Radios Advertisements from Vintage Department Store Christmas Catalogs
According to the 1933 Spiegel Christmas catalog, a tabletop 5-tube AC-DC radio from Philco plus an RCA Victor phonograph combo cost $49.95. It sure seems like a heck of a deal until you consider that the BLS CPI* inflation calculator says that price in 1933 is equivalent to $885.19 in 2012 dollars. For $39.95 ($707.97 in 2012), you could add an RCA Victor radio with "four mighty tubes" and a folding aerial to your horseless carriage!
The 1937 Sears Roebuck Christmas Wish Book offered a floor model Silvertone radio with 11 tubes (the newly announced 1938 model) for a mere $51.85. That's $829.52 in 2012 money. So, for about the same expenditure you could get a tabletop radio and phonograph combo or a furniture quality floor model radio. With three bands to choose from - 5.8 to 18 M.C. (megahertz) foreign, 1.7 to 6 M.C. shortwave, and 545 to 1,800 K.C. (kilohertz) - you wouldn't even need to have the television set turned on for continuous entertainment.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index
Radio Advertisement from the 1933 Spiegel Christmas Catalog
Radio Advertisement from the 1937 Sears Roebuck Christmas Catalog
More than 10,000 searchable pages indexed.