Express & Star

'Extremely rare' radio discovered in Stafford home during clear-out could fetch thousands at auction

An "extremely rare" American radio from the 1930s which was uncovered in a Stafford loft during a house clear-out could fetch £2,000 under the hammer.

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Charles Hanson with the retro radio which is set to go under the hammer. Photo: Hansons/Nathan Fitzsimmons

The Emerson AU190 Tombstone radio, which dates back to around 1935, has been described as being in "great condition" with "barely any" visible wear and tear.

The retro item, which measures 7ins wide and 10ins high, is also still able to blast a tune almost 90 years on.

Experts at Hansons Auctioneers and Valuers, who will sell the item, have set a guide price of between £1,5000 and £2,000.

Charles Hanson with the retro radio which is set to go under the hammer. Photo: Hansons/Nathan Fitzsimmons

Charles Hanson, owner of the auction firm, which has a saleroom at Bishton Hall in Staffordshire, said: "This is an incredibly scarce example of a radio manufactured in around 1935 in the United States.

"Quite how it found its way into a Staffordshire attic we may never know. It’s a wonderful example of an early radio made by an important American company.

“It was hand polished to create an incredible glass-like finish and is green with an onyx cover. This striking design emerged during the jazz age.

The radio dates back to the 1930s and will go under the hammer this month. Photo: Hansons/Nathan Fitzsimmons

"Its marbleised cabinet is still in its original, untouched condition – that is remarkable when you consider it’s nearly 100 years old.

“The radio cabinet and knobs are also in perfect condition with no cracks, chips or repairs. It has what is known as a gemloid dial which is also bright, though there is minor wear commensurate with its age. It even has its original cloth cord."

Emerson Radio Corporation is one of the United States' largest volume consumer electronics distributors, with a trademark in continuous use since 1912.

The company was incorporated in 1915 as Emerson Phonograph Co, based in New York City, by early recording engineer and executive Victor Hugo Emerson.

The radio will go up for auction this month. Photo: Hansons/Nathan Fitzsimmons

The first factories were opened in Chicago and Boston in 1920 but in December of that year, the company fell victim to a sales slump which affected the entire phonograph industry after the First World War.

It quickly went from the self-claimed third largest US record manufacturer into receivership, but re-emerged and reinvented itself in subsequent decades.

Hansons Auctioneers holds multiple auctions each month, with all broadcast live online at

The radio will go under the hammer this month, with the exact date yet to be decided.