Western Electric Telephone Collectors consider the A Handset Mounting Deskset the "Holy Grail" of Bell System Telephones because it was the 1st model of telephone that offered Bell's new Combination E1 Handset (transmitter and receiver in one hand held unit) on its own Cradle and a base similar to their Candlesticks. The earliest versions of this were designated as the "D76869". They were only made for a few months in late 1927. For a very short period in 1928 "Production" models were stamped: A1, A2, and A3, and these were quickly replaced with the new B Handset Mounting. Thus, any A Handset Mounting, including the D76869 are considered rare.
This particular set is an unrestored original that has only been cleaned up slightly. The paint is original Bell System black Japanned paint finish. The Dial is the No. 2 "Clackety Clack" model with Metro Porcelain dial plate (numbers and letters). The dial works fine and emanates the patented ratcheting noise upon each release. It has a Finger Stop that initially was stamped: 2AE, but now the E has a line through it and a B has been added. I am advised that initially this would have been equipped with a 2H dial. The one on it now was on it when it showed up at an Upstate NY Garage Sale last Fall. The Number Card is marked: LOCKPORT (Erie Canal town just East of Buffalo NY) 3-6929. The cords are original brown cloth covered and the exposed ends do show drying out from age. I can see no other stampings or stenciling inside the base, although there is a "RIII" stenciled in orange on the rear of the hookswitch, which I have no idea of it's meaning. The Transmitter and receiver capsules have been updated over the years and bear dates of 1937 and 1939. The Handset itself has the requisite E1 and 557B markings. The Stem is stenciled: WESTERN ELECTRIC MADE IN U.S.A. PATENTS APPL'D FOR IN U.S.A., while the rear is stamped: D76869