COLLECTORS INFORMATION
FOR PYRAMIDS


100 & 200 TYPE TELEPHONES

These telephones are normally very collectable if they are original GPO stock. Many of these telephones offered for sale are hybrids, non GPO or replicas.  Of course it depends on what you are collecting or the price you want to pay.  An original is shown to the right.

Coloured replicas cost from 90 - 120, whereas a real the GPO green telephone in very good condition will cost as much as 1000 and the red 750.  Funny prices can also be an indication that the seller knows more than they are letting on!

Just below and to the right is a marking from the base of a Telephone No. 162, it was made by Siemens in 1932 with a dial that had figures (F) on it and was a mark 234.  This style of marking is quite normal.

Also look out for the GPO batch stamp - shown later in this document.

Indian produced replicas are very good if you want a pyramid, perfect in condition, coloured and at a very much reduced price.  These can generally be identified if they have ITI on them, if the handset details have been polished out, if the marking protrude from the handset or if the handset details say "GPO PL'35 No164".

GPO handsets have recessed details (normally sign written GPO Tele 164, with manufacturers code and date, as shown above) whilst some replicas have it protruding.  The red handset below and to the left, is genuine handset (even though it has no GPO marking!) with recessed markings, whilst the white handset to the right shows protruding markings.

Genuine - but has no GPO markings                       Replica      

Also beware of those telephones that have a line cord entry on the side of the telephone case - genuine GPO telephones always have a hole in the lower rear of the case.

Casing and Colour
Some individuals have been known to spray black telephones green or red.  These are generally easy to spot as the paint is thin on the corners and the black case shows through (the GPO never sprayed any cases, they were always replaced).  Coloured originals also generally have that transparent look and although some look quite solid.  If you think it is painted - ask.  If the seller says no, see if you can peel the paint off with your finger nail.

Due to the age of these phones the cases will also be scratched and in some cases chipped.  Some original coloured cases are faded (due to light - particularly the reds!) and this causes difficulty in matching broken parts - always check your coloured telephone in daylight (if he then complains - report him straight away to Trading Standards).

An Indian conjuring trick was a series of 200-type cases and bases, both of which are visibly under-sized.  The result is that the fixing screws in the metal base plates do not line up and must be forced in at an angle.  The drawer in the front of the telephone's base is well copied and looks quite realistic; on the other hand the celluloid insert for the dialling code card is not at all convincing.  The forks of the cradle rest are of the type fitted to the 162 instrument and look wrong.

Beware of case cracks and damaged handset rests (broken prongs or forks), particularly if coloured, because these are very hard to find.

Handset Rest
There are also two patterns of handset rests: the later type had a base that was larger than the neck whilst the early type had a base the exact same size as the neck of the telephone.

The reproduction forks are of thinner proportions than the genuine ones and the rear prongs of the forks may be of different proportions to each other.  Reproduction forks are also closer in design to those used on the Telephone 162.  On their underside the repro forks have two circular mould marks raised proud (on genuine originals these are recessed and contain the initials of the firm that moulded them).

Old style - genuine New style - genuine

Inspect the inside of the telephone to ensure that it has the original wiring and components. Check the diagram pasted to the base is the correct diagram and look at the markings on the components.  GPO parts usually had a description and number (i.e. Coil Induction No. 29) whilst privately supplied telephones generally had numbered parts i.e. N103425 (British Ericsson part number).

Also check the dates on these components, this will indicate whether the phone is totally original.  Expect some parts to be dated differently as many phones were repaired at GPO factories, with parts replaced and then returned to the field.  If you are offered a telephone that is supposed to be totally original then check the component dates and manufactures name.  These should be the same code and the dates within a couple of years of each other. In particular check the dial - you will have to release the dial from the case to find the date of issue and manufacturers code under the outside edge.

Look for minimal refurbishment and expect to find markings on the bases.  A plastic sticker indicates factory refurbishment and a white painted square nearby (shown to the right) would most probably be covering the original markings.  This is quite normal. Bases with nothing written on them or cases with transfers are not generally GPO.  The only garish thing done to 100 & 200 types was a mirror inside the instruction draw with a red GPO insignia (very rare).

The feet are usually flattened and are uniformly round.  Domed feet were never fitted to these phones.

These telephones will work with the UK new style sockets without modification.  All you need is a plug ended cord, possibly a new transmitter and a little bit of wire to connect the transmitter.  There is no real reason to remove the innards and replace them with a modern circuit.  The cords and transmitter are relatively cheap compared to getting replacement Bakelite or original parts.

Bellsets
The Telephone No. 162 needs a Bellset if you want the phone to work properly, whereas the Tele 232 will work perfectly well without a Bellset - as long as you do not want a bell with the telephone.  If a 162 or 232 has a bell inside the case, then it's not original!

 The Telephone 162 (and the Candlestick telephone) needs a Bellset No. 1 (wooden) or Bellset No. 25 (Bakelite).  These Bellsets consist of bell ringer mechanism, capacitor and an induction coil and are rarely found now days.  A Bellset No. 41 or a Bell No. 1 will not work at all!

Do not be misled when looking inside a Tele 162 as it has a metal clad transformer fitted inside.  This is normal, it is not an induction coil and will not suffice on it's own.  The pictures below show the insides of a Telephone 162 and 232.  On the Tele 232 the Induction Coil is on the right and is paper covered.

Telephone No. 162 showing metal clad
transformer to the right
Telephone No. 232 showing paper covered
induction coil to the right

The Telephone 232 needs a Bellset No. 26 (contains a bell ringer and capacitor - black is fairly easy to get hold of) if you want a bell to go with the telephone.  Without the bell, the telephone will still function as normal.

Expect to pay between 25 - 60 for a Bakelite Bellset No. 26, try to get one included with the telephone.  Ensure you get the right one!

Coloured Bellset covers are very rare, even the ivory ones - expect to pay a lot for green or red.

The Telephone 162 generally came with a plain Bakelite base although some had cast bases painted black.  These bases also had a circuit diagram pasted onto them and many were lead weighted.  Telephones with a 1/ prefixed to them should have a drawer in the base.  The Telephone 232 generally came with a drawer.

Blacks and Ivory telephones at present will cost between 80 - 250 for black, up to 200 - 350 for ivory.

Don't expect perfect transmission quality from them either - but this can be addressed by fitting a modern electronic transmitter - click here for details.

Summary

  • Check all Bakelite parts for cracks.

  • Inspect the Bakelite parts and if a brown colour with knobbles then this will not brighten up.

  • Smell the forks - if they smell acrid then do not purchase.

  • Dial - is it slow - but does return slowly - this is repairable - clean out spindle.

  • Dial - does not return at all - broken return spring - costly replacement.

  • Cords - braided - can be replaced easily with reproductions.

  • Cords - plastic - not many reproductions on the market - if greasy can be cleaned.

  • Visually check internals.  Generally they don't go wrong.  Wiring is always laid out nicely.

  • Check that there is a metal plate inside the earpiece - unscrew the earpiece and if you see screws the plate is missing.  The plate is needed for speech reception.

Click here for more information on reproduction 200 type telephones


As prices vary all the time do not expect this document to reflect the current market prices for all the telephones mentioned above

Remember - BUYER BEWARE

Check a coloured telephone in day light

If you buy on Ebay - and it's expensive - go and see it for yourself!!!

Pictures of coloured phones will not show any parts that are slightly different colours!

I do not give valuations!

 
 
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Last revised: December 17, 2016

FM