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View Full Version : Mars RB Rotating Beacon Value?


Robb Johnson
05-15-2014, 11:10 AM
I recently acquired a Mars RB rotating beacon in very good condition and was told it had never been mounted on a vehicle. I believe it to be the same type/style light that was on the "Mayberry" Squad Car.

Would anyone know an approximate retail value for it? I just know that I have looked for years and they just don't come along that often.

Dan Gilmore
05-15-2014, 06:25 PM
I saw one once, in very good used condition. The owner was asking $375 for it.

Robb Johnson
05-16-2014, 10:18 PM
Thanks Dan. I didn't have any idea.

Skip Goulet
06-27-2014, 06:02 PM
Mars beacons were relatively inexpensive, low-end lights. If someone would pay $375 they've got more money than brains. I would think that $75 would be too much for one of those things.

Bruce Biancalana
06-27-2014, 08:32 PM
The RB was not an inexpensive beacon, Nor was any thing they made pre 1990. The quality may have went way down in the late 70s and eighties but never inexpensive. Mars was responsible for icon lights such as the FL8, 888, RB, and Aurora Borealis. Like so many companies when the father turned the company over to the son it was driven into the ground.

Robb Johnson
06-29-2014, 09:39 PM
Mr. Goulet,

While I certainly respect your opinion, and anyone's for that matter, when I received the light I didn't ever consider that is was made any more cheaply than anything by Federal. I own several Beacon Rays and this RB is of similar quality. As far as what someone would pay for it, if I owned an Andy Griffith Squad Car Replica, I would search until I found one of these simply for authenticity purposes. Nothing ruins one of those squad cars for me more than seeing a Model 17 Beacon Ray on one when it never had one on TV. So, I guess I would be one of those "brainless" people that would pay any amount if it meant that it was screen and time period accurate. Kinda like when I'm driving my ambulance and people holler "Ghostbusters!". So, I suppose "having more money than brains" is kind of relative thing, depending on what side of the comment you're on.

John ED Renstrom
06-30-2014, 02:54 PM
what it's worth and what it's worth to me are two different things. if anyone payed over 100 bucks for a used light I feel they are paying to much but that's me. having a mayberry car is like having a ghost busters car if it's black and white ford with a bubble gum light it's a mayberry car, to the general public.

just because it's valuable to you for a propose doesn't make it worth more on the open market. that only has value to a narrow band of people looking for one for that propose. not everyone wants a movie prop in there yard. those that do can get very fanatic about it being right.

so if you have one, you know the people you need to look to to sell it. if your looking for one I wish I had one to sell.

Skip Goulet
06-30-2014, 04:44 PM
The RB was not an inexpensive beacon, Nor was any thing they made pre 1990. The quality may have went way down in the late 70s and eighties but never inexpensive. Mars was responsible for icon lights such as the FL8, 888, RB, and Aurora Borealis. Like so many companies when the father turned the company over to the son it was driven into the ground.

Bruce: I wouldn't argue for a minute the value of some of Mars creations. I've used my share of Mars lights over the years and couldn't agree more. What I said is that the RB series, or at least some of them, were low end. In the early '80s I latched on to a Mars light bar with twin SW2 beacons for a whopping $75! And I thought that was high then! What I'm regularly reminded about on another board when I comment about prices or values of lights, sirens, etc., is that it's all supply and demand; and to a small extent, I'll agree to that. But what I object to is seeing a piece of equipment selling for more than double what it sold for originally: and not necessarily in pristine condition. For example, a gentleman whom I consider a good friend advertises and sells a particular siren that never sold for more than $30 for close to $300...and gets it. That's what I meant above about "more money than brains", and I'll stick by that. If people here or on the other board don't like that.....too bad!

Ken Novak
06-30-2014, 11:39 PM
Bruce: I wouldn't argue for a minute the value of some of Mars creations. I've used my share of Mars lights over the years and couldn't agree more. What I said is that the RB series, or at least some of them, were low end. In the early '80s I latched on to a Mars light bar with twin SW2 beacons for a whopping $75! And I thought that was high then! What I'm regularly reminded about on another board when I comment about prices or values of lights, sirens, etc., is that it's all supply and demand; and to a small extent, I'll agree to that. But what I object to is seeing a piece of equipment selling for more than double what it sold for originally: and not necessarily in pristine condition. For example, a gentleman whom I consider a good friend advertises and sells a particular siren that never sold for more than $30 for close to $300...and gets it. That's what I meant above about "more money than brains", and I'll stick by that. If people here or on the other board don't like that.....too bad!

There are some of us Procar collectors/restorers that must have true period correct items for our vehicles and are willing to pay current market value to obtain them to be purists to the hobby and our vehicles. Often we will pay more for original correct items with a little patina for extra cost. Supply and demand is a factor to any collector in obtaining items at current market values always.

Todd Merrifield
07-01-2014, 12:35 AM
Bruce: I wouldn't argue for a minute the value of some of Mars creations. I've used my share of Mars lights over the years and couldn't agree more. What I said is that the RB series, or at least some of them, were low end. In the early '80s I latched on to a Mars light bar with twin SW2 beacons for a whopping $75! And I thought that was high then! What I'm regularly reminded about on another board when I comment about prices or values of lights, sirens, etc., is that it's all supply and demand; and to a small extent, I'll agree to that. But what I object to is seeing a piece of equipment selling for more than double what it sold for originally: and not necessarily in pristine condition. For example, a gentleman whom I consider a good friend advertises and sells a particular siren that never sold for more than $30 for close to $300...and gets it. That's what I meant above about "more money than brains", and I'll stick by that. If people here or on the other board don't like that.....too bad!

Citing a price you paid over 30 years ago seems misguided at best, for determining current value.

Bruce Biancalana
07-01-2014, 10:01 AM
Skip, I feel your pain. BUT... as items go from just used up junk to obscure collectibles, the price will go up according to demand and collectability. Being that I have been involved in many Chicago restorations. I have been involved with a good amount vintage Mars equipment. The Sky Bolt light or more costly yet, the Sky Bolt Combo is the "cheap" Mars equipment you are referring to. The RB as mentioned in this post is a nicely built unit that compared with any of the competitors of the times. I do agree that the Sky Bolt series quality had declined but a lot were sold. The City Of Chicago was Mars biggest customer. On the flip side Chicago did there part to help see to it that Mars equipment would be hard to find and costly in the collector market 30+ later. The City of Chicago scrapped truck loads of Mars equipment as to not let the general public have any access to cities surplus and retired equipment. The "cheap" SW series lights (Sky Bolt ) especially The Sky Bolt Combo has become one of the holly grails of Mars Signal Corp. The picture below is my 1974 CPD Belair with it's Sky Bolt Combo, The State of Illinois building in the background.

http://i448.photobucket.com/albums/qq208/sirenguy/Police%20Car%20Events/Spydar050610ISPM01-vi.jpg (http://s448.photobucket.com/user/sirenguy/media/Police%20Car%20Events/Spydar050610ISPM01-vi.jpg.html)

John ED Renstrom
07-01-2014, 12:48 PM
one man's junk is another treasure. personal I still feel that there are to many people out that that pay to much for things just for the bragging rights of saying they did so. now me I never held up a man on something I had and didn't need. just because someone else thought it was worth a lot. it was always worth more to me to help a man out then hold him up. the rest of you conduct your business the way you want.