News & Insights

Mechanical Music & Scientific Highlights

19th January 2023.

Rare and interesting pieces of Mechanical musical history are coming under the hammer in Tennants Auctioneers’ Scientific and Musical Instruments, Cameras and Tools Sale on 1st February, lead by a good coin-operated upright disc musical box made by Lochmann (estimate: £3,000-5,000 plus buyer’s premium). Housed in an Art Nouveau cabinet, the music box was made in Germany circa 1900 at the height of the demand for mechanical music boxes; advances in technology meant that many more people were able to afford to play music at home.

Earlier, cylinder music boxes are represented by an interesting ‘Minor Overture’ Key-Wind Musical Box, thought to have been made by either Lecoultre or Ducommun Girod circa 1837-40 (estimate: £1,500-2,000). The musical box is inscribed with the importer’s details ‘Shindel & Co., S. Brideswell St., Bristol’, and it is classed as a ‘Minor Overture’ due to the proportions of the cylinder. Interesting lots from the 20th century include a remarkably large E.M.G. Mark XB Oversize Horn Gramophone made circa 1935 (estimate: £1,500-2,000). The papier mache horn measures 34 inches in diameter and produces an excellent sound. E.M.G. was founded in 1923 by Ellis Michael Ginn and his brother-in-law David Phillips. By the 1930s the company Ginn had been ousted, and the company was manufacturing some of the finest acoustic gramophones ever produced. Also of interest to collectors is a professional corner cabinet speaker made by Tannoy, a company founded in Dulwich circa 1931 by Guy R. Fountain. It is offered with an estimate of £3,000-4,000.

Further highlights of the sale include a good Binocular Microscope by John B Dancer of Manchester, who produced equipment for opticians (estimate: £1,200-1,800), a Private Collection of Mining Lamps comprising over sixty examples sold in 21 lots, and a large and collection of LP Records. The records date from the late 1960s and early 1970s and focus on psychedelic rock. With over 400 records to be sold in 22 lots and estimates starting at £60-80, fans of music of the era will be able to pick up classics by the likes of Frank Zappa, Jefferson Airplane and the Rolling Stones. 

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