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The Old Town Hall Auction
Paris, Ontario has a long association with phonographs.
Photo-postcard from about 1905
of the wonderfully-wacky R. West, Entertainer.
(Collection of Bill & Betty Pratt)

The small town of Paris, Ontario (north and west of Hamilton), often plays host to a most interesting auction, which takes place about every 6 to 8 weeks. Inside an old converted church are often 700-plus items, most of which are from estate clear-outs, and usually consist of art, lamps, jewellery, furniture, rugs, china, etc.

I hadn’t been to one of these auctions in about 5 or 6 years. I felt, however, that I could not ignore the auction of February 17th 2007, due to the description that was given in their pamphlet: "Super collection of antique gramophones & gramophone parts, --cylinders—1000’s of records, -- antique and retro radios…" I’m sure that anyone reading this newsletter would understand my excitement! My cousin Rob and his wife, Pina, were kind enough to do the hour plus driving from Toronto on this cold winter day.

The auction seemed to attract much larger crowds than in the past. Part of the reason, I’m told, was due to advertising on the internet. It was standing room only for us and it seemed like a long day, as approximately 100 items per hour were sold under the hammer. If you’ve been only to a CAPS meeting auction, you’ll find the pace at this event is extremely quick. Do not pay attention and you’ll miss the item being sold (and I’m speaking from experience!)

Listed below is a rough inventory of most of the phonograph-related pieces. In addition to the selling price, the lucky buyer can expect to pay a10% buyer’s premium, 7% Provincial Tax, and 6% Goods and Services Tax (so a 24% mark up can add considerably to the final invoice).

  • Edison Fireside Model B. Good condition, with original paint cygnet horn, crane and lid. Diamond B reproducer: $1200
  • 30 or so unusual records, Pathé , Hit of the Week, Berliner, etc: $260
  • Pathé outside-horn disc machine (#4?), with re-painted horn: $1600
  • Victrola VI, good original shape: $170
  • Box of 62 two- and four-minute cylinders: $160
  • Edison Gem, Model B, 2-minute with extra horn. Fair shape, repainted horn: $450
  • Outside-horn "Clement Saturn" disc phonograph, repainted horn: $580
  • Columbia BK, 2-min with Lyric reproducer: $400
  • Box of 50 cylinders: $170
  • Four odd horns (makes unknown): $170
  • Large assortment of unusual needle tins: $300
  • Approx 300 Diamond Disc Records (sale price U/K)

In addition, there were a couple of other Edison Diamond Disc upright console machines (sorry, but I didn’t get the models) that sold for a very reasonable $150 and $200.

Usually there are very few, if any, phonograph-related items at this auction. However, if you like other antique items, you may want to check it out to see what deals are available.

The Old Town Hall Auction is at
13 Burwell St,
Paris, ON
N3L 2C4
Website: The Old Town Hall Auctions