); Fada 711 (1946); Crosley G-1465 Split Grille (1938); Garod 6AU1 Commander (1945); Fada L56 (1939); Fada 1000 Bullet (1945); Sentinel 284NI, Addison 2 Waterfall Grille (1940); Kadette K 25 Clockette (1937); Arvin 532 (1938) and the Tom Thumb (1938).