Dear MMds, The specialized auction, which was held on Sunday,
Dec. 8th, 2002, was a success, although the general international
and economical context is rather unfavourable. (For the illustrated
catalogue and complete results, see the MMD Auctions web site at
Here are some tendencies amidst the ca 240 items presented for auction :
(1 euro is equal to 1 US dollar, and add a premium of 15%) :
1 - Automatas
Although the Roullet-Decamps "surprising flower girl" could not find a
lover for 20.000 euros, which was surprising, the Vichy Japanese mask
seller girl fetched 21.500 euros, and a Vichy "Pierrot playing for the
Moon", 26.000 euros.
A fine group of three showmen under a globe, by Phalibois, 15.500 euros;
same price for a very beautiful guitar player by Decamps. Many fine
and classical automatas were sold at reasonable prices, from 2500 to
5000 euros, and even 1500 euros for a beautiful manivelle toy featuring
two couples dancing.
Several picture clocks with music : two fine paintings in large gilt
frames (movements needing restorations) for 2700 and 2200 euros, two
good automaton pictures for 2800 and 3600 (this last one featuring
several animals, with a monkey playing an Ariston organette), and a
rather large automaton picture with balloon, train, sailing ship,
mills, etc. for 10.500 euros.
A special mention for a good 3 birds cage by Bontems, sold for 7.200
euros, and a Black Forest whistler (height 45 cm) for 1600 euros.
2 - Musical boxes
The famous book in French : "L'histoire de la boite a musique", by
Chapuis, published in 1955, fetched 420 euros.
A musically excellent 6 tunes musical box, featuring a horse on the
inlaid lid, 16 cm brass cylinder, end of XIXth c., was sold for 1850
euros, whereas 3 good Lecoultre boxes, from the years 1860/70, cylinder
33 cm, were difficult to sell at 1000 euros each, and a good movement,
teeth by groups of 2, cyl. 17 cm playing well, fetched only 1600 euros :
a sign that customers prefer now appearance to technical or historical
Curiously, one of the Lecoultre boxes is playing a peel of bells, in
the English change ringing fashion : the only time I heard such a tune
imitating very well bells on a musical box !
It seems that musical snuffboxes are not in fashion any more : four of
them were in the auction, playing very well : they were sold at very
reasonable prices, between 280 and 550 euros, 700 for the best one
(teeth by groups of 5) featuring the mythological goddess Galathee on
her cart drawn by dolphins, and surrounded by other marine divinities...
3 - Musical novelties
In this auction were quite a lot of photo albums, cigar dispensers,
tiles, and various gadgets, from a few dozen euros to 350 euros, the
price for a very fine glass musical decanter.
4 - Organettes and pianos
Two rare organettes in need of restoration : a 24 keys Clariophon for
500 euros, and an Orchestrionette Ehrlich for 700 euros. A very
classical Organina Thibouville 24 keys fetched 2800 euros, although
it worked rather noisily.
The 3 barrel pianos in the auction, all needing some attention, were
sold between 800 and 1600 euros.
A 37 keys Melotrope, in very good original condition and original box,
to be used on a piano keyboard, sold for 1300 euros. A 65 keys push-up
with 130 rolls sold for 1500 euros, and 18 Duo-Art rolls sold for ca 15
euros each. Does that mean that a new interest appearing towards pianos?
5 - Miscellaneous
This time, no pipe organ, portable or not, was offered for sale. Some
fairground artifacts, coin operated machines and phonos were sold to
amateurs, especially a good carrousel swan (1000 euros), to decorate
the entrance of a pleasant hotel, and a good Jumeau doll with a Lioret
phonograph inside, for a normal price of 3400 euros.
The complete results are posted at the MMD Auction pages.
Next auction in May 2003 !
With best regards,
Philippe Rouille (Paris, France)