Author Topic: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic  (Read 2552 times)

Offline Slal

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Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« on: September 29, 2014, 08:43:59 PM »
Hi everyone,

Had mailed a seller who had dk-beige phone asking if he might have light gray one.

Replied he will look.  Meanwhile he attached photos of a white one.

White wouldn't be my first choice, but if ends up being part of a package deal-- considering it.

That leads to questions I hope aren't inappropriate here.

1.) Fair market values for white and light gray?  What would they cost at a phone show? 

2.) Conflict of interest, or anyone know reputable sellers who might not advertise online?  After purchase of a 'turquoise' phone that ended up being aqua (and a dial with "dash code" of 57) don't think I'll be doing much on eBay until have learned more.

Attachments:

Phone on left is one seller is keeping.  He included side by side shot for comparison.  Phone on right is one is he offering while looks for light gray one.

Photo two shows possible discoloration to cap or maybe trick of light?

Photo three doesn't seem to show discoloration.

Seller writes dates match except for transmitter & receiver.  They are from August 1958.

Anyway, what say the experts?

thx

--Bruce

PS: If questions like "who sells them" or "how much are they worth" are poor form or might help sellers who lurk.  Will quite understand.  Let know & will edit/delete.

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2014, 08:53:54 PM »
From what I can see there, the phone on the right (from August 1958) looks like a nice soft plastic phone.  The coiled cord looks discolored but you can bleach that and improve the condition.  White is a color that is often difficult to find in soft plastic.  The photo of the underside kind of reveals that there is a date stamped along the inside edge.  I think I can see numbers there.  You might have the seller remove the cover and verify that the housing is soft plastic...ask about the date stamped there.  The leather foot pads are nice.  Around that time the foot pads were rubber or Neoprene...Looks like a nice phone to me.  As I said, White is a difficult color to find in soft plastic.

~Dennis

Offline Slal

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Re: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2014, 08:00:01 PM »
White is a color that is often difficult to find in soft plastic.
~Dennis

Thanks for reply.

Might find this amusing (coming from a newcomer like of me) but you seem to right on the money.

Couldn't find *any* that seemed to match & give me an idea of market value.

Ran across one that looked promising until saw 7 hole transmitter cap. 

"Western Electric 500dr58 white" # 181537179387 

Opening bid = $20.00

R = retractable cord?

Not sure I understand the logic on eBay though (if there is any.)

"Condition of the plastic is mint except for slight discoloration"

If it were mint, then by definition it wouldn't have any discoloration?  :o

Cannot see all of HS cord & this brings up question.  Don't have the following in my time line. 

When did they go from straight to more tapered end that goes into receiver part of handset?

Example of 'tapered' cord  = 271595476503

His price a little ambitious?  What's going on with the feet?  Half are from 1958 or earlier; half from around 1966 or later???  I can't imagine WE being that haphazard for lack of better word.

thx

--Bruce

Offline poplar1

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Re: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2014, 08:13:34 PM »
1st one:
Yes, the R indicates a retractile cord.
If it's 1960, and not black,  then it's not soft plastic.

2nd one:
Original feet were suede. When the phone went back to the WE repair shop, only the torn feet were replaced. Notice the black touch-up paint covering up original date and model number.
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.

Offline jsowers

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Re: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2014, 08:35:01 PM »
Cannot see all of HS cord & this brings up question.  Don't have the following in my time line. 

When did they go from straight to more tapered end that goes into receiver part of handset?

Example of 'tapered' cord  = 271595476503

His price a little ambitious?

The changeover in handset cords to the tapered strain relief was sometime in the mid-1960s, but there is no guarantee that any cord hasn't been replaced either by a phone repairman or the seller. This happened frequently on wall phones. So it's not a good way to date the entire phone. Soft plastic phones normally have thicker handset and mounting cords if they're the originals.
 
The $99 price on that second white phone is too high. It's barely worth the shipping price.
 
