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 Post subject: Re: !An Actual Lost Treasure!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:24 pm 
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Victor Monarch Special
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solophoneman wrote:
Since the serial number range on the Type K was 11295-20307, you would have thought that this one would have had the later banner which simply says "The Graphophone" since it is almost at the end of the run with a serial number of 20207.

There's a danger in confusing production with sales. Sometimes serial numbers are accurate timelines of sequential production characteristics, but in the case of the Bell-Tainter Graphophone derivative models, this isn't always so. American Graphophone had a large inventory of unsold treadle Graphophones and parts from which it was drawing to assemble "new" machines - - in very small quantities. Some of these completed mechanisms were undoubtedly inventoried when demand was light. Likewise, cabinets were inventoried and modified as necessary (e.g.: drilled for crank) to meet demand. In this way, earlier production mechanisms and/or cabinets were sometimes sold after later production items. It was a very small, almost hand-to-mouth operation until 1895, when American Graphophone and Columbia Phonograph merged. Until that time, each company had been selling merchandise separately, and it's quite likely that American Graphophone, with its much smaller sales network, contributed many "older" pieces of merchandise to the combined A.G.Co./Columbia inventory. In this way, when Columbia sold No.20207 rather late in the life of the Type "K," it may well have been selling a machine that had lain in inventory for over a year.

solophoneman wrote:
So I wonder what gives with the early banner? Hmmm maybe they ran out of the new ones, and slapped one of the old ones on this one, making it kind of a one of a kind oddity for an extremely late K?

Again, this is NOT a late production "K." It features a round on/off control, and the spring barrel appears to be steel. It's more likely that No.20207 was simply old inventory that was serially numbered & sold long after it had been manufactured.

George P.


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 Post subject: Re: !An Actual Lost Treasure!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:44 pm 
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Victor II
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thanks for the clarification. Things are not always what they appear to be, and logical conclusions based on the limited specific information detailed in Hazelcorn's book must be supplemented with other information supplied by resident experts on the early days of Talking Machine production.


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 Post subject: Re: !An Actual Lost Treasure!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:15 pm 
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Victor IV
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George,

Thanks for giving us yet more information about this machine; you’ve been very edifying (once again).

I see this machine is now up to $8,100.00 with 23 bids, with 4 days and 23 hours to go. John predicted that it is going to go for at least $12,000, based on the bidding.

For a pre-1897 machine, though, the condition this machine is in (missing parts or not) is quite impressive.

— MordEth

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 Post subject: Re: !An Actual Lost Treasure!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:25 pm 
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Victor Monarch Special
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I'm always happy to discuss early talking machines - - especially from the 1890s. I have a particular liking for Graphophones, so all this is quite pleasurable for me...at least vicariously. The last Bell-Tainter derivative Graphophone I saw for sale was about 5 years ago, and was priced at $36,000 - - and it sold. It was a Type "I" which is rarer than a "K," but it didn't have the "Perfected" decal, which in my opinion is a strong selling point...

George P.


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 Post subject: Re: !An Actual Lost Treasure!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:05 pm 
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Victor II
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Location: Somewhere looking for a 9ft Brass Horn
George,

I too prefer an early Columbia over an Edison....But the costs are not for a soon to be 15 year old..... :cry: one day though ill make them my priority when i get the money...

Aaron


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 Post subject: Re: !An Actual Lost Treasure!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:59 pm 
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Victor Monarch Special
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Aaron wrote:
George,

I too prefer an early Columbia over an Edison....But the costs are not for a soon to be 15 year old..... :cry: one day though ill make them my priority when i get the money...

Aaron

Aaron,
Early Graphophones (remember they're not all Columbia!) before 1895 are indeed pricey, but you can always hope for one to pop up. This one did! (Too bad it's on eBay - - back in the old days, some collector would have scored it in an antique shop for a few hundred dollars.) That said, nice Graphophones from late 1895 onward are available for much more reasonable sums. The Type "N" can be had for less than $1000 if it's not carrying gutta percha. And of course, Type "A" Graphophones can often be found for less than $500 - - and there are several minor variations of them. Eagles are common, and sometimes stunning condition-wise. An original black 10" conical horn is an admirable adjunct to these, and nice ones can be had for $150 or less. I like the Type "C" with its 6" mandrel and awesome 3-spring motor. These are underpriced in my opinion between $750 and $1200. Some collectors sniff at them as "business machines," but they were definitely employed by exhibitors as well. And just try finding an 1897 Edison Phonograph for the same price! The "AT" is a pretty machine, and once any pot metal carriage problems are repaired, they're usually trouble-free.

All these Graphophones offer nickel-plating (admittedly rare on an Eagle) and a level of decoration not seen on Edisons apart from the special-orders. Don't get me wrong - I'm quite attracted to early Edison machines - but compared to Graphophones of comparable age, Edison machines look awfully plain. If I were a talking machine customer in the mid-late 1890s, I'd have bought a Graphophone.

Go Graphophone! :lol:

George P.


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 Post subject: Re: !An Actual Lost Treasure!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:28 pm 
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Victor II
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Location: Somewhere looking for a 9ft Brass Horn
phonogfp wrote:
Aaron wrote:
George,

I too prefer an early Columbia over an Edison....But the costs are not for a soon to be 15 year old..... :cry: one day though ill make them my priority when i get the money...

