Value vs Worth
I have a value price listed with some of my vintage flashlights. I came up with some of these prices from the *Flashlight Museum website, *Stuart Schneider's Collecting Flashlights book, (*prices are for excellent condition) and eBay, (what they really sold for) and I add in my 2 cents. We always need to remember, worth over value. I have seen vintage flashlights with a $15 value sell for $30-$40 over the value price, and not in mint condition on eBay! If 2 or 3 collectors really wants it, it can go way over the value price. As you'll see below under, What They Sold For, one Eveready Electric Candle sold for over $100, value $35-$40. Worth over value wins this one!
Sometimes I think we should just throw out the value part and keep the worth or what we're willing to pay. What some collectors will pay is ridiculous money! Here's an example, a Kwik-Lite lantern that sold for.... are you ready? $634 off eBay. I have no idea what the value would be, but, I'm sure no where near that price. Have I ever over paid for a flashlight or lantern? Not me! Sure I have, because I wanted it for one reason or another and just had to have it. It's called an.... addiction! But when we pay way under the value price.... we are Happy Happy Happy. So when we do get lucky, I guess it all evens out. The hunt continues....
Rare - Condition
- » What's the value if it's a rare flashlight? A lot of folks think because it's old, it's rare. Just because it's old, doesn't mean it's rare and it's worth a lot of money. To me, rare is one of those things you see come up for sale every few years or could be a once in a life time of thing. Maybe only a few was produced by a popular brand/maker or was only made for a couple of years. Hard to get and hard to find.
- Condition is everything. Vintage flashlight experts value flashlights in mint condition. The better the condition, the more it's worth. Mint with the box it came in will bring top dollar! Dents, rust, crack lens or cracked end caps will lower the price. Missing parts will lower the price even more.
- As pointed out in Collecting Flashlights by another well known collector. (Note) His flashlight book was issued in 1998 and a little out dated. Worth noting, he has a 1936 USALite redhead with stand valued at $15. Who wouldn't buy it at that price! I have never seen that version sell below $250. There are no vintage flashlight dealers and valid price guides, so this makes it difficult to value flashlights. Supply and demand plays a big part and it really comes down to what one is willing to pay in mint, good and poor condition. In the end, nothing is typed in stone and only a guide line. Worth over value. Collectors set the price!
What They Sold For List #1
This will be my on going list of vintage flashlights and what they sold for over the value price. The flashlights below sold off eBay.
1940 Justrite US Army/Navy pilots penlight sold for $57 value $15
1938 Burgess Sub Flashlight sold $58 value $40
1941 USALite Swivel Head w/black head w/box (no name plate) sold $202 value ?
1941 USALite Swivel Head w/black head (no name plate) sold $148 value $20-$40
1941 USALite Swivel Head w/black head w/chrome end cap (no name plate) sold $116 value $20-$40
1941 USALite Swivel Head w/red head (w/name plate) sold $160 value $30-$50
1941 USALite Swivel Head w/green head/body (w/no name plate) sold $94 value $20-$30
1931 Vintage Eveready Electric Candle sold for $101 value $35
1936 USALite Flare Redhead w/bullet end sold for $401 value $250
1921 GM Accessory Redhead sold for $2,132 value?
1920's Winchester 3 in 1 Flashlight with 3 bulbs and 3 way switch sold for $304 value $75
Eveready 2 cell snap switch, pat. dates 1894, 1899 sold for $463 value?
1921 USALite Redhead with copper ends/chrome body sold for $405 value?
1925 Eveready 2 cell black & chrome Baby Miner's Light sold for $70 value $20-$30
What They Sold For List #2
- » The list continues here.
1945 USALite Version #2 Redhead w/box sold for $177 value ?
1945 USALite Version #2 Redhead sold for $137 value $60
1945 USALite Version #3 Redhead sold for $200 value $30-$40
1920 Yale 3 in 1 Flashlight sold for $85 value $55
1930 Winchester Hammered Brass Flashlight sold for $198 value $150
Bond Bakelite/Catalin Flashlight sold for $677 value
1938 KECO TESTIT Flashlight sold for $171 value $50
1940 Chase Lighthouse Candle sold for $107 value $30-$40
1928 My Baby Torch sold for $73 value $35
1930's Chrome Pistol Gun Flashlight sold for $122 value $30-$35
1940's Eveready Two Tone Green Swirl Spot-Lite sold for $105 value $75
USALite Redheads & Swivel Heads Prices
- » After doing some more research on the USALite Redheads.... we can blame the cars guys for driving up the prices for flashlight collectors! Not only on the redheads, but, the USALite swivels heads as well. Who's really to blame? The sellers or the buyers? Maybe both.
- They call theses... auto accessories. Some sellers call them.... GM accessories, with out any proof. For that matter, we could call most flashlights accessories for all autos and trucks. Some may be true, and some just to jack the price up. IMO.... GM would have their name/logo on theirs. Why would a big company like that, not have their brand on it?
- Here's an interesting one. The USALite redhead with... Refill with Gambles heavy duty cells printed on the end cap. I would say this one is rare. I have only seen two with the Gamble's end cap. After some research, and some help from another collector. Gamble did have some auto supply stores in the mid 20's through the 40's, and maybe in to the 50's. So does that make it an auto accessory? Maybe - and maybe not. Either way, the cars guys think so. What it does mean is.... Gamble sold them at their auto stores.
