This week I saw an ad on the local Craigslist site for an Atwater Kent radio for only $25. The picture was of a handsome 1930-ish console. No model number or other info. I Googled "atwater kent console" and doggone if the first listing wasn't exactly that radio -- a 1930 model 70, with a type L chassis. Now, just about any Atwater Kent is worth more than $25. And while I certainly don't need another big ol' console, such radios often contain tubes that are worth more than that. The L chassis has two type 45 power triode tubes that typically retail for more than $30 each, used. So if the tubes were in this old radio, it would be worth the purchase.
So I trekked down to Plymouth after work -- about an hour's drive -- and met with the seller. He'd gotten the radio in an estate clean-out, and was only interested in getting it out of his truck. Well, the thing is gorgeous! The cabinet is in nearly perfect condition, or as near as you'd expect a 78-year-old piece of wood furniture to be. There are just a few minor scratches which should fade under a little polishing. The radio chassis is complete, though dusty, and the speaker (a separate assembly the size of a football helmet, but heavier) looks like new. The grill cloth is still tight and solid. My wife likes it so much that she's suggested it find a place in the living room!
So far I haven't powered it up, or even tested the tubes. But it looks like it will join my Philco 65 console (a lesser radio, in need of more cabinet work, but only $20 from Craigslist) in my small pantheon of well-received old-radio bargains.