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 Post subject: Decca Trench Type Machines, Value?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:12 pm 
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Victor III
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Location: New Hampshire’s West Coast
I have been looking at Decca portables with the reflective horn. They look to be a higher quality machine than most portables and aaI like the look. They are generally expensive in the US and I was wondering what a fair price would be if the machine was in good condition. I am looking at one with the tooled covering, but it seems expensive for a portable. Than you in advance for any input.


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 Post subject: Re: Decca Trench Type Machines, Value?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:44 pm 
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Victor III
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I've had many of these over years, and can only say that they are definitely not better quality than other portables.

I've found the majority of Decca portables (with the notable exceptions of the 120 and 130) to be very poorly built, usually of rough plywood, and having very thin plating on the fittings. In the case of these "trench" models, they also have very noisy motors. However, having said that, they are visually attractive, and if the soundboxes are in good order, sound reasonably good, but definitely not in the same league as the HMV or Columbia models of the same era. I certainly wouldn't pay over the odds for one.


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 Post subject: Re: Decca Trench Type Machines, Value?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:12 pm 
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Victor VI
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Needle Tins are Addictive
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"I am looking at one with the tooled covering, but it seems expensive for a portable."
How much is "expensive", since that is the relevant question?
"The phonograph† is not of any commercial value."
Thomas Alva Edison - Comment to his assistant, Samuel Insull.

"No one needs a Victrola XX, a Perfected Graphophone Type G, or whatever you call those noisy things."
My Wife


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 Post subject: Re: Decca Trench Type Machines, Value?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:05 pm 
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Victor Monarch
I have good days...this might not be one of them
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:23 pm
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Location: Albany NY
Curt A wrote:
"I am looking at one with the tooled covering, but it seems expensive for a portable."
How much is "expensive", since that is the relevant question?


What do you mean by the tooled covering? There is the leather covering, which is often in bad shape, and the pressed fiber covering- which is what I have, very attractive and durable.

As to value, I paid about $200 for mine, which is a nice example from 1920 and has many characteristics of the wartime models. I wouldn't want to pay much more for one- and not for one of the later ones which I don't consider to be as attractive.


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 Post subject: Re: Decca Trench Type Machines, Value?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:17 am 
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Victor III
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Location: New Hampshire’s West Coast
estott wrote:
Curt A wrote:
"I am looking at one with the tooled covering, but it seems expensive for a portable."
How much is "expensive", since that is the relevant question?


What do you mean by the tooled covering? There is the leather covering, which is often in bad shape, and the pressed fiber covering- which is what I have, very attractive and durable.

As to value, I paid about $200 for mine, which is a nice example from 1920 and has many characteristics of the wartime models. I wouldn't want to pay much more for one- and not for one of the later ones which I don't consider to be as attractive.


This is what I was referring to when I said tooled. The "Buy it Now" price was $499.00, which I felt was way too high. They had a "Make and Offer" option, so I was wondering what that should be. Anyway, the auction ended with the machine unsold, but not relisted.


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 Post subject: Re: Decca Trench Type Machines, Value?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:23 am 
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Victor Monarch
I have good days...this might not be one of them
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That is the pressed fiber- essentially a high quality impregnated cardboard.


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 Post subject: Re: Decca Trench Type Machines, Value?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:46 pm 
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Victor III
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estott wrote:
That is the pressed fiber- essentially a high quality impregnated cardboard.


Thank you for the clarification. I do like the style of these machines.


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 Post subject: Re: Decca Trench Type Machines, Value?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:57 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:19 am
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Phono48 wrote:
I've had many of these over years, and can only say that they are definitely not better quality than other portables.


I have unfortunately to second these sentiments. I am very happy to have a Decca "Trench" in my modest collection, I love it literally and I also carried it with me at the WWI commemorations that I have kept, and in turn the audience seemed to fall in love with it, disregarding much more prominent gramophones.

This said, however, it looks as at least the top and bottom of the case are not even plywood, but just pressed cardboard. At least the speed bezel / pointer were very grossly nickeled, and I also believe they are Swiss generic parts not made exclusively for Decca. I also remember very clearly that when I bought my unit from another collector (who had several), the machine I actually had in mind to purchase had a very noisy motor, so we tried also all others (which were also pretty much noisy) until he very kindly let me cherry pick the only one which had a really silent motor. As a side note, the motor is not outstandingly powerful and will not easily deal with worn-out or sticky records.

Especially with the noise of the motor in mind, in order to avoid disappointments, the Decca "Trench" is one of those machines that I strongly suggest to buy only from another experienced ant trusted collector, or after having tested the machine personally.


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File comment: Decca "Trench" performing at Il Suono Della Grande Guerra WWI commemoration.
Foto Warrez IMG_20181103_2141334.jpg
Foto Warrez IMG_20181103_2141334.jpg [ 3.86 MiB | Viewed 425 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Decca Trench Type Machines, Value?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:27 am 
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Victor V
His epigrams are all his own, the man's an epigramophone!
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:21 pm
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Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.
The motors and soundboxes fitted to Decca "Trench" machines were made by Paillard.
Later Decca machines had Garrard motors, but continued to use Paillard soundboxes.
Most of the post WW2 Decca portables used the excellent Meltrope soundbox, for which Decca had acquired the rights.

The Decca name on a soundbox does not mean that it was made by Decca.

The only "Trench" machines worth high prices are those which can be proved to have seen military service during WW1.


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 Post subject: Re: Decca Trench Type Machines, Value?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:49 pm 
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Victor Monarch
I have good days...this might not be one of them
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 4019
Location: Albany NY
I have one dated 1920 with a British-made "Hall Mark" motor (image of Albert Hall on the plate). Single spring but decently built, and not too noisy if you keep the governor adjusted and lubricated. The reproducer is a typical Swiss style needle bar suspension, but dressed up to look like an enlarged Exhibition - and an Exhibition rubber isolator fits it perfectly


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