RCA Theremin for sale on eBay

Posted: 3/31/2005 6:52:18 PM

From: Los Angeles

Joined: 3/8/2005

Boy, that one looks familiar! I remember it selling on Ebay about a year or so ago (I was one of the bidders).

I think it originally sold for around $4000. Not a good sign that after all the work he has done to it that it still doesn't even play.
Posted: 4/1/2005 8:07:38 PM
Andrew Baron

Joined: 2/18/2005

To the best of my knowledge, seller "tonegod" hasn't done any further work than locating and installing the missing tubes. Speaking as a person who restores vintage electronics, I would much rather find a rarity like this in its original condition than after someone else has worked on it. This is the best way to assure that you're dealing solely with the issues it has, and not new problems creating by a well-meaning but unsuccessful attempt at repair. Close-up photos in the selling page show that the original cloth wiring is intact and even has identifiable color coding. I've seen a lot of late '20s vintage radios, RCA and otherwise, where the wire colors have all faded to a neutral shade of beige. Despite the missing doors, the large air coils don't appear to have major damage. I would consider this theremin to be a good candidate for restoration, and just as historically significant as its better-preserved siblings, and potentially available for a fraction of the price.
Posted: 4/1/2005 8:50:30 PM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

Good to "see" you Andy! Yes, this is the theremin Rita sold back in October of 2003. I knew I recognized it as soon as I saw it. The full frontal shot with the bent antenna is the same one Rita used. I do believe "tonegod" said he had two new antenna and hinges made (by Floyd Engels?) but they need to be plated.
Posted: 4/2/2005 6:40:40 PM
Andrew Baron

Joined: 2/18/2005

Greetings, Jeff ~
This does appear to be the one that Rita sold last year for $3,800+. Before I obtained my RCA, I was very interested in this one and had Rita email me lots of pictures. My impression from these is that this theremin is a very solid, and (apart from the doors), very complete unit; especially now that Jack has had the antennas made and completed the tube lineup. The worst I could see from the photos that Rita sent me was the partial 3/4" round hole, partway through the lower front panel, and a back leg appeared to need tightening up. I believe it still represents good value for someone who's not afraid to work on it. The price is somewhere around 1/3 to 1/4 of the restored value; not a bad deal. If there aren't any breaks in the windings on the large air coils, there's a 50/50 chance it will work as is, based on my experience with a number of 1929-1930 RCA Superhets that I've serviced.
Posted: 4/4/2005 12:50:13 AM

From: Los Angeles

Joined: 3/8/2005

"This item is no longer available because the seller ended the auction early"

....Guess he decided to keep it.....

Posted: 4/19/2005 6:30:12 PM

From: Los Angeles

Joined: 3/8/2005

Once again, it is back up for auction:


Guess he can't decide whether he wants to sell it or keep it.......
Posted: 4/20/2005 1:36:29 PM
Charlie D

From: England

Joined: 2/28/2005

It looks so appalingly damaged. . . I just hope it goes to someone who restores and playes it, rather than just buys it to make a profit.
Posted: 4/20/2005 1:48:23 PM

From: Virginia

Joined: 4/20/2005

Hi all,

Someone sent me your posts and thought I would just say a few words about the theremin.. Yes it is mine and yes I did put it back on ebay.. I took it off for two reasons, (1) some bad remarks from someone in the theremin world and (2) someone offered to help me get it going.. the latter never happened because of time.. so I decided to put it back on ebay and let it go to a good home. Andrew is right I have never fired it up... Last week I almost did plug it in to see what it would do.. but chickened out!! Probably should do it, but I would be sick if I fried something just by doing so. I have no idea what it would do. It is so old and has not seen action in quite a while. I would suggest to ever gets it to bring up the voltage slowly with a Variac.. just to stablize the Capacitors..

Well that is about it, hope it goes to a good home, hopefully someone from Theremin world that will bring it back to life. I am torn with selling it, in fact I have thought even now of keeping it, but I just don't have the time... Well thanks for listenning...

Posted: 5/2/2005 9:00:10 PM

From: Los Angeles

Joined: 3/8/2005

Look like he got his money back.

I hope we will see this one restored back to playable condition soon. It is sad to see one in such poor condition.

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