Classic Rotary Phones Forum

Telephone Talk => Auction Talk => Topic started by: Stan S on January 29, 2018, 11:28:52 AM

Title: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: Stan S on January 29, 2018, 11:28:52 AM
By now I'm sure everyone who has an interest in 3-slots has seen this auction:

     UNUSUAL-50G-Gray-Telephone-Paystation-Company-3-slot-Pay-Telephone (https://www.ebay.com/itm/UNUSUAL-50G-Gray-Telephone-Paystation-Company-3-slot-Pay-Telephone/323034372584)

Has anyone compared what's in the auction to what a Gray 50G actually is?

There are plenty of Gray 50Gs in the hands of collectors. They are not rare. I've owned a few and presently have one in my collection dated 1930. Even if you don't own one, there is plenty of information within pictures of Gray 50G payphones in the TCI library.

I am posting this in case any member would like to do a comparison of what is currently listed on eBay to the pictures found in the TCI library and to post any differences noted in the comparison including images of the TCI phone and the eBay phone. An exercise to compare and contrast parts in TCI libaray images to images posted in the eBay listing.

Stan S.
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: TelePlay on January 29, 2018, 12:56:01 PM
Good question. It's been asked before about other payphones that the seller has put up on eBay.

The purpose of the contest is to guess the selling price, so all mods or repro parts or whatever would be factored into the guess. The contest title, which I created, says  " . . . Restored from Parts" be they original, not original or repro to make it clear it is not a 100% factory built as built phone.

If payphone experts would like to discuss the phone, it parts or how much is and is not authentic, this topic would be a good place to do that. The phone has some value in that it is currently a bit over $700 with 5 days to go. The contest question now is what will the market do to that price over the next 5 days. I doubt all bidders are members of the forum and will see any of this discussion. Why people buy something for some price is in the mind of the buyer, and I can give you one fantastic example of that tomorrow.

So, from the pictures provided, if those who know payphones want to once again discuss one of these creations, please do it here. Good question and a good exercise for the pros.
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: Haf on January 29, 2018, 05:35:24 PM
There have been many payphones offered on ebay over the years. But I experienced only very few, very very few where the real deal, what you want to see. Unmolested, out of service, the less altered in the field as possible and of course the more uncommon the better. And another disappointing realization, ATCA or TCI membership and their logo within the auction text is far away from a- what it should in my eyes- guarantee for authenticity. Repro parts are made for that long and not beeing marked as repro that even knowledable collectors can't recognize them. At least not by a more or less blurred picture. I would never sell anything repro I know of on ebay without mentioning it clearly within the text. And definitly describe anything wrong against me better knowing or fake something.I once hoped others do so too. well, illusory. Old phones, and payphones too are sold for quite amount of money, so I expect fair sellers and the real deal if. Yes, I know, there is help from ebay for those cases- but why do it that way in the first place?
If I might sound a little bit embittered- well, I guess I am. At least disillusioned. I believe in mutual help amongst collectors and newbies who just start. That's why I'm here.

Haf
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: TelePlay on January 29, 2018, 06:22:30 PM
And another disappointing realization, ATCA or TCI membership and their logo within the auction text is far away from a- what it should in my eyes- guarantee for authenticity. . . .

Of all you wrote, I'm missing something here. I know my eyes are bad but I read the eBay listing 3 times and found no reference to either TCI or ATCA.

The auction contest contains the seller's description as written (except for the pick it up at a telephone show last line) and it still looks like the eBay listing.

The only place TCI shows up is in my Signature line at the very bottom of every one of my posts and that is mine, not the sellers representation.

Did I miss something or did you mistake my Signature for being part of the eBay listing?
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: Stan S on January 29, 2018, 06:34:51 PM
John
Haf was speaking about payphone auctions in generally. He didn't even mention the specific auction I referred to.
Where did you get the idea he was speaking about you?

Stan S.
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: Haf on January 29, 2018, 06:40:32 PM
John,

you are right, this wasn't based on this auction, more general about my experience of ebay payphones and maybe I wrote myself a bit in rage. And I didn't mistake your signature for it. Nothing to complain about the correctness of the auction contest. I'm sorry for confusing you.

Haf
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: TelePlay on January 29, 2018, 06:47:26 PM
Thanks, guys. No, nothing personal. Just couldn't find the reference in the current listing or the contest, except for my signature. That's why I asked.

