Many people, as usual, attended the specialized auction in Chartres
(France, 1 hour from Paris) with about 200 automatas, mechanical music
instruments and phonos. You may view part of the catalogue on the MMD
web site at:
The unique Vichy automaton illustrated on the first page of the
catalogue, the three acrobats with a dumb-bell, in need of restoration,
fetched 990.000 FF at the hammer, almost 1,1 million FF with premium
(about 175.000 US $).
More reasonably, two Thibouville monkeys playing the violin on a 6
tunes reed-organ, from about 1900, and in need of some restoration,
were sold at the hammer 6.500 and 11.000 FF (ca $1000 and $1800).
A good end of XVIIIth century clock with a small automaton and a good
fusee-driven carillon was sold for 80.000 FF (ca $13.000)
Barrel pianos were difficult to sell. All made under 10.000 FF
($1.500), excepting an exceptional "Art nouveau" style very large one,
sold at 35.000 FF ($5.500).
A "station" musical box with 4 dolls fetched 58.000 FF ($9200),
and a good cylinder 26 keys German monkey organ (with 13 piccolos
"Zauberfloete") sold only for 29.000 FF ($4.600) : it was the bargain
of the day !
Several music boxes (cylinder or disc) were interesting (especially a
3 combs "Sublime Tremolo", but needed various restorations, and were
sold rather cheap. Two boxes badly repaired didn't win any bid, which
proves again that a bad repair destroys forever the value of a box !
(See a good story about that point in Larry Karp's first book "The
Two good musical clock pictures, with early 4 tunes movements (circa
1825/30 and ca 1840) were sold 18.500 and 21.000 FF (ca $3000 to
$3500), although the canvas of the first one (featuring 6 cows in the
foreground !) needed a serious restoration.
An interesting Aeolian 1925 catalogue, listing in 160 pages every piano
roll available in Paris at that period, sold for 700 FF ($100), and a
lot of Duo-art rolls were sold together a little under 100 FF ($15)
Many small musical pieces (photo albums, table tiles, small musical
boxes, cigarette dispensers, wooden musical clocks etc.) sold for a few
hundred francs, which proves that you can yet fill your cupboard with
mechanical music items without spending too much money ...
If you want the result of a special lot, you may e-mail me (I have not
the courage to type the whole list right now !).
Philippe Rouille (Paris, France)