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    Polyphon Music Box and Poster, ca. 1895

    Appraised Value:


    Appraised on: July 14, 2007

    Appraised in: San Antonio, Texas

    Appraised by: Ken Farmer

    Category: Furniture

    Episode Info: San Antonio, Hour 3 (#1209)

    Originally Aired: March 24, 2008

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 2 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Music box, Poster
    Material: Wood, Metal, Paper
    Period / Style: 19th Century
    Value Range: $7,000

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    Appraisal Video: (2:31)


    Appraised By:

    Ken Farmer
    Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture, Musical Instruments
    Ken Farmer Auctions, LLC

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: My family lived in Germany in the late '50s and early '60s. And my father was kind of famous in our family for going around and finding things, and one day he came home with this.

    APPRAISER: This is the equivalent of an 1890s jukebox.

    GUEST: Yes, sir.

    APPRAISER: Originally the works were cylinder players. But when they came up with a disk player, then it became a much bigger sound. And the neat thing about this one too, is that it was coin-operated. And according to this, I guess it was the German equivalent of a nickel. This is made of walnut. Very popular wood in the late 19th century. I love that gilt brass or bronze symbol on the front of there. And it looks like it has the old cloth.

    GUEST: Yes, sir.

    APPRAISER: The other thing that I thought was neat was when you open it up... it has an original ad...

    GUEST: Yes, sir.

    APPRAISER: …for Polyphon. That was in there when your family got it?

    GUEST: Yes, sir.

    APPRAISER: This is the golden age of lithography. And they would have sent this to the retailer to hang up in the store to advertise. That alone is probably worth $1,000.

    GUEST: Wow.

    APPRAISER: Now, as far as the rest of it goes, they made these in a lot of different styles-- bigger cases, smaller cases. And the death knell of these came from this magical phrase-- "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

    GUEST: Thomas Edison?

    APPRAISER: Thomas Edison. The first recorded words. And they kept up with Edison for a while. They came up with the technology to do automatic changing on the disk.

    GUEST: Mm-hmm.

    APPRAISER: And actually, Regina came up with the “Reginaphone,” which would play phonograph records. So what do you think it's worth?

    GUEST: I've looked online at different shops. I've seen similar. I've never seen one exactly like it. I would guess somewhere in the neighborhood of $8,000 to $12,000.

    APPRAISER: Well, you're probably high there.

    GUEST: Okay.

    APPRAISER: There maybe will be some people retail that might ask that much, but at auction, my feeling would be that its value's around $6,000.

    GUEST: Oh, all right.

    APPRAISER: Of course, you add $6,000 for that, $1,000 for the advertising poster, we're pretty close to $8,000.

    GUEST: Yeah.

    APPRAISER: I think we need to crank it up and see what it sounds like, don't you?

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