Yes, I have seen eBay listing where ATCA and TCI are used to add something to the "value" of the item listed. Now I know what you mean. Thanks for clearing that up. That's why I asked.
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: AE_Collector on January 29, 2018, 06:54:36 PM
As mentioned earlier, there is likely no phone item that has been messed with over the years more than payphones. They were much more likely than a conventional phone to be upgraded in the field for any number of reasons and then there is the repairs due to vandalism. Thus finding anything nearly original will likely only happen in phones being sold from the collections of the very few payphone perfectionists amoungst us.

In this case and in my very uneducated opinion, the seller hasnít misrepresented anything like may be seen in many other eBay auctions. The paint job and maybe other features are there to appeal to potential buyers while not claiming that it is as though it just left the factory. Just my (again) uneducated thoughts and opinion.

Terry
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: Payphone installer on January 30, 2018, 07:12:22 AM
Payphones are one of the telephones that seem to stay appealing to collectors and people in general because they are electromechanical. Meaning they physically did something. The handling of the coin also has appeal in the coin op world. Payphones also were systematically gathered up by the telephone companies and up graded. This process caused many models to become very rare. Payphones also experienced so much change over the years that you have to base the look of a certain model on the point in time it was released. A 150-k from the 1920's is not the same as one from 1955. So as for correct it becomes correct for what point in time. As for phones on eBay most two piece phones are wrong. Two piece phones never had a coin return button,they never had a coin release button. There are very few two piece payphones that appear on eBay that are accurate. The other side of the equation is that there is pure treasure in payphones. In other words many very rare items appear from time to time and nobody has a clue what they are looking at. Buying the payphone history book is a must even if you buy one payphone. The book is probably also the best and most complete book on phone signs and phone booths. As for a Gray 50G,a Gray 50 G is a very rare phone, I have one and only ever had the chance to buy one. I paid at the time around 2,200.00 for it. The paper on the inside is marked Gray 50G,the relay is Gray the coils on a Gray relay are black. It is a very rare phone. If I get time I will post some pics. It is up to the buyer to do his or her research on any old telephone. It is the responsibility of the buyer to do his research before a purchase.
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: Stan S on February 02, 2018, 01:28:10 PM
I agree with Payphone installer. It's the responsibility of the buyer to research all the available information before he or she makes a purchase.

That's what makes The Rotary Forum valuable. Every posting on this forum is searchable in Google a few days after it's posted. Google gives priority to educational material. This forum is considered to be educational but we all know the members do the best they can and there are many instances of members contesting "facts" posted, be they in a member's phone or an eBay listing. It is always best for members to try and be as technically correct and true to history as possible in the "facts" they post and if wrong, civily contested or corrected by other member's replies for posterity.

Below are my comments that I found of interest in the eBay payphone auction listing images. They are my comments and once posted, open for discussion and/or correction by other members.

In my personal comparison of the eBay listing images to that which is in the TCI library and other phones that I personally know of, I will start at the top of the payphone and work my way down.

The Code Plate
The seller states the code plate is a casting.

Originally, this type of plate was stamped. It was thin brass material that was on a roll. The rolled material was loaded in a stamping machine that pressed it between two dyes. The top dye was an 'embossing dye' the bottom was a 'debossing dye'. The embossing dye pressed the background which usually had some sort of design in it. The debossing dye pressed out the lettering and the frame from the background. The mounting holes and the shape of the plate were cut out at the same time.

Years ago, I checked into having these number plates replicated like the originals. The cost of recreating the dyes was HUGE! So much for doing it that way. Instead, I decided to do the next best thing, I created a mold and cast them. They look original from the top and did a good job dressing up the payphone. Being a casting, if you looked at the back of the plate, it was flat and totally unlike the embossed plates. To the best of my knowledge, the plate on the phone in the auction is a cast plate, one of which I sold to collectors and gave a supply of them to Paul Vaverchak. The plate on the auction phone may have come from his estate.

While the seller states the plate is a casting, the plate on the auction phone appears to me to be a Western Electric model number plate. The Gray model number plates were flat (no dyes were use). The Gray plates looked like they were engraved. Actually they weren't engraved, they were 'acid etched'. Acid etching is the same process used to manufacture printers plates and later printed circuit boards. Below is a picture of an acid etched Gray Mfg. 50G plate. I also re-manufactured those. Actually, I re-manufactured plates for every model number Gray pay station. Years later, Dick Pitzer also made them.

