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Television Sets

The first television sets were radios with a television device added. Commercially available in the late '20s, these television devices consisted of a neon tube behind a mechanically spinning disk with a spiral of apertures. This device produced a picture the size of a postage stamp. The picture was enlarged by a magnifying glass, but was still very small. The Baird Televisor, manufactured in England from 1930 to 1933, is considered to be the first mass-produced television.

Television became more practical when cathode ray tubes began to be used to generate pictures in 1934. Only a small number of televisions were manufactured and sold prior to World War II due to their cost, and production was frozen during World War II. After the war, when production costs decreased and post-war consumers found themselves with disposable income, television became immensely popular. About 90 percent of households in the United States owned a television set by 1962.

Today the vintage television set with tube screens and furniture quality cases have been replaced by flat screens and micro technology. Collectors of television sets form a small, interconnected community and information about collecting is readily available. Most collectors prefer to collect vintage television sets that date from 1939 to 1949.


Quick Facts

  • The early television manufacturers were radio manufacturers who branched off into television. The largest manufacturer of early television sets in the United States was RCA
  • An original Baird Televisor in excellent condition can sell for as much as $20,000. Early pre-war black and white television sets fetch the highest prices at auction, as well as prototype color television sets from the mid '50s
  • Black and white television sets manufactured after 1960 and color television sets manufactured after 1965 are worth little on the collector's market

Recommended Items at Auction

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Samsung 60" flat screen tv on base with cord
Dec 11, 12:00 PM EST
Samsung 60" flat screen tv on base with cord
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Est: $100- $400
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Coby Tv
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Coby Tv
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Antique Wooden Cased Bush Television
Dec 10, 10:00 AM GMT
Antique Wooden Cased Bush Television
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Est: £20- £40
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Panasonic TX32E LED Television
Dec 10, 10:00 AM GMT
Panasonic TX32E LED Television
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Est: £15- £30
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22" LG Flatron Television
Dec 10, 10:00 AM GMT
22" LG Flatron Television
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Est: £15- £30
£150 Bids
Boxed LG 32" Smart Television
Dec 10, 10:00 AM GMT
Boxed LG 32" Smart Television
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Est: £20- £40
£200 Bids
Bang & Olufsen
Dec 10, 10:00 AM CET
Bang & Olufsen
by Svendborg Auktionerne ApS
Est: 400 kr- 800 kr
400 kr0 Bids
Bang & Olufsen
Dec 10, 10:00 AM CET
Bang & Olufsen
by Svendborg Auktionerne ApS
Est: 500 kr- 1,000 kr
500 kr0 Bids
Retro Tv
Dec 09, 6:00 PM EST
Retro Tv
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Est: $5- $500
$50 Bids
SAMSUNG UN40B6000 40inch LED TV no remote
Dec 11, 9:00 AM MST
SAMSUNG UN40B6000 40inch LED TV no remote
by R & R Auction INC
Est: $0- $0
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LG Oled TV
Dec 11, 4:00 PM ACST
LG Oled TV
by Shapiro Auctioneers
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD800 Bids
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SONY Bravia TV
Dec 11, 4:00 PM ACST
SONY Bravia TV
by Shapiro Auctioneers
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD800 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Television Sets


Potteries Auctions

Potteries Auctions

Svendborg Auktionerne ApS

Svendborg Auktionerne ApS

Shapiro Auctioneers

Shapiro Auctioneers