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Drake Grading Standard

By WA9TGT / Donnie Garrett wa9tgt@email.msn.com

     The following grading standard has been established in an effort to provide a much needed grading standard for Drake radio equipment. It's basic format is a near similar standard established by the Collins Collectors Association.

     All Drake radio equipment users and or collectors are encouraged to follow these same equipment grading standards when describing the condition of listed equipment. By doing so both the buyer and seller will be using the same terms to describe the actual condition of their listed Drake equipment, therefor reducing the chance for misrepresentation, either innocently or intentionally. Honesty and integrity should always be first and foremost.

     Allowances have been made to reflect the common corrosion problems encountered on the early Drake line that used the copper plated chassis.

Mint Condition

Mint condition is defined as the same condition in which the set left the factory when it was manufactured. A set in mint condition will be functioning perfectly, there will be no damaged or missing parts, no signs of wear and tear, and the cabinet finish will be perfect without a single sign of use. A mint condition Drake Radio will be accompanied by its original operating manual and may have the factory-shipping carton as well. Mint condition radios may or may not have service bulletins incorporated. If so, the bulletins must all be those approved by Drake and the workmanship must be equal to that of Drake. No other components, other than tubes, shall have been replaced. The phrase "mint condition" is a very over used one when describing the condition of radio equipment. There are very few Drake radios, which actually qualify as "mint".

Excellent Condition

Sets in excellent condition are completely functional, have no missing or damaged parts, show only minute (nearly undetectable) signs of wear and tear, and the cabinet and front panel will be nearly perfect, without scratches or dents and there is minimal dust on the chassis. Original RCA and type "PJ" jacks are in their proper position and show no signs of wear. The material from which certain parts are made may show physical age - for example, plastic parts may change color with age. The radio may have had components replaced but will have no modifications installed which were not approved by Drake and the workmanship must be equal to that of Drake.

Very Good Condition

A set in very good condition will be completely functional, there will be signs of wear and tear and the front panel may be minimally scratched. Damaged or missing parts may have been replaced. White insulator materials in RCA jacks show definite signs of wear and tear. The cabinet finish will have only minor damage (a few small scratches or signs of wear but not into the metal) and dust may be expected in the chassis and it may have very minor corrosion on the chassis. The cabinet may have been repainted; quality equivalent to original but it shall be identified as a repaint.

Good Condition

A Drake radio in good condition will be either fully functional or easily repairable, there may be a few minor missing parts which are relatively easy to obtain, there will be signs of normal wear and tear, and there may be extra holes drilled in the chassis and cabinet. Panel scratches may exist but are not extensive and the cabinet finish may have scratches into the metal, which will require touch up or refinishing. There may be minimal to moderate corrosion on the chassis in places. The radio may have had components replaced but will have no modifications installed which were not approved by Drake. Workmanship may not be equal to that of Drake, but still of good quality.

Fair Condition

Drake Radios in fair condition will usually not be completely functional, but it will be repairable with considerable labor. There may be a few missing parts, which may be difficult to obtain. There will be signs of excessive wear and tear and lots of chassis grime due to prolonged use. The cabinet and front panel will probably require refinishing and the chassis may have age related corrosion as a matter of routine. Non-Drake modifications may have been installed in the radio.

Poor Condition

A set in poor condition will probably not be functional and will probably require excessive labor to repair. There will probably be several missing parts, which are difficult to obtain. There will be signs of very excessive wear and tear, which will probably be impossible to completely repair. The cabinet finish will probably have heavy dents and scratches, which are difficult or impossible to repair with refinishing.

Bad Condition

The proverbial "basket case." A Drake radio in bad condition is usually good for parts only. Critical components will probably be burned out or damaged beyond repair, rendering the set permanently non-functional. There will probably be missing parts, which are impossible to obtain. There will be irreparable damage and abuse. The cabinet may be missing or damaged beyond repair.

Restored Equipment

It is necessary to evaluate the condition of Drake radios on the basis of this scale to determine if it is worth more or less than the value specified. "Mint," "excellent," and "very good" sets are worth more than the prices stated. Of course, "fair," "poor," and "bad" sets are worth much less. When a set has been properly restored, it may move to a much higher condition rating and its value can increase accordingly. However, it must be represented that the set has been restored. A poorly done restoration will greatly reduce the value of an otherwise rare find.

Upon request, The Board Of Directors of the "Collins Collectors Association" unamaniously voted to permit the Drake Collector / User Group, permission to use the Collins grading standard guidelines.  Above is found near similar criteria to be applied to Drake Radio Equipment as a near similar grading standard. The original Collins version can be found at collinsradio.org

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