That's the historical perspective of code plates for anyone to compare and contrast and make their own decision as to the authenticity of this or any code plate.

The Coin Gauge.
The coin gauge shown in the auction listing, to the best of my knowledge, was never used on a Gray 50G.  My opinion is that it was used for Canadian coinage. Gray made 50 series payphones for Canadian coinage but the model was not a 50G. The gauge on this auction phone, if indeed Canadian, was designed for the small, silver Canadian nickel. Those payphones had a very rare coin track. The coin track in the auction payphone does not seem to match the coin gauge. It seems to be one of those parts used by the seller to work, to end up with a working phone.

The Switch Hook.
From the images, it is my opinion that this hook was not used on any model 50G by any manufacture.

The Paper Diagram.
There is a diagram in the phone, the origin of which is questionable.

There's an interesting story that goes with a diagram like that. It is my opinion that the diagram in the auction phone is not for a Gray 50G. P1414701 is a diagram for a Western Electric 50G. In reality, that diagram, which seems to be a copy and not a printed original, was not drawn by Western Electric. It was drawn about 25 years ago by the very well John Infurna. It first appeared in Richard Montjoy's book titled "100 Years Of Bell Telephones" published in 1995. John Infurna recreated the diagram for the book but he couldn't sign his work so he decorated it. That was done so he would be able to identify anyone who used it. Many people have looked at the Infurna diagram and never noticed the decoration used to identity it as his. The "decoration" is circled in red in one of the images below taken from the auction images. The decoration is a set of thin angled lines, some to the right, some to the left, in between the contact blades.

So, it is highly probable that  the diagram in the auction phone is one found/used by the seller to complete his phone.

The Wood Strip.
That very nice looking black wood strip in the auction phone looks like many I have seen in Western Electric 50G payphones. To the best of my knowledge, I have never seen one in a Gray 50G.

The Hopper.
The only sheet metal hoppers I have ever seen in payphones embossed with "The Gray Telephone Paystation Company" were in very early Strowgers that were made for Automatic Electric payphones. To the best of my knowledge, every other model payphone, regardless of manufacturer, used a dye cast hopper.

The Coin Relay.
The coin relay as shown in the eBay listing images seems to be a three spring Western Electric relay.

The Bottom.
It appears the only purpose of the additions to the bottom of the auction payphone is to lift up the front of the payphone so it sits flat. Gray did not manufacture such additions.

I will try to post a picture of the inside of the Gray 50G from my collection and one from Mike Davis's Website in a future reply.

Stan S.
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: Stan S on February 02, 2018, 04:34:24 PM
The attached image below is a picture of a Gray 50G from my collection. I annotated the image showing a few characteristics which make it a Gray. There is also a picture of one of Mike Davis's Gray 50G payphones from his website.

Stan S.
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: kleenax on February 02, 2018, 06:54:20 PM
I would have been disappointed if I didn't hear from Stan Schreier about my eBay posted 50G.
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: Doug Rose on February 02, 2018, 08:10:38 PM
 

It's a hobby, it's supposed to be fun!
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: kleenax on February 02, 2018, 08:43:58 PM


It's a hobby, it's supposed to be fun!

It IS fun!  That's why I do it!
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: AE_Collector on February 02, 2018, 09:48:47 PM
John has probably gone to the liquor store. I'm gonna call him in a moment and see if I can meet him there! Maybe we will stock up there and head across the street to the closest bar...you know, get our seats early for the Super Bowl. I already had a bad day on the stock market today. Anyone into the US Stock Market will say "Yeah but you've been having Great Days for months now so it was time for a small correction". Problem is that the Canadian Stock Market just hasn't been participating in all the recent gains. But bring on a bad day and NOW were participating. Our 19 day old Grandson came by for a visit this afternoon though so Life is Good.

