Hi All, I have enjoyed the comments by various individuals regarding
the potential and/or actual value of a music roll with an unbroken seal
(called a 'virgin' roll).
In my opinion, they are likened to bottles of wine. Everyone knows
that certain vintages of wine are worth thousands of dollars as long as
the 'seal' is unbroken. Much to the dismay of many a collector, these
'special' vintages typically turn out to be not much more than vinegar,
once they are opened and tasted.
So the question of value becomes more one of value based on the
material contained within than the fact that the box has never been
opened. In my opinion, if the artist is highly regarded as one who
significantly changed or added to the industry, there exists the
possibility that that roll is especially valuable for name-sake only...
not unlike a bottle of fine wine.
If, on the other hand, that specific roll has been determined to be of
rather generic quality, and contains nothing notable in the eyes of the
industry, the seal itself is of no specific consequence or value since
there were many thousands of such seals.
Conversely, there is always a certain allure to being 'the first' at
anything; be it records, tapes, rolls or whatever. Whether anyone is
willing to pay more for the privilege of being 'the first to play' such
a roll is quite debateable, since there is (realistically) nothing to
be gained, save hearing the music.
In my small collection of rolls (and I use the term collection
reluctantly), I have a number of 'virgin' rolls from QRS. To me, they
are only worth their face value and I would be happy to get the list
price for any one of them. Fact is, they are rolls that I've been
unable to sell for many years (seeing as I became a non-stocking dealer
many years ago). And on top of that, I have a number of customers who
have 'virgin' rolls in their collections. Fact is, the tunes were
never of significant interest to be listened to in the first place, and
were often purchased because of the name of the song, and not because
they were well known player piano masterpieces.
The bottom line to me seems to be whether or not a particular roll
is so noteworthy that the original owner had the foresight to never
open it. Let's be real here. If I bought a roll for the purpose of
enjoying the music, it would have been opened within a few days. If
I bought the roll with the express purpose of collecting it, and
knowing it would appreciate over time, that seal would remain intact.
So the question becomes; Is there siginicant evidence to warrant never
opening that roll? Or is it like so many other non-important rolls that
it simply never got played because nobody really cared one way or the
My simple opinion,
John A. Tuttle