- Maybe the car guys have deeper pockets or, just don't know any better. I saw where a car guy paid around $160 for a 1930's original Ray-O-Vac bullet end flashlight, with under the dash auto accessory flashlight holder. Properly thought he got a good deal. I could have sold him one cheaper than that. Then we have a seller selling car parts. Has the Phillips 66 redhead listed as a GM accessory. Back to the redhead with the Gamble end cap. This one just sold on eBay 2-9-2017.... Get your bank roll out, and be ready to pay if you come across one on the internet. $1,177 and change (car guy). You can see this one in the Show & Tell section.
USALite Swivel Head & GM Debate
Why would a 1941 USALite swivel black head with no name plate sell for $148. The swivel red head with name plate has sold for $160.00. Most of the USALite swivel heads that are being sold off eBay as GM accessories. Most sellers are saying they are approved General Motors accessory or sold at the stores as accessories. Another USALite swivel red head with the box sold for only $61.00. The seller did NOT say anything about it being a GM accessory! I was told by a knowledgeable and well known flashlight collector, Steve Giterman, also a contributor to the Flashlight Museum that knows a thing or two about vintage flashlights and the history. They were NOT a GM approved accessory. I also asked this question to a collector from the Flashlight Museum and he said 60% of the people he asked said NO and 40% said maybe or didn't know.
Another collector I asked had no idea and said best to ask a GM collector. I was also told GM only had 2 or 3 flashlights as an accessory. The GM accessory part is why these are selling so high. If the USALite swivel heads was a true GM accessory and GM sold them as such, why is GM accessory not printed on the end caps like the real red head? To me, there's the proof. Now on the real GM redhead, you'll see GM on the end cap and, USA Lite made it for them. This is getting to be... he said she said.
This is what GM collector Conrad Garcia had to say. "USALite 'manufacture' flashlights for GM, but they have a GM end cap and only two models were made that I know of. The swivel head was not one of them. GM only had a couple of flashlights in their GM catalog for sell, the Redhead and the Focusing flashlight are the two I'm selling. There's also reproductions of the GM caps being made, (end caps are not the originals). Now all you need to do is replace the USALite end cap with the GM end cap. There is a difference between the USALite redhead and the GM redhead on the knurled area". He also said, (I've heard this before) USALite made the batteries for GM. The batteries look almost the same. The photo below was sent to me by Conrad.
Another GM collector really didn't know as he never said one way or another. But he did say he thinks GM had more that just two flashlights in their catalog. This was from a collector of over 50 years. But still no hard proof about the swivel heads.
Another GM collector off eBay had this to say. "I don't know about the swivel head. But I did read that USAlite did make flashlights for GM. I am at a loss for information, as I found no information, or similar flashlights anywhere. All I know is that USALite made GM flashlights". This collector was selling a GM 2 D cell focusing flashlight, made by USALite.
So you have to think, a big company like GM, would have GM on all of their products that they have listed in their catalogs as GM accessories. Why would they sell anything without their name on it?
If anyone has seen the swivel head in a GM catalog stating so, please let me know and show me the proof? It would be nice if it's true. I have six different swivel heads and that would mean they would be worth more $$$$. Which we all like to hear!
This just in! The swivel red head... in mint condition, with the box just sold for $271.00. GM redhead update... Just sold for $701 with... with a reissued end cap, which makes it not the 100% original GM redhead, by a car guy in March 2017. The seller also said in his listing it was a reissued end cap.
View GM Redhead Here»
No Name Flashlights
- » I did a little research on the no name flashlights awhile back, and if you have been collecting very long chances are you might have a few of the no name, no brand name or no maker name flashlights in your collection. I think those would be the kind that was sold at some of the Mom & Pops stores, gas stations or nickle & dime type stores to sell, and, or as promotions back in the day. They could be bought cheaper and then sold cheaper that the name brand flashlights.
So it might be safe to say, the names on the flashlights may be from a private maker and sold to store owners. Even major manufacturers seem to have had their flashlights manufactured or distributed by another company. Homart and Suhrite was a trade name used for Sears & Roebuck products. Even some Sears and JC Penney models appear to be slightly modified Rayovac's.
I read somewhere, a company called Hipwell manufactured models that were sold by the bigger brands such as Eveready, Rayovac and others. The Blake Mfg. Company was known to make flashlights and parts for other companies as did Rayovac. Blake also made flashlights for the French Company before they purchased the Blake Mfg. Company in 1929. Confusing I know. So it's sometimes difficult to know exactly what we have. But then again, that's the fun part of collecting vintage flashlights. Another flashlight mystery.
- » Do you have a flashlight that the batteries are just a little big and won't fit? I had a couple like that and tried 4 different brands. The Duracell wouldn't fit. The Energizer wouldn't fit. The Camelion Plus wouldn't fit. The Power Pack battery, (Safeway brand) fit. You can also try a Sunbeam heavy duty D or C cell battery, NOT the batteries with alkaline. The heavy duty cells actually have a smaller diameter than the alkaline cells, and they just might fit.
- » We all need some magic sometimes? True Story. My flashlight didn't light up. I put in new batteries and a bulb, still nothing. All looks good and the flashlight should light up. Nothing missing or broken. I sprayed a little bit of special juice on the switch, the bulb holder, the brass strips and the spring, waited a minute or so, and then put the batteries back in and just like magic... It works! This has worked on a few other flashlights that wouldn't light up for me. This also helped with a switch problem on one of my flashlights. Before you give up, try it. Could be all you need.
What is this stuff? DeoxIT D5 is a fast acting deoxidizing solution that cleans, preserves, lubricates and improves the circuitry on metal connectors and contacts. Use as a general treatment for precious metal surfaces such as plated connectors, contacts and other metal surfaces. You can find this on the internet and Radio Shack. The 5oz. can goes along way as not much is needed.