All great info here but we need to keep from it turning into bickering. I know nothing of any "history" between various members though I may be starting to see some. I feel that Stan is a renowned Payphone Expert and value his opinions. Ray does work that I have a great admiration for. I think this disagreement comes down to the fine details of whether it is or is not being deliberately misrepresented keeping in mind that finding a virtually complete 50G with original parts in as new condition isn't going to happen very often at all. The color this phone is painted to me implies that it hasn't been painstakingly restored to its original condition but has been made to represent a 50G as much as possible but not to a purists expectation. Ray maybe could have dwelled more on the parts that are not exact originals to it from the day it left the factory. Ultimately it is up to a bidder to do their homework on an item like this depending on what he is preparing to bid for it. If it sells for around $1000 it has likely been bought by someone who appreciates its great looks. If it sells for many multiples of that then someone may have been carried away bidding without doing enough homework. But that is just how I see it, nothing more.

Above all else we want to keep things friendly here and not get into name calling or making accusations.

So, here is another 50A/50G on eBay at the moment. Whats the scoop on it?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/50A-50G-3-SLOT-2-PIECE-PAYPHONE-GRAY-WESTERN-ELECTRIC-PAYSTATION/112779427137

Terry

Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: Haf on February 04, 2018, 03:13:58 AM

So, here is another 50A/50G on eBay at the moment. Whats the scoop on it?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/50A-50G-3-SLOT-2-PIECE-PAYPHONE-GRAY-WESTERN-ELECTRIC-PAYSTATION/112779427137

Terry



Terry,

this one Mark Johnston is selling on ebay has one of those reproduced coin relays Dick Pitzer once made. It was once in the collection of Dick. Maybe Jim/payphone installer can tell the whole story better, this is one of those from that legendary BECO warehouse find in NY.

Haf
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: Payphone installer on February 04, 2018, 08:04:10 AM
I have been watching this thread and everything you said is exactly correct. I prefer to stay away from any personal stuff and just focus on the technical aspects of collecting. I do believe at the price that some of this stuff sells for it is important for the potential buyers to do their homework and try to the best of their ability to be informed. So onto the Gray Western 50G payphone Mark has for sale. It is a very interesting payphone. It is a 50G in the since of the way it is assembled,meaning the components. It has a correct prepaid relay,the 50G was a prepay telephone. However the prepaid relay was built by Dick Pitzer. It was built with a combination of parts. Some parts of the relay are real most are repro. The relay building project that Dick did was a massive undertaking, he spend several years making the parts. As always he is meticulous in the way he does things. The reason he built the relays is because there was the huge payphone haul found in New York. Problem with the discovery was that there were certain parts missing. Two parts that are the hardest to find to complete rare payphones are the lead coin chutes and the two coil relays.
    Pitzer reproed both parts. The relay in this phone is a Pitzer. There are several ways to tell. When he built the bent magnet for the relays he investigated magnetization of the magnets. It was impossible to accomplish. So a quick way to spot the relay is the magnet is not a magnet. Most of the Pitzer relays are never going to work and were really not designed to. Stan knows as much about relays and may choose to comment more on this. You can also spot the newness of the coils and the parts on top of the relay. The nickeling is very new.
  As for the chute Dick also reproed two chutes one was the chute for the 161A type payphone the other was a early Gray Western chute. So he only ever made two types. The 50G payphone on eBay in my opinion is one of Dicks repro chutes. The chute is the early Gray Western chute on this phone, you can tell right away by  what I call the butterfly shape where the screw holds it in on in the right upper corner. There are two ways you can tell it was a repro,one is it has the exact same imperfections as the original. So that means all the repros have nicks and dents in the lead in exactly the same place. I have the chute they were made from so I can do a stare and compare. I cannot tell from this picture that it is for sure a repro as the picture is not clear. But the chute has a new look lead wise that the real chutes do not have its a aging thing. The other way to tell is if you remove the chute and look at the other side and it has small circles around the nuts. These circles are from a nut driver used to tighten all the nuts on the chutes. On the original chutes the nuts were held stationary so there were no marks of tightening around them. The screws were then threaded into the nuts.

