People started collecting phones shortly after Alexander Graham Bell patented them in 1876. Some of those early handmade wood telephones from the 1880s (e.g. those marked Charles Williams Jr. or American Bell) are among the most prized finds for telephone collectors.

Collectible antique and vintage telephones basically fall into three groups. Wood wall phones, which were produced from 1876 up through World War II, have lost much of their appeal (except those earliest models) as few collectors still remember growing up with them. Candlestick phones, produced from the 1890s through the 1920s, are still in great demand, especially the earliest turn of the century nickel-plated models.

Desk sets, including most phones after 1930, are the bulk of the hobby today, and range from early 1920s models with ringer boxes to the groovy 1960s and 70s Ericofon, Princess and Trimline models. The most commonly found phones are rotary dial models such as the Western Electric 202s (1930s), 302s (1940s-50s), and 500 sets (1960s and 70s).

While Western Electric is the big name for many American collectors, makers like Automatic Electric, Kellogg Switchboard and Supply, Stromberg Carlson and others are also in high demand. Many telephone collectors also focus on related items such as telephone signs and switchboards.


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Recent News: Telephones

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Little Old Ladies Share a 'Recipe' for Revolution in Central Works Play
KQED, October 21st

Phoebe Moyer seems every inch the sweet grandmotherly type as host Lillian, and the small stage area in the Berkeley City Club is elegantly set with quaint furnishings in Central Works co-director Gary Graves' staging (there's even a rotary phone)...Read more

Why Does Grandma Still Buy EE Savings Bonds?
TIME, October 21st

Savings bonds that double in value every seven or eight years, however, have gone the way of encyclopedia salesmen, eight-track tapes, and rotary telephones. EE bonds sold from May 1, 2014 to October 31, 2014 will earn an interest rate of 0.50%, ...Read more

Honey Wine or My Foray into Mead
Mother Earth News, October 20th

Honey Bees Way back when, I made mead. I think it was back with Leif Erickson or some guy by that name. Of course, back then we had rotary phones, the Internet existed as ARPANET (look it up), and I was on the cutting edge when it came to computer ...Read more

Koerner home part of annual house walk
Pontiac Daily Leader, October 20th

The home is decorated mainly with historical pieces, drawings and photographs, including an antique phone, photos of the barn before it was remodeled as a home and other pieces of Pontiac history. “The house isn't fancy. That's the thing about this...Read more

Weekly planner: Music, theater, flu vaccines, kids' festival
Montana Standard, October 20th

and permanent exhibits for kids and adults, as well as its exploration-oriented Children's Corner for younger visitors. This month's focus is “Exploring Telecommunications.'' Special exhibits include working vintage telephones and Central Office...Read more

The Gift That Should Have Killed Me
Huffington Post, October 19th

In the back room of the cottage there was a black rotary phone. That was the "sobriety phone." When it rang it meant that another alcoholic needed my Pop Pop's help. It was serious business, that phone and it's special ring. It was so effing LOUD for...Read more

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is not the stock market
MSN News, October 18th

The Dow has served its purpose, but it has devolved into the equivalent of a rotary phone in a world filled with smartphones. It's the wrong tool for the modern era; while Luddites may not want to adopt new technology, most of them adapt pretty quickly...Read more

Rotary phones a sign of simpler living
Royse City Herald Banner, October 15th

Two rotary phones were stationed at the end of our kitchen/eating area, one on the wall for the house and one on a table for Dad's office. Despite my father's protectiveness, the two phones doubled the chances for calls. Dad hated them, especially when...Read more