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MMD > Archives > April 2006 > 2006.04.24 > 04Prev  Next

Capitol "G" Roll G-510 of 1933
By Larry Norman

Robbie Rhodes wrote in 060423 MMDigest:

> This style "G" nickelodeon roll in good condition recently sold
> at eBay auction for US $866.00.  The competitor's final bid was
> US $856.00.  MMDer Jim Welty wonders what's so special about it
> and asks, "Are the bidders crazy?"

A number of years ago, in a small town courtroom, a psychiatrist
was testifying for the defense and made the following statement in
reference to the sanity of the attorney's client: "Everyone in the
world is a little crazy but some people are, to a degree, a little
more crazy than others."

The titles listed for this roll are very nice and I know almost all
of them and I am sure others out there know them all.  I guess a couple
of questions would be (a) is this roll readily available in a music
store or from a recutter, and (b) do the bidders know that a copy is

If only one person wanted the roll and bid on it I am sure that the
person would have won the roll for the minimum bid.  But maybe there
were two or more (crazy?) bidders out there who were each willing to
bid over $800 for that roll.  It takes more than one bidder (crazy or
not?) to make the prices go higher.

Are the bidders crazy to bid this much?  Since I run a music roll
auction, I am privy to how much some people are willing to bid on
certain rolls.  In my last roll auction I offered several rolls recut
by Don Rand and Ed Openshaw.  For example:

Lot 260, "Knice and Knifty", played by Roy Bargy.  I had one bidder who
left a reserve bid of $202.00.  He won the roll at $33.00.  He had also
placed a $152.00 bid on lot 265, "Sunshine Capers", also played by
Bargy and won it at $23.10.  I guess he was thankful that there were no
bidders "crazy" enough to bid higher than $30 or $20 for these rolls.
Now, mind you, both of these rolls were recuts and not original rolls.
It is obvious that this bidder wanted these two rolls anyway.

Lot 55 was a Duo-Art roll, "Girl of My Dreams ', played by Pauline
Alpert.  The bidder had left a maximum bid of $62.88.  The bidder won
that roll at $27.50.  This is an original Duo-Art roll.

These are just a couple of examples. I have over the years had people
bid as much as $800 for rolls.  Most people (are perhaps not so crazy?)
and bid a lot less.  I did one time have a couple of bidders bid over
$100 for the same rolls.
Now, from my own standpoint, I remember a number of years back when
Frank Adams was making great recut rolls for us in the hobby and had
received permission from QRS to produce Liberace rolls with added
Ampico coding.  I had not gotten around to getting all of them and one
day I got a sales list from Frank that he was selling the rolls off.
I did not have a copy of the Gershwin performance and found I was too

A year later I went to an AMICA convention and, at one of the mart
dealers, I spotted the roll in a box of other rolls.  I immediately
grabbed the roll and said "Mine!" and then I asked how much it was.
I did not care how much it was, I wanted the roll and did not expect to
find one.  The owner could have said any price he wanted!  Fortunately
for me, it was very affordable.

Many long years ago, I used to frequent an antique shop in Long Beach,
California, that had lots of musical toys, i.e., player pianos, organs,
nickelodeons, rolls, etc., and music boxes.  You could play the rolls
and machines and it was wonderful.  They had a copy of "Tangled Tunes",
by Albert W. Ketelbey, a pot-pourri of "106 favorite melodies humorously

I loved to play that roll and wanted it bad.  It was not for sale.
I went there for about a year and each time I begged to buy the roll.
Each time the answer was the same: No!  Finally one day I took my check
book and said, name your price!  I was prepared to pay as much as
$1,000.00 or more if necessary to get that roll.

Was I that crazy?  I came home with the roll.  I recut it a few years
back and it is currently sold out, but you can still listen to it on
my web site at  Enjoy it.  I now
have two original rolls in my collection as well as a copy of the
recut.  I no longer need to buy another copy.

In this hobby, there are a lot of wonderful rolls and some of them
are very scarce.  A few years back I did a performance in the AMICA
pumper contest in Portland, Oregon, of the 1950's tune, "He Wore Black
Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots, and a Black leather jacket with
and Eagle on the back".

Do you have a copy of that roll?  Try and find a copy!  It was made in
the 1950's.  I still do not have an original of this roll, but through
the kind generosity of QRS Music Co. I do have a copy of the roll in my
collection with a picture of me on the roll, in the outfit described by
the song, sitting proudly on a Centennial Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Now I think you might have an idea that some people are willing (or
"crazy" enough) to pay just about anything to get a copy of a roll that
they really want.  I am not sure that any of us are really crazy, but
if you want a roll bad enough, you may be willing to pay a price to get
it.  I am sure that the winner of the G-roll is very much delighted and
does not think he is crazy either.  I am sure that the second bidder is
not as happy.  Maybe someone should recut the roll and make copies

Larry Norman - from the heart of the Beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of
Virginia.  Would you believe that I picked strawberries yesterday at
a farmer's berry patch?  Going to make a fresh strawberry pie!  Yum!

(Message sent Mon 24 Apr 2006, 13:36:38 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  1933, Capitol, G, G-510, Roll

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