[AMRadio] Can You Believe It? Johnson 500 / Collins 30K

Todd, KA1KAQ ka1kaq at gmail.com
Mon Sep 17 11:00:13 EDT 2007

On 9/15/07, Ellen Rugowski <ellenjoanne2003 at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

> But as I've been told numerous times in the past few months, the days of the
> cheapo "for the asking" old rigs seem to be going away.  Oh well.  Still,
> the 30K1 is a prewar rig, and they are rare (as Jack mentioned).  $3400 for
> a 500 Viking seems over the top.

Some folks are still stuck in the "I used to pay $5 for those, so they
aren't worth more" mode of thinking, despite everything else in the
world costing more. The good deals are as numerous as we are
resourceful. Convenience costs more.

It really depends what you want it for, and how you look at it
overall. For example, someone who wants to best, cleanest example for
display or bragging rights will likely pay more money than any 'user'
would. I always try to find rigs in good cosmetic shape paint-wise
simply because it's the part of restoration I'm not well versed in,
but I don't let a few flaws stop me from picking up an interesting rig
(if it's within my price range, of course). Zorched parts, missing
parts - generally not a problem.

The 30K was actually a post-war model, some say styled after the
pre-war 30J (one nice looking transmitter). In 1948 the selling price
for the later 30K-1 and 310A-1 exciter was $1450. If you run that
through an inflation calculator it comes out to $12647.39 in 2006
dollars. If you run $4000 backwards to 1948 dollars, it comes to
$458.59. Certainly not chump change back then, but roughly one third
of the 30K-1 selling price.

The KW-1 tracks the same: the $3850 price in 1952 would've cost
$28873.34 in 2006 dollars. Most KW-1s in nice shape the last decade
have sold between $20-$25K with a few highs and lows either side. Not
too far off, really. But clearly - if you'd bought a KW-1 new and
stored it away for 55 years, you'd get your money back but not much
more, so not a very good "investment".

The Johnson 500 price between 1956-63(not sure if it varied) lists as
$949.50 factory assembled. Even going with 1963 dollars to 2006, it
still comes out at $6114.65. You'd pay that much or more for some of
the latest plastic whizbang boxes. So it really comes down to what you
want, what you enjoy, and what you're comfortable paying for your
toys. Supply/demand, desirability, etc. It's only worth to you what
you're willing to pay.

And Wayne, I can certainly relate! I feel the same about the KW-1,
bought mine in 1988 with a bunch of other stuff from an antique shop
for $350 and had maybe $50 in it at the time (didn't even know what it
was beyond a BIG transmitter). Wouldn't pay the going rate for one
today, at least not with my current income. Had offers over the years
to sell it, no way. It's too much fun to play with and work on.

~ Todd,  KA1KAQ

Collins 30K List: http://amfone.net/Collins/30k.htm

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