My long-time friend, Robert (Bob) Denerson, passed away last month,
and his children have unanimously chosen to place his entire roll
collection (numbering over 8,000) in my stewardship. First a little
I met Bob in the late 1990s and he was 70 at the time. He had been
collecting rolls for years before and had about 5,000 when I met him.
He lived in Apple Valley then, and later moved to Chino Hills, Calif.
His sole source for rolls was mail bid auctions. He purchased the
bulk of the rolls from names like Dan Inglima, Mike Schwimmer, Don
Rand, The Montgomery Archive, Ed Sprankle, The Piano Roll Shop, Player
Piano Co., Bennett Leedy, Music Roll Shop, and several So. California
dealers. I have a box full of bid sheets, and I imagine Bob invested
many thousands of dollars over the years purchasing rolls this way.
When I met Bob I had a small collection (about 600 rolls) that was
growing because of my Internet sources. Bob and I made a deal. He
would put up the money to purchase larger quantities of rolls, and
then would get first pick (Bob only kept titles that he did not have).
I would get the leftovers, and that caused my collection to grow to
around 15,000 in just a few years.
Bob quit collecting about ten years ago when he got a pool table. He
spent many hours playing and singing along with the rolls though, so
his love for music did not take second place to his pool playing.
Since he liked to sing along with the music, he started writing the
words on the rolls with a felt tip marker. This made it easier to see
the words, which were written at an angle in full words, not broken
An article was written about him in the local paper (Victorville
Daily Press) on Nov. 27, 1998. It showed photos of his collection
(he used QRS labels on the ends of all the boxes so the collection
would look cohesive), a roll with words written on it, and himself at
the piano adjusting the tracker bar. Although Bob was not an AMICA
member, he and his wife did host a meeting at their home on Aug. 5,
2001 (p. 262, AMICA Bulletin, Sept./Oct. 2001).
That brings us to today, where I am in the position of marketing his
piano roll collection. In 2007 Bob had someone catalog his collection
in a computer file and I have a binder with the printed pages with
about 7,000 rolls listed in alphabetical order. Unfortunately, I don't
have access to the digital file, only the printed pages. Since there
are over 8,000 in the collection, not all the rolls are listed.
After placing the rolls in cartons that hold 40 each, I have numbered
each carton and taken a photo. That way I have a photographic record
of each title, and the carton they are stored in.
I am not sure of the best way to market the collection, so that is
where I need your help. If you are interested in the collection,
please contact me and we can discuss options. I also need to find
a way to transfer the jpg images of the titles (over 200 images) from
my iPad to whoever is interested. Although I could take offers on
specific roll titles, that would not be worth my time. Going through
200 boxes would not be easy as they are stacked, 4-high, in layers of
about 50 cartons each.
Another unfortunate thing is someone else packed at least a third of
the rolls, so those are not in alphabetical order anymore. The rolls
I packed are much closer to being in order, but are not exact either.
The collection is located in Hesperia, California. Please contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org [delete ".geentroep" to reply]