Catalin Radio Buying Tips

Our best customers are those that are passionate about antique radios and and in particular, Catalin radios.  We assist those that are looking to buy a radio from us with high definition (Zoom) pictures, complete and accurate written description and customer service via our Contact Us Tab, emails and telephone calls.

As an extension of these points of contacts, we are adding collector resource pages that go further in detail of the radio hobby and buying/selling radios. We hope you find these buying tips helpful.

Do Not Buy Impulsively

Catalin radio collectors are excited when they see a radio that they really like. Do not let your impulse to buy cause you to skip any of the tips on this list.

Avoid Costly Mistakes

Catalin radio collecting is a tremendously rewarding hobby. However, to have a first rate collection, you need be structured in your collecting approach. Establish your buying standards, a monthly budget and a radio inventory in your collection.

Read About Premodern Plastics

Catalin plastic is an often times misused word to describe the material in a radio cabinet. Make sure you know the difference between the pre-modern plastics: Catalin, Bakelite, Plaskon and Tenite

Know The Catalin Radio Models

The best way to begin your Catalin radio collection is to know what models were made. The best collector resource is John Sideli's book, Plastic Radios of the 1930s-40s

Investigate Radio's Rarity & Desirability

Do a Google search using the following sample format: Arvin 532 Catalin Radio Yellow and Tortoise. This search needs to determine model rarity and desirability.

Know Defects by Radio Model

Each Catalin radio model have known areas of damage susceptibility. Learn what they are and focus on those cabinet/trim areas of each model that may have damage.

Establish your buying standards as high as possible.  Serious Catalin Radio Collectors buy radios in excellent or pristine condition. That means the radio is 100% original, complete and defect free.  Cabinet defects are defined as cracks, chips, nicks, hairlines, tube burns, repairs or reproduction parts.

There are exceptions to a collector's standards for ultra rare and super radio radio models.

Examine Interior Cabinet Pictures

Internal pictures of a Catalin radio cabinet with the chassis pulled are revealing and give you the best view to determine the integrity of the cabinet. It will reveal hidden repairs and internal hairlines that would otherwise be overlooked.

Confirm Radio Has Correct Chassis

Most Catalin radio are around 85 years old. During this long history and particularly when their values low, owners & technicians, without regard, switched out parts and chassis. Make sure the chassis in a radio you are looking at has its Correct Chassis Section.

Does the Radio Have Reproduction Parts

Quality and matching, original Catalin parts are difficult to find and are expensive.  The cost of original parts are equal to the increase value these parts bring to the radio. 

There is a purpose however for reproduction, resin based, parts. The  It is acceptable to use reproduction trim (Knobs, handle and Grilles) as a placeholder until original parts are found. Also, some trim pieces never come to market. Confirm the trim is original by requesting pictures of the back side or bottom of each piece of trim.

Obtain a Written Radio Description

Serious Catalin radio collectors need to consider only flawless condition and avoid radios that has cabinet or trim defects such as cracks, chips, nicks, hairlines, warpage, tube burns, repairs or reproduction parts.

If any of these radio defects exist, the radio value may drop as much as 60% of the regular price average.

Check Comparatives

Around the time you plan to buy a radio, check all Catalin radio Internet Sales Channels and compare the condition and pricing of the model/color you are planning to buy.

Align Yourself With a Knowledgeable "Radio Guy"

A second set of eyes is always a good idea when deciding to buy your radio selections. May be this second opinion will save you from an expensive collector mistakes.

We Want to Make Your Buying Experience The Best!

Most Catalin radio collectors are limited by their display space and budget.  We work with our customers to build a collection of strong reputation and quality within these constraints.

The more you interact with us, the better your radio collection will be.


+1 (508) 868-4022

Feel Free To Message, Email or Call Us About Your Radio Questions.

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