Are we fulfilling our own prophecy?

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Django
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Are we fulfilling our own prophecy?

Post by Django »

I may be all wrong, but I can’t help but think that a big part of the lowered value of antique phonographs is due to collectors wanting to get a “steal”. I am guilty of wanting to get as much as I can for as little as possible, but to date, I always pay at least the asking price, (sometimes more).

I posted a Circassian Walnut Victrola in the eBay/Craigslist section last evening, (not mine). If I had the space, I would have sent the seller a full price offer as soon as I saw the listing. A Circassian Walnut Victrola for $950.00, and there seems to be little or no interest. That is baffling to me, (yes, I am easily baffled).

It’s no wonder that people are parting out machines. I recently offered a nice, 1925 Credenza with the original rebuilt Brass reproducer here, on Facebook and on Craigslist for $450.00. I reduced it to $375.00, and couldn’t sell it, so I sold the original, Brass reproducer on eBay for $580.00, and I will part out the rest, (the reproducer was for sale for less than a day). I hated to do it, but it was my best option. I hope that I can get something for the motor, grill and tone arm so that a few machines can be completed from this perfectly healthy organ donor.

thatonejohn
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Re: Are we fulfilling our own prophecy?

Post by thatonejohn »

Django wrote: Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:01 am I may be all wrong, but I can’t help but think that a big part of the lowered value of antique phonographs is due to collectors wanting to get a “steal”. I am guilty of wanting to get as much as I can for as little as possible, but to date, I always pay at least the asking price, (sometimes more).
It's not the collectors wanting to get a steal. It's basic supply and demand, and the demand is low with the current mobility of people/jobs and renting vs owning a home. I write this as I am currently in the middle of a 400 mile move, and moving half a dozen large phonographs and assorted records is a chore and additional expense.

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MTPhono
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Re: Are we fulfilling our own prophecy?

Post by MTPhono »

I recently completed my 4th move in 10 years and that was with well over 100 machines and thousands of records. I wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy but it is possible.

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FellowCollector
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Re: Are we fulfilling our own prophecy?

Post by FellowCollector »

I saw the pictures of the machine in question not long after the listing was posted and I'm not convinced that this is Circassian walnut which is why I didn't make a move on it. Most of the cabinet looks like choice American walnut, including the front, which would make the asking price just about market retail. The picture of the top does appear to be very similar to Circassian walnut but the rest of the cabinet I'm not quite convinced. The cabinet doors in particular don't appear to have the sharp linear contrast of light and dark grains that Circassian walnut usually exhibits.

Doug

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Skihawx
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Re: Are we fulfilling our own prophecy?

Post by Skihawx »

Wow! Four moves in ten years? Maybe you need custom built knock down crates for everything so you can pack up quickly and safely. We moved once from Indiana to New Hampshire. 27,000 lbs in a 53 foot trailer. Good thing the woman from the moving company estimated these "cabinets" at 22,000 lbs. Regarding the Victrola XVI, I don't believe it is Circassian Walnut. There is not a picture of the paper label, but I'd guess it says "Special Finish". I sold one very similar, which had some issues, 15 years ago for $2K. The guy buying it was convinced it was Circassian. The people I trusted agreed with me and I was sure it was not. It was a from the same period and the label said "Special Finish". Regarding prices, I agree it is supply and demand. Collecting seemed to skip generation that is 30 to 40. But there seem to be a fair number of really young guys.

epigramophone
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Re: Are we fulfilling our own prophecy?

Post by epigramophone »

The 30 to 40 age group are probably too busy juggling careers, childcare and mortgages, with no spare time or money for collecting.
Although I have collected all my life, the hobby only really took off after I retired.

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Skihawx
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Re: Are we fulfilling our own prophecy?

Post by Skihawx »

I didn't seem to have a problem in my 30's but I got my first Victrola when I was 10 and already had a collection by the time I was 15. Maybe one would call that a problem.

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Django
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Re: Are we fulfilling our own prophecy?

Post by Django »

The Walnut Victrola and Credenza were mentioned as examples and not my only reason for the post.

Regarding the wood, I think that it is Circassian, or a mix of Circassian and Figured American Walnut. The pictures that she posted are not very sharp, but the picture of the lid, (unfortunately damaged), looks like Circassian to me.
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Re: Are we fulfilling our own prophecy?

Post by Curt A »

I think that part of the problem is that there are many people in the collecting community and even unknown to the collecting community who, over many years, hoarded hundreds/thousands of phonographs and saved them from scrap drives. These people are now passing away and leaving many common and rare machines behind - for example, the recent Stanton's Auction where many unusual machines were auctioned from an estate that was not well known (at least by me)... There is a guy near me that has over 1,000 machines that might flood the market when he dies...
"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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Granby
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Re: Are we fulfilling our own prophecy?

Post by Granby »

I will add a slightly different angle to this discussion. Hear me out on this....

From the little I can see, the collecting community is low on prices offered. With knowledge and good taste comes the ability (and the desire) to be more picky. And, as many of us run out of room, this makes us become more picky, too. :lol:

Seriously though, as a younger ("newer") guy to the hobby, I have been surprised at the low prices on phonographs among collectors for models such as Edison Homes, Standards, Columbia Grafonolas, Victrolas, etc. I think if "we" think outside the box, non-collectors are probably still are willing to pay $250, $300 plus for a nice typical Grafonola at an antique mall. You know, the models "we" wouldn't give $75 to $100 for.

My point is this: There is a market for phonographs (and "antiques") among people who aren't "experts" and know the history of the business, the name of every component part :D

Don't hate! I mean no offense. But, I grew up in the antiques business and saw peoples' eyes light up at the sight of the most common mass produced Victrola. And, those people would often spontaneously pay decent money if it fit their decor or their whim that day. Price may be "low" right now, but the economy is very weird (and will probably get more strange.... hold on, hint, hint....)
- Chris
Licensed Funeral Director (NC/VA) Historian, Collector, Enthusiast.....

Author of: Norfolk's Greatest Home Furnishers: The Story of Phillip Levy & Co. and The Granby Phonograph

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