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Antique Phonograph News
Canadian Antique Phonograph Society


Jul-Aug 2003

Jan-Feb Mar-Apr May-Jun Jul-Aug Sep-Oct Nov-Dec
At The Auction
by Mark Caruana

I watched with great interest two items sell that really validated that anything can happen on Ebay. It turns out that at least one urban legend is authentic. One very astute and fortunate bidder managed to snap up a United States Talking Machine for $1,025.00 (all prices in $US). This may sound like a large sum of money, but this machine is of particular rarity, having been manufactured for only a brief time in 1897 in the early pioneer days of the phonograph disc. As one of only 5 or 6 known to exist it would normally command a price roughly 10 times the selling price.

  

The other item I followed with great fascination was the sale of a Canadian Berliner ID tag that can be found on all Victor machines sold in Canada. Since they are abundant in Canada and I have several of them myself gathering dust on my workshop wall I was perplexed to see that one of these garnered so much attention, eventually selling for $127.59.

Something new that I have not seen before was a phonograph owned by a famous celebrity. A very nice Pathé phonograph with an attractive green horn went for a reasonably high $875.51 from a seller in England who can trace it to a sale of Elton John items sold at Sotheby's.

The most exciting item I found recently was an unusual Parlograph cylinder-shaving machine from Germany which sold to well-known Canadian collector Jean-Paul Agnard. The most marvellous addition to this machine was the set of four different pastel coloured sylinders in blue, orange, pink and purple. Although the cylinders were in rough shape with cracks and pieces missing they are so extraordinary that even in this condition they would make a great addition to Jean-Paul's museum.

Book Review: Antique Phonograph Accessories & Contraptions
by Mark Caruana

What can one say about a new book by the dynamic duo of phonographs Timothy C. Fabrizio and George F. Paul? As usual it is another home run with its luxurious layout and faultless photographs. I have to look on in awe as these two again come up with SO MANY unusual and rare items.

This, their second book on contraptions and their sixth full colour hard cover coffee table style tome is another fine piece of work. In its 224 pages these award winning authors explore more than just horns and manage to come up with some real treasures. I found myself spending a great deal of time pouring over the photo captions which are enormously compelling and witty.

Artist with a Passion for Antique Restoration
by Mark Caruana

While attending the Antique Music Box, Phonograph and Record Show in Delaware last April I happened across a booth displaying an assortment of marvellous painted phonograph horns. I was particularly impressed with a flowered brass-belled cylinder horn which even to the untrained eye looked to be an original custom painted horn. Pursuing this find further I struck up a conversation with the talented artist, Joan Koser, whom I found to be most enthusiastic and friendly, giving me a tour through her photo album where she has documented her extensive work.

  

This wonderfully talented artist has been studying decorative art for over 40 years and has a devotion to restoring antiques to their former glory. Joan's interest in phonograph horns is only part of the wide scope of her accomplishments, as she has in addition restored music boxes, barrel pianos, carousel animals, and band organ facades. Joan is fascinated by the challenge of taking a new or old piece, designing the art for a particular shape, and choosing a colour pallet to suit traditional demands or a specific décor. After viewing the diverse nature of the treasures she has restored, I have no doubt that she is one of only a few artists with the specific historical expertise to take on these large projects.