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MMD > Archives > January 2000 > 2000.01.30 > 01Prev  Next

Restoration Costs - Music Boxes
By Beatrice Robertson

[ Re inquiry from in MMD 000128]

Hi there,  There are several variables about repairing teeth, and the
repairer has to establish the actual job.

Generally, teeth can be replaced for under $100 per tooth.  However,
the broken teeth are really the end result of another problem, since
teeth don't just fall off.  And generally, if teeth are broken, there
is also damage to the cylinder pins.  So the cost of the new teeth may
be the least of the costs.

I suggest that you have someone knowledgeable look at the box before
you purchase it.  There are several repairers in your general area:

  Chet Ramsey, in Coatesville, PA;  tel 610-384-0514
  Al Meekins, Collingswood, NJ; tel 609-858-6421
  Dan Wilson, Raleigh, NC; tel 919-782-4331

However, good repairers are busy, and you should be prepared to
wait for your work to be done properly.

I have a story to impart, which many of our readers will appreciate.
Several years ago I was prowling through an antique store and noticed
a young couple talking to the dealer about a music box.  It was missing
several teeth.

"However," the dealer proclaimed, "they are in the bottom of the box
and can be Super-Glued back on."

Needless to say, I waited outside the store to explain to the couple
that this was not the case.  And, unfortunately, this is a true story.

As webmaster of the Musical Box Society web page
I get some really unbelievable questions about repairs, and Jody does
as well.

We need to do a better job of explaining costs of restoration and why,
both on music boxes and the various pneumatic instruments that are
discussed in this forum.  It is not enough to tell a potential buyer
the cost without also telling the "why".  We may be frightening
potential collectors away forever.

I try to explain that a more expensive, but already restored item may
in fact be far less expensive that the "great buy" they found on eBay
auction or in the local mall.  Perhaps both Robbie and I can add the
"restoration costs" discussion to our pages.  It might be a great
benefit to novice and future collectors.  What do you think?

Beatrice Robertson

 [ Good idea, and I've already put the title on this article.
 [ The analogous inquiry about a player piano might be, "Many
 [ of the notes still work, but it takes lots of pumping!"  -- Robbie

(Message sent Sun 30 Jan 2000, 18:06:53 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Boxes, Costs, Music, Restoration

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