Herzog Edison Home Phonograph
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $5,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:11)
Science & Technology
Mechanical Music & Science and Technology
GUEST: It was given to me by an aunt of mine who lived in Santa Paula, California approximately 25 years ago. And, uh, she had acquired it from a couple that she worked for during the Depression years and they were, evidently, very wealthy because when they both passed away they had willed the house and the furniture to my aunt. And most of the furniture that they had in their house looked, you know, big and... dark, and it looked just like this piece of furniture here. And evidently they had used it a lot because the drawers were completely full of the cylinders and a lot of the cylinders were completely wore out.
APPRAISER: Well, the interesting thing about this phonograph is the remarkable case. It's in the Art Nouveau style around 1910, 1915. And if we open the door here, we see what's inside, which is an Edison Home Phonograph. The patent date on it is stamped 1906. The Edison Home model was made for a number of years, normally in this kind of straight case, and it would've had a domed lid and a separate horn. Here though we have a papier-mâché horn, which has been grain painted to look oak, and this adapting tube, which links to the horn from the case. If you look at it, you can move the machine in and out, it's not fixed. Edison, around the 1906, 1907 period were producing a lot of phonograph cases which they later called the "art models," and they were in the French, Italian and English style, and this fits right into that. What would be interesting would be to find out if the Edison Company made it or if it was made by a local cabinetmaker. If we look at the original instruction book here, it lists the model, which is the Edison Home, and the original retailing price, $40, although in a case like this it would've been significantly more. Edison is incredibly collectible today and particularly the early phonographs in anything that's even a slightly unusual case. If this came into auction today at a mechanical music sale with the right clients, you'd probably be looking at between about $3,000 and $5,000. And because it's such a unique piece, I can see it could even go higher than that if two people see it who absolutely have to have it. So let's see how it plays. (scratchy band music begins playing softly) Still sounds good.
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