  So to summarize I believe that this phone has a Dick Pitzer chute and relay. The other thing that I see is the coin return frame. On a 50G these were nickel, A/E produced these for many years and changed them from nickel to chrome. There were also very slight changes in the size of the frame. Refurbishers also rechromed the coin frames. This one looks new. The wiring harness on this phone is new. The switch hook pile up looks newer also but it is hard to tell from the front. Many times the A/E pile ups are used on these phones as a result of not being able to find the originals. The terminal strip is original but I am not sure the terminal designations are correct only because I am not whaere I can look at a phone right now. I sold many Gray original terminal strips on eBay that were from handset phones that end up on a two piece phone. They are not correct but look great. Back of the phone is correct,bottom of the phone is correct.
 The upper housing is really interesting as it is very rare. It is a W/E probably from a 50A as Mark states it was from the first Gray Western payphone the holy grail the rarest early payphone you can find except for the 102. In this case a hole was cut in it to mount a dial, there is no should which is often the case on a early 50G that was refurbished from a 50A parts. Keep in mind also that the 50A had a butterfly mount not a 10A mount so there is a hole drilled and probably filled on the front. The 50A also had the card frame directly mounted two the front also with no base plate so those holes are filled. The hook appears to be real, hard to say without a closer look.
  Now that I have typed everything that I have typed you are probably thnking that buying a payphone is a bad idea because I am never going to know what is what. Well that's not correct. Marks payphone is a great phone let me tell you why, this is how I often value payphones if the hook is real which I think it is, the hook is worth 250-350. The upper housing in its current state is a very rare upper probably worth 250.00 as it is because it needs repaired. 1200 if it was fixed. Backboard 100.00. Lower housing 100.00. Wood terminal strip and pile up 100.00, wiring the harness sucks. Dick Pitzers repro two coil relay depending on the model from 250.00-450.00 that's what they sold for. His chutes sold for 250.00 each.
 These prices mirror what the originals sell for. The hopper in this phone is the correct one with nuts holding it together it is rare and sells for around a hundred dollars. A vault door and lock is probably a 75.00 dollar investment now days depending on the type up from there.
 Now I am sure that you can see it can be a really nice payphone for the period built the best way it could be built for the period it represents. Since many of these parts are so hard to find,if a collector is trying to build a certain model he can only do the best he can to try and get it right.
It is often not the sellers effort that is occurring on some of these payphones to deceive, it is just simply ignorance of the correct parts and pieces and the difficulty in finding them. It is also about research. I have owned a ton of payphones and have a lot of time to stare and compare and by no means am always right. Everything I am writing is my opinion based on research and looking at the phones. Marks phone is a nice phone it is basically a 50G built from parts as a refurbisher would do. Jim
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: TelePlay on February 04, 2018, 08:35:45 AM
Jim,

Thank you for posting one of the best discussions of certain payphones I've ever seen on the forum. I'm sure many members will learn much about the what, where, how and most importantly, how those who know price these phones. Explanations supported by examples and comparative facts is a real insight into what a buyer needs to know, or how to go about evaluating a payphone.

This forum is not an appraisal or certification service. It is help to those asking for it to learn, fix and even buy phones on eBay. You were very kind to reveal that in a way that was readable, informative and free of ego driven invective.

Thank you.
Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: Doug Rose on February 04, 2018, 08:51:14 AM
Jim Engle gave a great technical description which I really tried to follow, but I am no expert. I trust you.

There is also a personal side to this. eBay is a hard place to sell. I have sold for almost 20 years. I am a collector first and a seller second. I know how it feels to open a box sent to me and not to get what I expected.

Why do I sell? To make money, it is a business. A good second income. For some, their only income.

I get messages about my auctions, this isn't right, thats wrong. Liar. Thief.  I am old but wasn't around when these were built! Part of the job? I am human. I have feelings. Do my feelings get hurt? I am a big boy.  Maybe, ask Janet.

I feel I am honest. Others may not. It's life. I can't please everyone, but I do try to please myself. I hold myself to high standards. That's my story.

This story:

Not taking sides as I feel both sides got a little  8) carried away. There is a history.

I can only imagine having one of my auctions described at length, in print, showing everything the person thought I did wrong or tried to cover up. Twice! In a Forum of my fellow collectors. Ouch!

eBay is a business and you are trying to make money.

It's a hobby, it's supposed to be fun! 

It's also a business for some. All the buyers need sellers.

It's all about respect. If you don't like the auction, move to the next one.

Title: Re: UNUSUAL 50G Gray Telephone Paystation Company 3-slot Pay Telephone on eBay
Post by: AE_Collector on February 04, 2018, 11:57:18 AM
Doug....also a well said addition to the discussion.

Terry