Specializing in Antique Music Boxes and Talking Machines

What are mechanical musical instruments?

Mechanical musical instruments are machines that use coded information (such as on a metal cylinder or disk, or a paper roll) to perform musical pieces on tuned metal teeth, pipes or strings. Mechanical musical instruments create a live musical performance, unlike record players, tape players, or CDs. Although old-fashioned phonographs are not technically musical instruments, their close association with music boxes makes them of great interest to individuals interested in antique musical machines.

I want to start a collection, but how do I start?

Above all, start with an education! Speak with a reputable dealer or experienced collector about the differences and similarities of items that interest you. Purchase or borrow books on the subject, and read about what interests you in hobbyist newsletters and technical journals. A great source of information is among the members of the associations dedicated to the preservation of antique mechanical musical instruments. Membership is relatively inexpensive, but the return on the investment is great: a nearly limitless source of information, support, expertise, and direction in the field of mechanical music.

Collectors' Organizations:

The Michigan Antique Phonograph Society (an international organization)

The California Antique Phonograph Society

The City of London Phonograph and Gramophone Society

The Musical Box Society International

The Automatic Musical Instruments Collectors' Association

 

Excellent Source for 78 rpm and Cylinder Records:

Hawthorn's Antique Audio

 

Specialist in Little Wonder Records:

Little Wonder Records

Expert Parts Supplier and Restoration Service:

George Vollema, the "Victrola Doctor"

Quality reproducer repair, parts, and literature:

Phonographs.org

 

More great music boxes:

Collector's World, Inc.

A word about Ebay:

Ebay has become a very popular way for collectors and dealers to exchange antiques and for unscrupulous vendors to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals. Some dealers misstate the truth in their descriptions of items, describing new parts as old, refinished cases as original, and "admit" their lack of expertise in a subject they know quite a bit about. They establish astronomical reserve prices or advertise "no reserve" when in fact they would never let the auction price be carried simply by honest bidders.

As a bidder on Ebay, please be careful, and whenever possible, consult with a reputable dealer or collector before placing a bid, in order to establish the accuracy of the description and the item's rough market value. In the end, there is no replacement for actually seeing an item before you purchase, observing it, and weighing the amount the seller wants for the item with your desire to purchase it. The unfrenzied atmosphere offered by many "real" and "virtual" antiques dealers -- in a non-auction format -- is, in my opinion, a better way to obtain items for your collection.

Our policies:

We make every effort to be honest, fair dealers, and treat people they way we would like to be treated. If we ever fall short of your expectations, please let us know and we will do whatever we can to make your experience with us as pleasant and worthwhile as possible!

We do sell antique items, that are often one-of-a-kind. Item availability and price is subject to change at any time without notice. Due to high inquiry rate and high demand for our antique items, we always sell to the first customer who agrees to purchase an item. We cannot guarantee the website is always up-to-date as our inventory changes so frequently. For current availability and price, please email. Purchase offers, sale prices and special offers quoted by email are valid for 3 days, subject to prior sale.

Our multimedia files are demonstrative. Due to availablity of records and discs at the time of sale, your selection of music may differ from the musical piece shown as a video or sound file.