English Coin-Operated Orchestrion, ca. 1880
Appraised Value: $10,000 - $15,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (3:00)
GUEST: My dad purchased it from someone on a street in Cairo, Egypt, about probably 1957.
APPRAISER: And how much did he pay for it?
GUEST: I'm assuming that it was probably about $150. He didn't discuss finances with me when I was ten years old. My mom wanted to at least bring back something that we love, so we brought it back with our furniture from Cairo.
APPRAISER: Well, this is an English, late 19th century, coin-operated symphonium orchestrion. The late 19th century part we can determine by its decorative elements. And if we start at the top of the music box, we'll see this harp-form crest over the top of a baluster-formed gallery, flanked by these Corinthian-type columns and this beautiful etched glass front. It's made of oak, and we know that it's English by the maker's mark behind the glass: W.S. Riley & Son, Birmingham, England. And also there's a very faint stencil down beneath here. As well as the size of the penny that it takes on the side, which is an oversized penny. So if we open this front door up... we can see that this is a more complicated music box than we typically find. An orchestrion stands for it's to mimic an orchestra. So this has more elements than just your standard disc-playing music box. In this one here we have bells and a very complicated, gear-driven movement inside. And these very large, 27.5-inch disks, are German manufactured, okay? Also, the 19th-century elements again in this cast-iron cast-brass clasp and this crank on the side. In determining value on this, very challenging. There is no sales records for this particular party, Riley & Son. So we look at it and we think, well, what determines value? Size? And in this case, we've got this very large cabinet. Condition? Great finish, original surface all the way around. And it is in working order with original glass front. And then the desirability of the complication of the mechanism, which in this case, it's an early form of an orchestrion. So it would be desirable. So in terms of an auction estimate, $10,000 to $15,000 based on those elements.
APPRAISER: Why don't we close it up and play it?
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2014 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.