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Auction (150 Cancelled: Did not exceed reserve) AB/NET&T Phone - Ended 11/16/14

Started by TelePlay, November 06, 2014, 07:56:27 AM

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New forum members are very welcome and encouraged to take a guess. After all, there are no wrong guesses, just one lucky one. No one knows the winning bid on any auction until it ends. However, it is important to get your guess in before someone else grabs your guess.

As with recent reserve auctions, the right is hereby reserved to cancel this auction completely with no winner if the auction bids DO NOT exceed the reserve, whatever that might be, when the eBay auction ends.

Since the seller added a BIN price of $12,000 after this contest was started, the contest will proceed but if the phone sells by way of the BIN option, the right is hereby reserved to cancel this auction completely with no winner.

While this eBay listing violates both of my selection rules at the same time ( a high starting price and a reserve ), I thought this unique phone would make a good auction contest candidate for our 150th contest. Listed about 4 hours ago in a 10 day auction with a reserve ( thanks to Doug Rose for the heads up on this old phone ) is a very interesting old phone starting at $1,000.00 with hopefully a realistic reserve (somewhat less than a gazillion dollars, that is). The listing is still waiting for its first bid. This phone is being discussed in its own topic on the forum so place your guesses here and discuss the phone at this link.

So, with that said, once again, who knows best what this phone will sell for when the bidding ends?

The seller listed it as an "American Bell/ NET&T 1890's speaking tube telephone" with the item condition as "Used" and "Extremely good condition with original paint. Minor wood split @ 9:00 position on transmitter front door- visible in 4th picture. This is not a serious problem just a wood crack in a a 125 year old telephone." with the auction listing description as "I have for sale and your consideration, an extremely rare 1890's American Bell / New England Telephone & Telegraph (NET&T) Company Magneto Speaking Tube set. These particular type of telephones rarely come available. I have seen one or two of these telephones with vibrating signal buttons which would have been connected to a switch board. My set is a magneto version and would have been used with another magneto Speaking Tube set at the work site for direct communication without the need of a switch board operation. The extra fancy name tag is an original and one of the finest tags you will see. The Speaking Tube sets were the Private Branch Exchanges (PBX) of the day and would have been used for communication in a warehouse office to the warehouse work floor or other privet line or interior service . This Speaking Tube set is pictured in the New England Telephone & Telegraph 1890's private branch exchange catalog exactly as shown here except for the odd shaped bells which I believe were added at some point. In the 1890 NET&T Private Branch Exchange catalog this Speaking Tube Set is shown on pg 10 and is identified as Special class A Special magneto wall set. I can Email a copy of the catalog for your reference but am unable to post a picture here. My set is all original and complete in very good to excellent condition. A small crack in the wood on the front door of the transmitter box is present and can be seen at the 9:00 position in the 4th picture. This hair line fracture is minimal and I wouldn't recommend any repair be attempted or necessary. The black paint finish is original and shows slight wear to the left edge of the top box door. These bells could be swapped out for regular bells without any trouble. The rare Speaking Tube transmitter box is complete and well marked with patent dates of April 8, 1890 and July 11, 1893. The transmitter box has a fully marked out transmitter face with patent dates around the edge and property of American Bell on the inner portion. The transmitter face has a beautiful aged brass patina but has lost its original nickel plate finish of which a few portions remain. The switch hook and contact assembly are all in place and complete. The black bakelite mouth piece has an unusual center piece device. The metal disk is free floating and must have enhanced the voice sound waves but just a guess on my part. The finger grip receiver is correct for this type of set and is shown in the catalog. The receiver is marked Property of the American Bell Telephone company and is the earlier type with a wooden single pole wooden bobbin. The hard rubber body is stamped on the back side Oct 21, 1890 with a serial number of 13191. A later version (Bi-polar type) receiver of this type recently sold on Ebay for over $1,000 just for the receiver!! The cord is an original Western Electric / American Bell Red & Blue wool receiver cord. It is in rather poor condition but I left it on the telephone because you can clearly see the very early wire spring coiled conductor where it attaches to the receiver. The unique top box is complete and original with a shunt button on the left side. The box is mounted directly to the telephone backboard and does not have a back board of its own as is usually seen, this is as shown in the NET&T catalog. I can Email additional pictures upon request and I will be glad to answer any questions. This is a lengthy auction and I will be unable to respond to questions and requests for additional pictures until my return from a vacation on Nov 13th. This is a very unusual and rare telephone which will be an excellent addition to an early telephone collection of historical devices."

