Many modern radios are produced in a retro style so they have the look of a vintage model combined with modern functionality, connectivity and performance.
If you want to experience the real thing, however, there are still plenty of vintage radios around.
When they were first released, valve radios and later transistor radios were often the main source of entertainment for a family. They date from the 1930s onwards and, because they were very expensive at the time, were usually well looked after.
Many are still in a good and usable condition and, because they use standard components, can often be restored like new.
Although DAB is now the new standard for radio, FM and AM are still available and are likely to be for many years to come. So a vintage radio that operates on LW and MW frequencies will still be useable.
Vintage Radio Auctions in the UK
British Vintage Wireless Society (BVWS)
The British Vintage Wireless Society holds regular auctions of radios.
Prices are unpredictable and will depend on the condition of each set as well as other factors, and you need to be able to get to their Harpenden or Royal Wootton Bassett locations.
eBay is the biggest online auction site, so it’s not surprising that it’s a great place to find a vintage radio.
You can find transistor and valve radios from a wide range of brands including Bush, Ekco, Roberts and Philips.
Online auction sites can be great places to get bargains, though you need to be careful.
Since you’re buying without being able to inspect the radio physically or check that it works, you have to trust the seller.
The-Saleroom.com is an online art and antique auction site based in London.
It allows different auctioneers from around the country to list items.
At the time of writing, you can find vintage radios from Bush, PYE and Roberts, among others.
You can also find Bakelite radios from the 1930s.
Vintage Radio Shops in the UK
As well as auctions, there are also various specialist shops that sell vintage radios, can provide advice and may offer a repair service.
Classic Radio Shop
This shop in Cromer, Norfolk offers radio repairs as well as a large selection of vintage radios for sale.
You can buy radios from Classic Radio Shop online, or visit them in person at 212 Roughton Road, Cromer.
Past Times Radio
This shop in Doncaster, Yorkshire offers a variety of models for sale, provides a restoration service and has a wealth of information on its website.
Most of its radios are fully reconditioned and in full working order, and come with operating and care instructions and a six-month guarantee.
They also offer ‘project radios’ that you can fully or partly restore yourself.
Other Places to Buy a Vintage Radio
Gumtree is a large online classified ads site where you can find lots of vintage radios being sold.
Unlike eBay, Gumtree isn’t an auction site, so you need to agree the price with the seller instead of bidding on the item.
On Gumtree, it’s usually more common to pick up the item you’ve bought in person rather than having it posted to you.
Preloved is quite similar to Gumtree. It’s an online local classifieds site where you can find a lot of second-hand items for sale, including antique radios.
Car boot sales
Car boot sales can be good places to get bargain vintage radios, though it’s rare to find a quality radio at a car boot sale, and you will need to invest a lot of time trawling through all the other items being sold.
There are of course car boot sales and auction houses will often feature these items in their sales. However, you need to know what you’re looking for and be sure of the condition of the item you’re buying.
There are lots of places to buy vintage radios in the UK.
There is a fair chance, therefore, that you can experience the nostalgia of listening to a true vintage radio.
Just don’t expect to hear The Navy Lark or any other old favourites.