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MMD > Archives > September 1997 > 1997.09.27 > 12Prev  Next

Nickelodeon Values
By Don Teach

I think Damon Atchison has opened a can of worms with that question.
There are still unrestored nickelodeons out there in this big old world.
One collector recently bought a pristine unrestored Seeburg G for his
collection at a bargain price compared to the asking price by some
dealers.  I bought a super nice unrestored untouched Seeburg K with
Xylophone two years ago and another collector snapped one up also with
flute pipes.  We both paid 8500 for each machine.  I then bought another
K last year that had been worked on and I paid 9500.00 for it.  I have
seen them advertised for 10,000 to 16,000.  A Seeburg K is still a
popular machine.  A KT special at the Chicago coin show a year ago may
have sold for as little as 13,500 in good playing condition.  I did not
see it.   I just heard about it as  I was buying  a KT Special for 12,000
that is a little on the rough side.  On the plus side I did manage to get
about 40 rolls with it and only two of them are "G" rolls.  The other 38
were "O" rolls and "A" rolls almost all Mexican .  So now I need an
electric motor for a Seeburg KT Special.  I had the missing gears, art
glass, case parts, and coin parts.

At the Miles auction a Coinola keyboard "A" roll piano with mandolin
sold for over 4,000 which I never would have considered.  This weeks
Antique Trader had a Seeburg E with pipes for 4,000 which in any
condition as long as it was complete would be a bargain at my house.  You
could sell the parts and recoup your money.  I already have one I bought
six years ago for over 4,000 so you know how I felt when I saw that ad.

It is true that some nickelodeons are bargains to one collector and high
priced to the next.  It just depends on how bad you want something and
where you are looking.  Look at the Coinola X at the Miles auction for
10,000 compared to one selling for 18,000 ten years ago (to me) in the
same condition...  I saw a nice restored Coinola X sell for 35,000 in the
early eighties.  Unfortunately the nickelodeon piano has not kept pace
with the stock market.  I would value a restored nickelodeon higher than
an unrestored one depending on the age of the restoration and quality of
the restoration.  The older the restoration, the fewer number of years
left for the instrument before another restoration is due.  An unrestored
nickelodeon value to me is in how complete it is.  I have never found a
nickelodeon that couldn't be restored.  I have a friend who just bought a
Nelson Wiggin case only with no piano plate or any other parts.  I have
one also in that same condition.  I am making the patterns to cast all
the pump parts.  The spool frame can be made with stock gears from Boston
Gear.  The rest of the Nelson-Wiggin is mostly wood so it can be copied
with ease.  The piano plate is already being cast,  which to me is the
hardest part.

There were many different nickelodeons made over the years.  It would be
almost impossible to list them all here and place a value on them.  A
regular home style player is much more common and easier to find than an
original nickelodeon so I doubt that the value of a regular player would
compare to the value of an original nickelodeon.   There is always the
chance that you will find one at a bargain price of ten cents on the
dollar and it seems to happen every year for someone but not me.  So
the bottom line to the question--- what is a nickelodeon worth --is up to
the buyer and how much he values the instrument.

Don Teach
Shreveport Music Co
1610 E. Bert Kouns
Shreveport,  LA  71105

(Message sent Sat 27 Sep 1997, 21:06:06 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Nickelodeon, Values

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