Aaron


Aaron,
Early Graphophones (remember they're not all Columbia!)before 1895 are indeed pricey, but you can always hope for one to pop up. This one did! (Too bad it's on eBay - - back in the old days, some collector would have scored it in an antique shop for a few hundred dollars.) That said, nice Graphophones from late 1895 onward are available for much more reasonable sums. The Type "N" can be had for less than $1000 if it's not carrying gutta percha. And of course, Type "A" Graphophones can often be found for less than $500 - - and there are several minor variations of them. Eagles are common, and sometimes stunning condition-wise. An original black 10" conical horn is an admirable adjunct to these, and nice ones can be had for $150 or less. I like the Type "C" with its 6" mandrel and awesome 3-spring motor. These are underpriced in my opinion between $750 and $1200. Some collectors sniff at them as "business machines," but they were definitely employed by exhibitors as well. And just try finding an 1897 Edison Phonograph for the same price! The "AT" is a pretty machine, and once any pot metal carriage problems are repaired, they're usually trouble-free.

All these Graphophones offer nickel-plating (admittedly rare on an Eagle) and a level of decoration not seen on Edisons apart from the special-orders. Don't get me wrong - I'm quite attracted to early Edison machines - but compared to Graphophones of comparable age, Edison machines look awfully plain. If I were a talking machine customer in the mid-late 1890s, I'd have bought a Graphophone.

Go Graphophone! :lol:

George P.


Ahh... the type "N" one of my favorites....now if i could just find one... And then of course like every Columbia lover when i walk into an antique shop and see a treadle sewing machine my blood preassure begins to rise in the hope that it is actualy a Graphone :lol: ...that day still hasn't come for me..... :cry: but my hope are still high for that day! :roll:

Aaron


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 Post subject: Re: !An Actual Lost Treasure!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 2:58 pm 
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Victor II
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Hazelcorn's book estimates the value of the K spring motor Graphophone at between 10-12 thousand dollars. Of course this one is shy the gutta percha reproducer so it will be interesting to see where it ends up. The favorite Columbia Graphophone in my collection is the BF Peerless from about 1905, with a beautiful ornate designed cabinet including corner columns. The BF is still a fairly affordable Graphophone and it has the longer mandrel to play both the regular cylinders as well as the short-lived 6" 3 minute Twentieth Century Columbia Cylinder records. Mine fortunately included an original 11 pedaled Nickle plated morning glory horn, floor crane, and Columbia Recorder, double sided Cylinder suitcase style storage container, and I was able to buy this lot of Columbia treasures in pre ebay times at an out of the way Antique shop behind someone's house in small rural Town, at a small fraction of what it would have commanded in todays world-wide internet market.


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 Post subject: Re: !An Actual Lost Treasure!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:30 am 
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Victor IV
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phonogfp wrote:
Too bad it's on eBay - - back in the old days, some collector would have scored it in an antique shop for a few hundred dollars.

George,

Great point. Before internet auctions, your potential market was a lot smaller, and while it may have lowered the prices of more commonly sold machines, for something with uniqueness or rarity in its favor, it can certainly be a seller’s market. (And I’m sure that the person selling this machine is very pleased right about now.)

Although often, I think that quite a few of these machines come from people who really may not have any clue what they have, and who knows what can still turn up in antique shops. (From my experience in Boston, which admittedly is very small, it’s mostly records and not machines, although sometimes there’s some good stuff to be found.)

Certainly, you see more 78s than anything. But from the posts of other members, if you search enough antique shops, there are still some great finds out there to be had.

phonogfp wrote:
That said, nice Graphophones from late 1895 onward are available for much more reasonable sums. The Type "N" can be had for less than $1000 if it's not carrying gutta percha. And of course, Type "A" Graphophones can often be found for less than $500 - - and there are several minor variations of them. Eagles are common, and sometimes stunning condition-wise. An original black 10" conical horn is an admirable adjunct to these, and nice ones can be had for $150 or less. I like the Type "C" with its 6" mandrel and awesome 3-spring motor. These are underpriced in my opinion between $750 and $1200.

Are these prices that are possible to find on eBay, or are these more prices that might take some hunting to secure?

I see that the high bid has held steady at $8,100.00 (after 23 bids) since the last time I commented on it (with 3 days 11 hours to go), although I expect it to skyrocket at the end of the auction.

phonogfp wrote:
If I were a talking machine customer in the mid-late 1890s, I'd have bought a Graphophone.

Edison sold more machines than Columbia did, didn’t they?

Thanks again for expanding my knowledge of these phonographs. :D

— MordEth

Proudly supporting phonograph discussion boards, hosting phonograph sites and creating phonograph videos since 2007.
Need web hosting or web (or other graphic) design? Support MordEth by using BaseZen Consulting for all of your IT consulting needs.
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 Post subject: Re: !An Actual Lost Treasure!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:28 am 
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Victor Monarch Special
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David,

The prices I quoted are what I see at shows - - eBay prices are pretty erratic. I don't think a collector would need to search too long to find any of the machines I mentioned at those general price ranges - - sometimes much lower!

During the 1890s, it was actually the Graphophone that outsold Edison in both machines and records. By roughly 1900 - 1901, Edison caught up and surpassed the Columbia products in sales. That's why Edison machines prior to mid-1898 are scarce, while Eagles and Type A Graphophones are more common. There are good reasons why this occurred (Edison was legally hamstrung until 1896), but the details of all that would probably put you in a coma. :)

George P.


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