You didn't say what you're paying for the white soft plastic on the right in your first picture, but it's a very good example and I am somewhat envious. It's a birthday phone for me. I have plenty of birthday phones, though. Be sure to ask the seller to carefully check over the phone for cracks. White soft plastic has a tendency to crack--I don't know why. As Dennis said, white is difficult to find. Good luck getting your phone.
Jonathan

Offline Slal

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Re: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2014, 07:01:10 PM »

You didn't say what you're paying for the white soft plastic on the right in your first picture, but it's a very good example and I am somewhat envious. It's a birthday phone for me. I have plenty of birthday phones, though. Be sure to ask the seller to carefully check over the phone for cracks. White soft plastic has a tendency to crack--I don't know why. As Dennis said, white is difficult to find. Good luck getting your phone.

Birthday phone eh?  Well if deal does through & you'd like to trade... ; )

Month/year means very little to me-- long as it's reasonable collecting investment & not paying too much again.  ???

Could've been more clear though.  The phone on right is *March* not August.  The two parts that don't match are from August.   Anyway, thanks for HS cord info & caution about plastic cracking. 

To answer your question.  We haven't talked about price for this one or gray yet. 

Think seller is remodeling or something, and so he is busy.  (Maybe reason he's selling some of this "spares" & claims hasn't had time to check storage unit where might have gray one?)
 
What would be a fair offer to him (or unreasonable one made to me) is why was hoping to get some information here. 

After posting this topic though, a search about AE wall phones took me back to CRPF.   Topic had an upset member using a term called "Mr. Helpful."

Now I understand why no price estimates.

Seller from eBay might lurk, and find out a phone is worth X dollars.  He is listing same type phone for only Y dollars.

Seller: "A collector says my phone is worth more?  Raise reserve price!"

As bidders we'd all lose, so my bad.

Thanks for replies about desirability of white phone in soft plastic, dates for timeline, and WE refurbishing practices on seeming 'mismatched' feet.

--Bruce

   

Offline poplar1

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Re: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2014, 07:11:36 PM »
It seems odd that white 1957-early 1959 (soft plastic) 500s are not more plentiful. A 1960 ad suggests that it was the most popular color at 27% of the non-black sets.
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.

Offline jsowers

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Re: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2014, 09:29:10 PM »
What was made and what survived are evidently two different things, and we do see lots more 1960 white 500s than 1957-59 white 500s. Pink, green and red seemed to have survived in greater numbers than yellow and light beige. I don't know why.
 
I looked through bookmarks from 2014 and didn't find a white soft plastic 500 that wasn't painted, so that should tell you a little about rarity. Bruce, you are correct that we really shouldn't place an arbitrary value on these phones in a public venue. It's whatever someone wants to bid, and lately that's been a lot sometimes. Take a look at the thread of 500 set prices David (poplar1) started and we've added to, if you haven't already. There are some prices for light gray, but none for white.
 
http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=12215.msg129033#msg129033
 
Thanks for clearing up the date on the right-hand phone. A phone from March is not a birthday phone for me, only the August capsules. If one of them says 8-20-58, let me know and we can trade.
Jonathan

Offline Slal

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Re: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2014, 07:15:02 PM »
It seems odd that white 1957-early 1959 (soft plastic) 500s are not more plentiful. A 1960 ad suggests that it was the most popular color at 27% of the non-black sets.

What was verdict from earlier topics?  Production numbers or marketing survey?  If production, business or residential?

"Phone in Every Room" -- hotel chains or even hospitals might have bumped % up?  *Subscribers* liked ivory so we see more of that color?  Speculation unless someone has 'collectables' I'd think would be worth more than the phones.

Documents! 

Meanwhile, after a few hours on eBay last night-- gave up.  Couldn't find anything.   

As for birthday phones-- am too young.  Hard plastic and colors in march of 1965 not that appealing. ; )

thx

--Bruce

Offline Slal

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Re: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2014, 01:21:05 PM »
Fly in the ointment. 

Seller sent photos of 'guts' to show matching dates, etc.

About 5 minutes later, a second mail.

