How Much Are Old Radio Tubes Worth in 2023?


Written by

Rafeal Hart


Fact-checked by

Norris Howe

how much are old radio tubes worth

If you’ve come to this website with a question in mind, “Are old radios worth anything?” The answer is a big YES. That old radio sitting in your basement might have valuable tubes that you surely wouldn’t want to throw away.

So, to discover how much are old radio tubes worth, continue reading, and you’ll know why these fascinating relics of the past are priced from a hundred to thousands of dollars.

Additionally, internal and external factors are included to give you in-depth knowledge as to why old vintage tubes have different values.

Old Radio Tube Price


Old radio tubes can be grouped into four segments: tubes for musicians, general use, and for those passionate collectors who are willing to spend more to have them.

The following table shows a vacuum tube price guide with specific models and their approximate costs. Keep in mind that this radio tube price list can change depending on the item’s condition, brand, rarity, and negotiation.

Customer/Buyer Tube Types Price Range
Musicians/Audiophiles Tube 12AX7 Up to $15
Tube 6L6 Up to $25
Tube 274B (Western Electric) Starts from $200
Tube 349A (Western Electric) Starts from $400
Tube 300B (Western Electric) Starts from $500
Tube 45 Starts from $25
Tube 2A3 Starts from $50
Tube 50 Starts from $200
Collectors/Restorers Tube 01A, 201A, 301A Up to $15
17 Philco Globe $45
JRC 233 Globe $50
Tube WD-12 Up to $50
Tube 45 Up to $70
Tube WD-11 Up to $135
Tube 245 Starts from $100
Tube 50 Starts from $200
Tube 250 $250 – $350
General Use RCA electron tube $15
1938 Philips Elephant-foot tubes $30
Tube 250 $300
Passionate Collectors Tube VT-2/205A (Western Electric) Starts from $150
Tube VT1 Starts from $200
Tube 205D Starts from $300
Tube 101D Starts from $400

What Are Old Radio Tubes?


Old radio tubes are vacuum tubes that were widely employed in receivers in the 20th century. They were crucial in producing and amplifying electric signals.

These vintage and antique tubes, along with other radio parts like knobs, switches, grips, and housing legs, were produced starting around 1914 by illustrious businesses, including Philco, Sylvania, Westinghouse, and RCA.

As transistors grew in popularity, radio tubes eventually lost their usefulness and were no longer manufactured by the 1960s. However, because of their historical significance and rarity, that does not stop people from collecting them and bidding for their price.

Why Are They Worth It?


Due to their unique tonal qualities and historical significance, old radio vacuum tubes are still highly valued.

Collectors and music lovers adore them because they prefer their warm, rich sound over that of contemporary technology.

From supplying power to early radios to influencing the sound of musical genres like rock ‘n’ roll, vintage tubes have made a lasting impression on the audio industry.

Also, modern vacuum tubes are built differently from the old ones, and they also have shorter lifespans.

Factors Affecting Old Radio Tubes Prices


The list of valuable vacuum tubes above has different prices, which change depending on some factors. If you own a tube, you may consider the following to effectively approximate its value.

Factors Effect on Price


Condition Generally, the better the condition, the better the price.
Brand Top-quality tubes, such as those from Sylvania, might cost two or three times as much as the other brands.
Shape Collectors may place a great value on unusual tube shapes, such as those with a brass base or glass nub.
Label New In Box or New Old Stock vacuum tubes are typically more expensive than tubes without labeling.
Supply Limited quantities of tubes, like the rare Westinghouse WR21, can fetch higher prices.
Origin Because of their quality and durability, American tubes are typically regarded as superior to other types.


Intended use Vacuum tubes price varies based on the tube’s intended usage; collectors, music lovers, and general buyers all have distinct preferences.
Historical Significance Tubes with a remarkable history, especially those GE tube radios that marked advancements in receiver technology, may be worth more.
Market demand Radio vacuum tube values may vary depending on how many people want to acquire them.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can you still buy tubes for old radios?

Certainly! For vintage radios, tubes are still available.

Finding tubes from different producers, like RCA, GE, Sylvania, Raytheon, Tungsol, and Amperex, is easy thanks to the internet. Many online shops offer a large collection of vacuum and radio tubes for every application.

What is the market for vacuum tubes?

The market for rare vintage radio tubes can be classified into five types of buyers, which are the following.

  • Tube Collectors

Collectors consider old tube radios valuable enough for exhibition, so they collect them together with vintage radios. They search for vintage tubes like the $10–$15 01A as well as the 45, 50, 245, 250, WD-11, and WD-12.

Know that auctions can be the best answer to “where to sell used vacuum tubes” because people there offer higher prices, especially for units with significant history. Also, a tube collector who buys old TV tubes may be around, so you may not want to throw that old unit in your garage.

  • Musicians

They need tubes for old-style guitar amplifiers. Costs for typical tubes like the 6L6 and 12AX7 range from $15 to $25, with Telefunken brand tubes being more expensive.

  • Audiophiles

These individuals look for tubes with high quality. Popular choices are Western Electric tubes such as the 274B, 300B, and 349A.

  • Flippers

As flippers, they know the best place to sell vacuum tubes, so they take advantage of market demand and collector interest by bidding low and selling high on auction platforms.

How do I know if my radio is antique?

You may consider the following to determine whether your radio is an antique tube radio or not.

  • Look for the manufacturer and model number.

Check for a label on the unit’s bottom, interior, or back. The cabinet itself might even have the model number imprinted on it.

  • Look for a name.

Several radios have a name printed on the front of the cabinet, either in place of or in addition to the model number.

  • Check collector books and technical references.

These resources offer details on radios, including prices and dates of manufacture.

  • Seek assistance from radio collectors

For expert assistance, you may join nearby organizations or internet discussion groups for vintage radios.

  • Find more details.

For hints on the age of the radio, look at component markings, cabinet design, materials, dial markings, and tube kinds.


Quite interesting, right? Who would have thought that those old radios in our attic are priced higher than we expected? So, the next time we see a piece of vintage equipment, we shouldn’t underestimate its value.

Now that you know what to do with old vacuum tubes, it will be our pleasure if you share this article with your friends. Let them learn how much are old radio tubes worth, and you might end up indirectly helping them get some cash.

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