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Thursday, November 20, 2008


The catalogue for the CENTRAL ENGLAND VINTAGE COIN-OP COLLECTORS' SHOW & AUCTION (in association with Mechanical Memories Magazine) to be held on 30th November 2008 at the Coundon Club, Coventry, CV6 1GP is now available in the MARKET. Admittance is by catalogue only at the discounted £4 rate in the Market or £5 at the door. 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.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Joby Carter's Vintage Slot Machine Auction

Joby Carter Auction

Joby Carter of Carter's Vintage Steam Fair is organizing an auction of "Vintage Slot Machines, Pedal Cars, Gag Boards, Wagons, Rides, Transport and anything else related to the fairground industry" to take place on the 26th of October, 2008.

Entries are invited from all and must include a photograph. Click advert above to visit the website. Contact details for entries and catalogues contained therein.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Arnett's Circus Sale

I received an auction catalogue from Southern Counties Auctioneers this morning for a Sale of Fairground & Circus Vehicles, Related Ephemera and Posters: Saturday 13th September. They do not seem to have combined this sale with the postponed slot machine sale - there are only two machines in the auction, but there are a total of 326 fine circus related lots including signs, posters, costumes, ephemera, carvings, a 97 key organ built in 1923, living wagons, vintage fairground vehicles and much more. The full colour catalogue is available for £5 post free from John Bundy on 01722 321215. (Southern Counties website seems to have disappeared at present).

Peter is the fourth generation of "Peter Arnett's who have been associated with the entertainments industry, from boxing to greyhound racing, bingo clubs, fairgrounds and finally the circus.

His father was friends with Billy Manning, whose fairground was situated a Clarence Pier; and with the late Billy Smart (senior). Young Billy Smart would take the young Peter Arnett "on holiday" with the circus during the latter's school summer holidays. Peter's early association with the circus and his ever widening circle of friends and colleagues led to a colourful career which culminated n a travelling circus.

Some of the pieces being offered for sale here were part of that organisation which toured the Easy and South coasts of England during the years 1999-2005.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

An Auctioneer Responds...

Laurence Fisher, Specialist Department Head, Mechanical Music and Technical Apparatus, Bonhams, responded to my last rather pessimistic post with this more upbeat message:

I am working on three collections now which together, would probably span a two day sale and a three-volume catalogue. May well take a year to do, but it should be worth it.

Things for us are looking up, but without the support of all machine collectors around the world, I agree that both MMM and Bonhams will be in the same boat until a change appears. At the end of the day, no one can make someone sell nor buy, but just the magnet of having Jerry's sales for instance should be enough to keep the door open for the masses.

Also, and I take this quote from a well-known member of the slot machine community - "having lower numbers of machines in regular sales does me a favour with the total price!" Mark and I try to get at least a few machines together for each of the two-per-year Knowle sales - 13 May next week has 9 machines.
Lets hope all of us can pick up machines more often from everywhere this year.

The 'credit crunch' will have no affect on those who really do have a genuine interest in the history of machines.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Salisbury Auction Postponed

I received the following letter this morning regarding the Netherhampton Salesrooms slot machine auction that was scheduled for 18th May this year in Salisbury:

Netherhampton Sales

Thank you for your entry for the above auction, however by the closing date, despite extending, we have had too few items entered to justify continuing with the sale. This is unfortunate as we have some interesting and collectable pieces here as promised.
We would hope that you will allow us to enter them into our annual 'Stourpaine Sale' which is timed to coincide with the well known Great Dorset Steam Fair due this year on Friday 29th August. This sale attracts buyer from all over Europe and should provide you with a very suitable alternative. If storage is a problem for you we will take the goods in, store and insure them and transport them to the venue.
Thank you for your understanding and please accept our apologies for any inconvenience you have been caused.

Yours faithfully,

John Bundy
Managing Director
(Netherhampton Salesrooms)

This news comes as no great surprise. Clearly a number of factors, not least the current economic climate, are making it very difficult these days to pull in enough quality machines for a decent sale. Bonhams and the MMM auctions are in the same boat.
A sale now really needs to be founded upon the break up of one or more collections (a rare event). Anyway, let's hope the 'Stourpaine Sale' is a success.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New British Slot Machine Book

I recently received an email from slot machine industry veteran Freddy Bailey about his new book All My Life... A Showman. Freddy has extensive historical knowledge and experience of the pre-decimal British amusement machine days, so this could be a very welcome contribution to our hobby. To be financially viable Freddy says he needs to sell 2000 copies. Unfortunately, in our hobby, that's quite a tall order. I've requested stock for the PennyMachines Library. If you want to see this book (price £40) in print I suggest you email Freddy.

Hi Everybody,
We are now coming to the final chapters in my new book “All My Life………….A Showman”, it will be going to the printers within the next four weeks, anyone who has an interest in purchasing copies, could you please e-mail me with your requirements. We have to publish 2,000 copies to make it a proposition, this has been a gigantic effort and what started out as my autobiography has turned into a 400 page coin machine history as well as a personal adventure. Wherever you are just interested in the many sections on coin operated machine’s, or in reading about my life in that business over the last 55 years, I am sure you will enjoy the book. There is I think something for every collector, be it jukeboxes, arcade machines or slot machines. I am sure you will find items that you have never seen in other similar publications. I have also tried to make it an International study of the various machines and the people that were involved with them. For any
further information please e-mail me at

Thank you. Freddy Bailey (British Coin Machine Historian)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Auctions Ahoy!

Two sales are confirmed for 2008 and inviting consignments: Bonhams Mechanical Music Sale at Knightsbridge is on Wednesday 19 March with an entry deadline of Friday 8 February (details below) and Southern Counties Auctioneers Amusement Machine Sale at Salisbury is on Sunday 18th May, with entries closing three weeks before.

From Laurence Fisher, Bonhams:

We are looking forward to presenting our London Knightsbridge sale of fine 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 of place as the collector's choice for these musical wonders in devoted auctions, which are offered to the many who seek the right examples for the present age.

Following a very enjoyable sale on 20 November 2007, which included an array of rare pieces and two world record prices, we are currently inviting similar entries for this March sale. From early wind and stringed mechanical music instruments, singing bird boxes and gold musicai virtue, to fine cylinder and disc musical boxes, gramophones, phonographs, important wireless, amusement, musical and illusion automata, our international clients await the colourful catalogue with interest.

Already included for March, we have a rare Wurlitzer 1100 78rpm Jukebox, (estimate £3000-5000); a 4-air Grand-Format musical box, (estimate £10,000-15,000); and a fine 19 5/8-inch auto-change Polyphon disc musical box with its disc bin, (estimate £7,000-10,000).

Please join us in our commitment to serve the mechanical music community by contacting me regarding any suitable property well before the sale deadline of Friday 8 February.

I look forward to assisting with your selling needs, Kindest regards,

Laurence Fisher.
+44 (0) 8700 273 633

Polyphon Autochange
Coin Operated 19.5/8-inch 10-disc Polyphon Autochange Musical Box