The MBSI website got an inquiry about Zimbalist music boxes within the
past year. Looking at the web using the excellent Google search engine
refreshed my memory a little.
The Zimbalist boxes seem to be like a Toro motor in a Rolls Royce
chassis. The metal cases are produced by Fred Zimbalist, who is,
as I recall (although I couldn't verify it this time), a relative of
They purport to be creations of Indian artisans, nickel plated, and
very collectible. But the bottom line is that the cases hold rather
mundane Thorens movements, one being described as a 30-note Thorens
A Zimbalist box was offered on an auction site for $595 and passed,
another is priced at $1895. Obviously their value is mostly in the
case and, as such, probably wouldn't appeal to serious collectors.
The music box field seems to be made to capture the unwary who don't
realize that beauty is more than skin deep.
Matthew Caulfield (Irondequoit, N.Y.)