1938 zenith radio

I want to buy my neighbors radio but
we both dont know what it's worth.
it's a floor standing radio.
It has a hand book that says 6 tube radio.
chassis #5644,i think it works but it needs a new cord and i don;t want to get zapped!
Can anyone help me out???
Thanks Mark

That chassis # was used in the 6S254 and 6S256 models. Both very nice consoles. Book value several years ago was around $250, in good condition. In excellent condition might go for as much as $400 today.
Don't put a new cord on it and plug it in until you have at least changed out the filter capacitors.

B H.
Post a picture. Value is based on overall condition. Bad finish, missing veneer or cabinet parts, speaker condition, rust on the chassis or sign of gross neglect. Any or all of this pushes the price down and what you need to do to get it working and looking nice becomes more complicated. A flaky, rotting cord can be replaced easily enough. A cut-off cord is a sign the set was probably tried once and it didn't work.


thanks for your reply!
I don't know what you mean buy filters?
I am going to take a pic tomorrow and if i can figure out how to post it i will.
I must add that the cabinet is in perfect
condition,like it was in the living room all the time.The dials and knobs look like new.
Thanks for anything anyone wants to add!!!

What we mean is..don't just fix the power
cord and then try to power the radio up.
There are components inside that old Zenith
that have finite lives. And those old com-
ponents are now some 67 years old--WAY past
"time to replace" by decades, probably.Just
like you wouldn't expect a 67 year old bat-
tery to work and THEN add the possibility of
an explosion and resultant house fire. And
THEN add the possibility of DEATH if you get
inside that radio without knowing EXACTLY
what you are doing.I'm dead serious about
this. Get someone that KNOWS to help you
with it. You can get no better info on "how
to" than THIS website. Don't jeopardize your
life.Remember that there were many radios
made, but there is only one YOU! To we humans dead is dead--and NOT restorable.

Offer him/her $95.00, that is a fair price for a untouched radio.Most are only to happy to get rid of those space claimers.

"Offer him/her $95.00, that is a fair price for a untouched radio.Most are only to happy to get rid of those space claimers."
If you get it for that, hope "Smoky" isn't in your rear view mirror with flashing lights. Post a picture by going to the photo gallery section and look for the directions on the right hand side of the screen. Your radio cabinet should have inlay stripes above a teardropped shaped black dial. Looks like this one:

You might want to ask the neighbor if they know when the last time the radio was played.

B H.
Your question depends fully on how much extra money you have and if you want this radio for yourself for keeps for a long time .
If the cabinet really is super nice then 200$ or less is a good fair price . Those type Zenith radios hold their value real well

Thank you all for your input!!
It's good to know that you all are still
out there.
I know if i can get this i will have you all
to go to for some answers.
What are we going to do when these kids
want to fix something?
Thanks Mark

Hi everyone.I have been in electronics for over 40 years now. I am also a State Liscenced electrician. The question is WHY would any member of this forum try to talk a guy out of buying a radio? Yes MARK their is a chance of getting zapped but as far as blowing your house up or killing yourself I will say in the Mr Tubenut's statement IT IS EXTREMELY FINITE. If you are still concerned about blowing up your house or a fire Put it outside and power up with an extension cord. TUBENUT is correct that the Filters or Electrolytics should be changed first. DO NOT LIKE TO SEE NE W GUYS GET DISCOURAGED.

Hi Mark,
I have to agree with Berk on this one. The best way to become involved in the antique radio hobby is to jump in and get your feet wet by buying a radio which you like, then once you have it start gaining the necessary knowledge and advice to get it working again. Obviously certain precautions should be taken, and common sense should prevail.

I agree that you should not simply replace the power cord and plug it in. Not because of risks to your house or person, but because of risks to the radio itself. Failed capacitors, while themselves fairly cheap and readily available, can cause damage to other very expensive and hard-to-locate components, including the power transformer, rectifier and/or output tubes, output transformer, speaker field coil, etc. However, there are ways which you can safely power up your radio which can avoid these risks, and those of us on this forum will be glad to help you on this when the time comes.

As far as how much to pay for this Zenith, there is really no wrong answer. If you like the radio, plan to keep it, and feel comfortable and can afford the asking price (whatever it is), then by all means buy it.

I have to agree with the last two posts, One can look on ebay and get a approximate price for the same type of radio in the same type of condition. Don't pay the same price for one on Ebay that is fully restored (both cabinet and electronics)but one that is listed that seems to be the closest to what your friend/neighbor has. I would say radios are fun to work on, get your feet wet, if you don't feel totally comfortable repairing the electronics there are people on here or probably locally that will do that at a resonable price. Don't be afraid to ask questions via posts on here, you will find people to be very helpful and informative. I do what I feel comfortable with and maybe you can buy a simple radio to play with to do the repairs on your own. I hear people on here tell other people "it's a waste of time to look at this radio or that radio, or this type of radio" and it truly puzzles me. These are beautiful well crafted pieces of history, sure parts will need to be replaced and repairs made, but rip into a 49 Studebaker or 49 Chevrolet and restore it and see how much is still original after you are done, I can say from experience (not much). I would never think of driving my Studebaker on the original(1949) tires so not playing a radio with the original capacitors is the same, I don't think capacitors were intended to last forever just as the tires on my Studebaker were meant to last forever. If you would like to see an original 1949 Firestone "gum rubber" white wall tire (was the spare) I will be more than happy to send a picture of it to you, and if you said driving a car with 4 or them in the same condition would not be a problem I would seriously question your sanity. So for what it is worth, pay a fair price for the radio (since it is your friend/neighbor)but don't over pay for it, enjoy it, repair what you feel comfortable doing, follow standard common sense safety practices, if you have a doubt don't hesitate to ask or post a question. And when it is all done you will have something that can be enjoyed for a long time.

Yes, by all means,BUY the darned thing and we will fill in any gaps in you knowlege.
And now you know what not to do, so consider yourself a "Radio Doctor".One of
US--and welcome to the forums!!