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Zenith short-wave radios of ’40s, ’50s noted for durability, reception


Q: After the end of World War II, my dad had three brothers who were still serving in the military in Europe and Asia. He purchased a Zenith Trans-Oceanic Radio in 1947 so he could monitor shortwave broadcasts from around the world. It is the 8G005Y and is still in working condition. Even though I do not want to sell it, I am curious about its history. – Stan, Tucson.

A: The first Zenith Trans-Oceanic radio was manufactured in 1942 as the Model 7G605 and marketed as the Trans-Oceanic Clipper. It was the brainchild of Eugene F. McDonald, the company’s founder, but production ended after only three or four months because of a commitment to the war effort. Those first units were priced at the rather stiff price of $75 each and only about 35,000 were sold.

After the war, Zenith once again began producing the Trans-Oceanic radio. It was priced at $125 and was in production from 1946-49. It was replaced in 1949 by a new stream-lined model that was $50 cheaper and featured updated technology that made it easier to use. That model was eventually withdrawn and replaced by the H500 “Super Trans-Oceanic” during the spring of 1951. After a series of “new and updated” models and designs, the last Zenith Trans-Oceanics rolled off the production line in 1981.

This radio was popular, despite its high cost, for two main reasons: They were durable; and as shortwave receivers, the radios were almost unequalled.

Prices vary. I found several Zenith Trans-Oceanics on eBay in the $75-$200 range. A serious collector claims that because only 35,000 Model 7G605s made it to the marketplace, they are extremely rare and are worth five or six times what the values of later models that were sold between 1946 and 1949.

For repair of older radios, I recommend Dave Vaughn of Dave’s Antiques, 449 W. 29th St., 790-2186.

One of my favorite references is Collector’s Guide to Antique Radios by John Slusser (Collector Books, $19.95).

Q: I have a pair of candlesticks made by the Gonder Pottery Co. What can you tell me about this company and how much are mine worth? – Yolanda, Tucson

A: The Gonder Pottery Co. was established in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1941 by Lewton Gonder. Production ceased in 1957. Your candlesticks are worth about $40 if they are the starfish design, less if not.

Q: I have a Fort Worth newspaper “Extra” that was issued to announce the end of World War I. I have been offered $100 for it. Should I sell? – Steve, Tucson.

A: Take the money and run. Your paper is worth about $20, complete and in excellent condition.

Editor’s note: Due to the imminent closure of the Tucson Citizen, this column will no longer accept antique or collectible questions from readers.


This handsome Victorian compote is $59 at Tom’s Fine Furniture, 5454 E. Pima St.

Zenith shortwave radios noted for durability, reception

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