"Nevermind.  Has crack.  Sorry didn't catch before."

Replied thanks for being honest, not nec. deal breaker but obviously affect price, etc.

His reply: "As is or want me to make it disappear?"

People can do that? : 0 !

Have read members remark (in passing) about "superglue & sanding" but would think a crack would still be visible unless something is applied *over* it.  (Hence remarks about sanding?)

So right now in holding pattern.  He has to find time; I have to decide if worth pursuing just because phone is soft plastic.

Bottom line:

How can a crack such as one in photo be made to "disappear?"

thx

--Bruce

unbeldi

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Re: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2014, 01:48:48 PM »
It is not easy to completely eliminate visibility.  For example on ivory Tenite 302 housings, I have succeeded to the extent that if you didn't know where the crack was, you'd spend a lot of time find it.

On other colors it really depends on the quality of the crack. The key is to eliminate reflection of light from 'glue imperfections' in the crack. Reflection occurs from regions of changes of the refractive index of the material. This is 'easiest' to avoid when dissolving the same plastic in a solvent and using this as glue, because that leaves only the same kind of material behind when the solvent has diffused out after welding.

The reason that it is harder on deep colored plastics, is because they absorb a certain frequency region of the light before reflection, or upon reflection--absorption and reflection and refractive index are intimately related.  The reflected light is what you see. So with colored plastic one has to match not only the refractive index of the material, but also the absorption spectrum of the material.  White or almost white materials do not absorb much at all.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 02:05:36 PM by unbeldi »

Offline Slal

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Re: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2014, 03:21:41 PM »
Hadn't thought about refraction but makes sense.  Black or white might be easier to match than say aqua or yellow because specific wavelength plus photons straying off at diff. angles? 

Anyway, just a quick update.  While typing last post, our dogs starting barking.  Spend most of their time looking at street though bay window.  They bark all the time when see people outside walking or jogging down street, so I ignore them.   

They also bark at mailman, UPS, or FedEx man when he leaves packages on the porch.  (You can predict where this is going.)

Seller has sent phone "as is."  Didn't know collectors did that with phones.  Pretty common with fountain pens: "I'll send it, you can check X, Y, Z and also see how it writes.  Call me & we'll talk price."

Will update when have spoken to him.

Meanwhile, you do you guys think? 

Leaning towards "leave as is."  Probably do more harm than good if try to 'hide' it.

thx

--Bruce

unbeldi

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Re: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2014, 04:07:03 PM »
Looks like a very nice set. Personally, I would attempt to repair it.  I now know that I won't make it any worse, because I have done it before.  I let a couple expensive phones sit broken for a long time until I had the courage to repair.

Offline Slal

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Re: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2014, 04:08:37 PM »
Looks like a very nice set. Personally, I would attempt to repair it.  I now know that I won't make it any worse, because I have done it before.  I let a couple expensive phones sit broken for a long time until I had the courage to repair.

Thanks.  Good to know crack can be covered up some day.  Have to read up on topic.  Am sure it's probably pinned somewhere.  $10.00 'parts' phone on eBay to practice, or farm out to someone with experience depending on cost.

And that leads to brass tacks. 

With no info. for soft plastic in white, had to get creative.  Average price for some listings on eBay in hard plastic was $69.00 while a soft plastic in Med. blue sold for $129.  That averaged to $99.

Rounded up to an even $100

Fair price or paid too much for a phone with a crack in it?  ???

He's an interesting fellow to talk with since worked for phone company & collects phones.  Has following speculation about why don't see more white ones.

There were so many white ones people just threw them away.  Everyone kept colors like red.    According to him, when they broke up phone company, could get a pallet of full of phones for six dollars.  "If I'd have known then what I know now."

Hind sight is 20-20 as they say.

thx

--Bruce

Offline Kenton K

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Re: Value Questions - WE500D soft plastic
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2014, 04:13:00 PM »
That med blue went for low in my opinion. It did have a crack, repair job, and discoloration though.

KK