NOTE: we will use a 3% gap rule between guesses to prevent crowding. As such, guess gaps of 6+% can be split. I'll help with these as the auction goes forward and guesses are entered.

It's another chance to move up a rung or to get onto the CRPF -> Contest Standings <- list,

       . . . for as twocvbloke said,   ---> "You gotta be in it to win it !!!" ;D "

If you want to see the phones of past Auction Contests, click -> HERE <-


$   1,995.00 - Mr. Bones  ( 12 )
Final bid of $2,025 did not exceed the reserve price
$   2,250.00 - JimH  ( 6 )
$   3,000.00 - wds  ( 2 )
$   3,200.00 - Fabius  ( 7 )
$   3,800.00 - HarrySmith  ( 9 )
$   4,200.00 - kleinkaliber  ( 10 )
$   4,500.00 - tallguy58  ( 8 )
$   5,250.00 - Kenton K  ( 4 )
$   5,925.00 - TelePlay  ( 14 )
$   6,600.00 - poplar1  ( 11 )
$   7,000.00 - Gilas  ( 13 )
$   7,500.00 - Under Dog  ( 3 )
$   8,500.00 - Sargeguy  ( 1 )
$ 11,999.99 - Russ Kirk  ( 5) ( adjusted down to the BIN price )

Early Morning Auction Status Changes

11-06-14     Listed     $    1,000.00
11-07-14     1 bid       $    1,000.00
11-08-14     2 bids     $    1,225.00
11-09-14     4 bids     $    1,425.00
11-10-14     4 bids     $    1,425.00
11-11-14     4 bids     $    1,425.00
11-12-14     4 bids     $    1,425.00
11-13-14     4 bids     $    1,425.00
11-14-14     4 bids     $    1,425.00
11-15-14     4 bids     $    1,425.00
11-16-14     6 bidders 7 bids $2,025.00 (did not exceed reserve price) Ended at 01:00:12 PST


Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409


A similar receiver just sold on Ebay for about $1,100.  The rest of the phone doesn't seem all that spectacular.  I don't think the reserve will be met, but I'll guess $3,000.00

EDIT:  eBay auction screen shot image added



Russ Kirk

Edited $13,500
- Russ Kirk


Jim H.


Extremely rare item. I've only seen that transmitter and box twice before. Notice it's an early 7 digit beveled faceplate with great markings.  Also notice the "boobie" bells.  The seller should of provided better pictures of it. A picture of the backboard should of been provided. Was anything cut off of the backboard?

Tom Vaughn
La Porte, Indiana
ATCA Past President
ATCA #765
C*NET 1+ 821-9905




curious about the transmitter - from the front it looks like a standard Monarch - from the back it looks like a Couch.  To me it doesn't really look like anything special except for the writing on the faceplate.  Can you shed some more light on the transmitter? 


Never mind, I see it's a WE transmitter.  Pictures are hard to decipher. 


Quote from: wds on November 06, 2014, 01:53:55 PM
Never mind, I see it's a WE transmitter.  Pictures are hard to decipher.

Yes, the seller should of provided a straight on picture of the transmitter with the mouthpiece off.
Tom Vaughn
La Porte, Indiana
ATCA Past President
ATCA #765
C*NET 1+ 821-9905



Since it is marked NET&T I think somebody might want to add it to his collection ;D
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434

"There is no try,
there is only
do or do not"