Dear MMD's, Possibly you have viewed on the MMD web pages, under the
title "Auctions" and thanks to Joyce Brite and Jody Kravitz, a large
part of the catalogue of an auction which took place in Chartres,
France (1 hour from Paris), last Sunday May 14th.
I was consultant to the auctioneer, so I shall give you some results
and comments. One US dollar is roughly 7.20 French Francs. 1000 FF =
140 US $, or 92 English pounds, or a little less than 300 DM. Add to
the hammer price a little more than 10% (exactly 10.764%) as premium
Several bidders from outside France (mainly American and English) bid
successfully, attracted by the favourable exchange rate of the French
Franc. As a whole, the auction -- which presented almost 250 lots of
mechanical music, automatas, fairground artifacts and phonos -- was a
success. Only mechanical (barrel) and pneumatic pianos do not sell
well in France.
A fine Aeolian Duo-art grand piano, about 1925, completely restored and
in very good condition, could not find a buyer within the estimate of
60/80,000 FF (8,000 to 11,000 US $). It is surprising, because it is
the price of the piano alone, without the Duo-Art system.
Otherwise, lots were sold from a few hundred francs to 105.000 FF for
a Limonaire Fournier 47 keys with 3 automatas and 35 books of music
(lot nr. 815). Made in 1992 by this very good modern builder, it
played very well, and fetched almost its actual price for a new
instrument ordered from this firm.
- Documentation : nr. 763, a soft bound copy of "Le Monde des
Automates" (1928, by Chapuis et Gelis) was sold for 6,200 FF
(ca. $1000 with premium).
- Many musical tiles or wooden musical clocks were sold between
400 and 1000 FF (50 to 150$).
- Several "composition case" 2-tunes musical snuffboxes, good
movements, but cases needing restoration, from 1500 to 2800 FF.
A "Palais Royal" sewing necessaire with a 2-air snuffbox movement,
5600 FF ($850 with premium).
- A good "Merline" (a large serinette with two stops, 20 pipes),
beginning of the XIXth century, but needing restoration, for 3300 FF.
- Several organettes : a rare Herophonette, 18 keys, with 6 discs,
5200 FF. Several Aristons, usually in need of adjustment, from 2800
to 4000 FF. A good Organina Thibouville 24 keys, 17,500 FF, and two
similar smaller organettes by Thibouville, "Serinettes parisiennes",
16 keys, for 7500 and 10000 FF. A "Piano Melodieux" (small model 4
octaves, see Bowers p. 360) in the shape of a grand piano, needing
adjustments, 13000 FF.
- A good 4 tunes keywind Ducommun Girod music box (cyl. 20,5 cm),
10500 FF, and a typical Mermod with 4 interchangeable 6 tunes 28,5 cm
cylinders (and their 4 original finely coloured tunesheets, which is
rare, because they are usually lost), coin operated (rare also), sold
for 43,000 FF (6,000 US $).
- A rare and good Calliope vertical musical box, using 52 cm discs,
was sold through the Internet to an American buyer against several
French buyers, for 67,000 FF.
- A very pleasant Accordeon Jazz Seybold (ca 1920/30) with percussions
was sold for 66,000 FF. A very sought after instrument, as it looks
like a real accordion, and from a few yards you do not know that the
player is using not his fingers, but a perforated paper roll !
An experiment was made by the auction house with "live on line"
Internet possible viewing and bidding with a specialized American
company, "leftbid.com". (My old computer does not perform well on this
site! You need a recent and fast PC). It was operational too late to
be advertised on the MMD, but several lots (especially fairground art)
were sold through this way to American buyers.
A complete and official listing of auction results will be available on
the MMD web site within a few days.
The next auction of mechanical music instruments and automatas in
Chartres will take place normally the first Sunday of December 2000,
as usual for more than 20 years now !
Best regards from France