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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Central England Vintage Coin-Op Collectors' Show & Auction

Just to make sure this one doesn't escape your radar - the CENTRAL ENGLAND VINTAGE COIN-OP COLLECTORS' SHOW & AUCTION (in association with Mechanical Memories Magazine) will be held on 25th November 2007 at the Coundon Club, Coventry, CV6 1GP. Admittance by catalogue only (available in the Market soon). A great chance get your hands dirty by investigating a bewildering array of antique mechanical amusement apparatus, slot machines, one arm bandits, etc,. and to network with lots of like-minded collectors.

Entries are currently being accepted, so now's the time to sort out any old slots surplus to requirements.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bonhams Invitation to Consign

A message from Laurence Fisher (now of Bonhams) re. forthcoming Mechanical Music Sale:
Oiseau Chantant

We are looking forward to presenting our fine London Knightsbridge sale of Mechanical Music, which Charts the success of entertainment brought about by the technological feats of those who managed to provide musical enjoyment in the homes of the past. Today, Bonham's takes pride in including these specialist musical wonders in devoted sales for the many who seek them for the present age.
From important and early sur-plateau musical boxes, to the streamlined curves of popular pre-1940 wireless, mechanical music at Bonham's is now the collector's choice of the world. The forthcoming Knightsbridge sale, which will be held on Tuesday 20 November, will encompass the very best examples to ensure that market connoisseurs are provided with their preferred selection in this niche and important field.
Current consigned property includes this magnificent and fine Oiseau Chantant with timepiece actuation by C. H. Marguerat, in engine-turned silver-gilt and blue enamel case, circa 1929 (Estimate: £10,000 -15,000); A timepiece-actuated eight-air Cylinder Musical Box, in serpentine walnut veneered and inlaid case (Estimate: £5,500 - 7,500); and a Bond Cascade cabinet gramophone, with quadruple-spring Expert Soundbox (Estimate: £800 -1,200).
We are looking to include early snuff and other Musical boxes, fine Phonographs and Gramophones, delightful Singing Birds, important Electrical and Encoding devices, popular Dance and Band Orchestrions and classic French Musical Automata.
The backdrop of the many fine lots currently ready to include, makes this the perfect opportunity to finish this year with a healthy introduction to 2008 and, as market leaders for this popular and exciting field of collectables, you can expect Bonham's to share the magic of your property with the rest of the world.
Please join us in our commitment to serve the mechanical music community by contacting me regarding any suitable property well before the deadline of Wednesday 10 October.
I look forward to assisting with your selling needs. Kindest regards,

Laurence Fisher
Specialist Head, Mechanical Music.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Christies Pull Out Of Collectibles

While I was away the following arrived on 3rd August in my inbox from Laurence Fisher, former Mechanical Music and Technical Apparatus Specialist at Christie's:

Good afternoon!

This is just a quick line to say hello and to inform those who are interested what has happened at Christie's. They have closed all the collectables departments, leaving only a couple of 'headed' departments which deal with selected high-value only pieces, not including vintage slots etc. I was made redundant from Christie's on the 22 June.

Upon going to work for the last sale set-up on the 23rd May, I suffered a heart attack. I am feeling much better, but I still have to keep a close eye on my health. The last-ever sale of Mechanical Music and Technical Apparatus was held at 2.00pm on the 31 May 2007. The November date, as stated on the MBSGB webpage, will of course not be going ahead.

After a good few weeks to build up my strength, I have been appointed Specialist of Mechanical Music and Technical Apparatus at Bonham's. Based in Relay Road in White City in London, I shall be consigning into sales for Knowle and Knightsbridge. Please be assured that I believe Knowle to be one of the many assets of Bonham's, not only being in the centre of the country, but also great parking, great selection if a collection comes in and in addition I now have the privilege of working once more with many good people who I had the pleasure of working with when I was at Philips 12 years ago.

I shall let you know when and where slots come up and in the meantime if you have any pieces you would like to consign at Bonham's, please call me on 07977 368 288. Remember - competitive rates and excellent mail-shot lists are with me.

many thanks and best wishes.

Laurence Fisher
Specialist, Mechanical Music

Bonhams 1793

Relay Road
White City
London W12 7JS

I was very sorry to hear about Laurence's illness but glad to know he's feeling better. Laurence "joined" the slot collector community when he handled the Nic Costa sale. He was courteous, enthusiastic and helpful beyond the norm. One is bound to wonder at the stresses imposed by these cut-throat operations and the lack of any job security received in return. I wish Laurence a longer and brighter future with Bonham's.

I'm not sure whether Christie's drastic decision to close all its collectibles departments reflects a crisis in the whole field or is a case of one top auction house pricing itself out of a market. I do think the combination of a downturn in realized prices for collectibles and inflated auction premiums (plus other costs associated with London salesrooms) has made them increasingly unattractive to buyers and sellers alike. Ebay must have taken its toll as well I guess.

The good news is that the Old School House at Knowle which has a continuous history of mechanical music, technical and coin-operated collectibles sales dating back to the 1980s (originally as Philips) has acquired a specialist with a genuine interest in our field, and one of the most charming, intimate and accessible professional auction venues in the country can only benefit from Christie's withdrawal from the fray.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Slot and Automata DVD

Darren Hesketh's two disc DVD production THE OLD-TYME PENNY ARCADE & THE VINTAGE FAIRGROUND has just been released. Running to over two and a half hours, it features a wide range of coin-operated machines, automata, toys, vintage fairground rides and related items many of which are on public display at various venues around the UK. There are chapters from Carter's Steam Fair, the Fairground Museum, Dingles Steam Village, The Bryans Museum, Drayton Manor Theme Park, Folly Farm Family Adventure Park, Merrivale Model Village, Watermouth Castle, Wookey Hole Caves and Yesterday's World plus some private collections. Professionally edited, production values are good with clear, sharp pictures and steady camera-work. The charm of Working Models and slot machines in general is only fully appreciated when they are "working". By capturing their intriguing actions and sounds in colour, these DVDs achieve what words and still images can't. Hopefully copies will be available through our site but in the meantime, try Darren's site at museumofamusements.
I believe the price is £19.99.

The Old-Tyme Penny Arcade

Monday, January 15, 2007

Christies Sale: 31 May

Email from Laurence Fisher of Christies announcing:
sale of Mechanical Music and Technical Apparatus to be be held on the 31 May 2007:
See Sale Overview

Hi - Happy New Year! Hope all is well and that buys in 2006 are being enjoyed, restored and cuddled.

Just a line to announce that entries for the 31 May sale of Mechanical Music must be with me prior to March 20th. I look forward to helping, as always, this slot machine community.

Kind regards,

Laurence Fisher
Mechanical Music and Technical Apparatus