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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Christie's Invitation to View

From Laurence Fisher re. Christies Mechanical Music and Technical Apparatus Sale (Wednesday 31 May, 2.00pm):

Our forthcoming sale of mechanical music encompasses the true sounds and sights that these popular auctions have projected in the past. Highlights range from fine singing birds such as a Bruguier tortoiseshell box (estimate £4,000-6,000) to a rare 39-key Flight & Sons barrel pipe organ originally installed in Diss Church, Norfolk (estimate £5,000-7,000), making a sale that captures each specific interest with ease.
We are delighted to also be presenting in the first of these two annual sales, the Stonehill Collection of Duo-Art. For over four decades, Mr. Stonehill has globally sourced and gathered the world's largest and most complete library of Duo-Art rolls. Here, offered as one lot, (estimate £15,000-25,000), we can appreciate the size, the range and music of this extraordinary work. Joining this, his unique Steinway Grand piano with 3-H opposed action, (estimate £20,000-40,000), a Weber Duo-Art Model 12 grand piano (estimate £800-1,200), the unique and famous Iles-Stonehill Robot, used for the Nimbus recordings of 1995-2000, (estimate £3,000-5,000) and a fine Chinese taste breakfront roll cabinet (estimate £1,000-1,500).
The musical box section is equally healthy with lots such as a small key-wind musical box playing three airs, including the Overture of Othello in two parts (estimate £1,200-1,800), a fine musical box by Ducommun-Girod, playing four airs on approximately 182 teeth (estimate £800-1,200) and a fine Mandoline Expressive Overture musical box, playing six airs (estimate £4,000-6,000).
Gramophones, Phonographs, fine and unusual Technical Apparatus, Vintage Amusement Machines, Pneumatic Instruments, Automata and Signage are other chapters in this fascinating and enlightening catalogue which appeals to both the collector and newcomer.
With the view commencing on Friday 26 May at 9.00am, we welcome you to join us in listening, enjoying and choosing your mechanical music lots.
With kindest regards,
Laurence Fisher.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Southern Counties 2: Sale Report

Viewing Day

... auction was great!! I even bought a couple of allwins to boot! ... Low buyers premium makes it very attractive for impulse buyers like me and there was a large range to choose from....and a bar as well!! Prices were very reasonable too...I should imagine there were one or two disappointed sellers as many machines went for below the estimate... I may enter some items next time if I get fed up packaging machines for sale on ebay!! Well done and thanks!

These comments of a visitor to the second Southern Counties Auction of Vintage Slot Machines last Sunday (21st May) sum up the day quite well. The general slump we've seen this year in prices has created something of a buyers' market. Fortunately, sensible reserves on most of the lots meant that, despite this, the majority of machines sold. There were certainly some bargains to be had amongst over 200 lots. Having sold a couple of large and heavy machines in the auction, I felt justified in bringing home four smaller ones.

I'll publish the full prices in the Arena as soon as I get them, but a few I noted were Lot 19, Novelty Merchantman Crane (in fair to good condition): £1300; Lot 57, Screen Stars single reeler: £330; Lot 80, Caille Commercial: £400; Lot 83, Bradley Challenger: £360. A Mills Poinsettia and Jennings Victoria both made £800 and the Jennings Governors of which there were about half a dozen sold for £700 - £800 with one going for a bargain £500. There were a similar number of Bryans Clocks one of which sold for as little as £230 and 30a, the Bryans Retreeva (in poor condition), made £2400.

Although the weather outside was dreadful (putting a damper on carpark trading) and I would have prefered a mid-session break in the sale, it was good to catch up with collector friends in a pleasant, comfortable venue.

It will be interesting to see if the price trend continues on Wednesday (31st May) at Christies Mechanical Music and Technical Apparatus Sale with its second time around reduced reserves. The online catalogue is here.

Also at Christies (New York) on 21st June is a major sale of Historic Cards and Games which includes only one or two slots but some very attractive gaming related ephemera.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Pennies by the Sea

Three pertinent leaflets hit the letterbox this week. The second issue of Mechanical Memories Magazine is a great little read, building on the success of issue one with more adverts, pictures and features, including a spotlight on Steve Maxsted's working models collection at Rye, East Sussex.

Christies Mechanical Music and Technical Apparatus sales catalogue (May 31st) includes around forty slot/automata related items - mostly unsold items from the earlier Nic Costa auction, plus a Mills Horse Head Bonus, some 30s pintables and a few "new" lots.

The catalogue for Southern Counties Auction of Vintage Slot Machines (May 21st) is now printed and should be in your post this week if you've ordered it. It contains 184 lots with some late entries expected (see Southern Counties Sale Update ).

3 booklets

Exciting news of a new publication from Joylandbooks: Pennies by the sea: the story of Joyland, Bridlington. The author, Nick Laister, recently sent me this appeal for help:

I am currently in the process of finalising a book on the history of the Joyland amusement arcade in Bridlington, East Yorkshire. I am trying to track down some good, high resolution photographs of a number of vintage slot machines of the 30s, 40s and 50s (and one or two newer). I am looking for one photograph of each of the following: Allwins, Cranes, the Clutching hand, Rotaries, Pushers, Rifle range, Working Models, Box Ball, Moonraker, Greyhound Derby, and Laughing Sailor. Any help you can give would be very much appreciated.

If you can help supply any of these please email Nick Laister