Dear MMDs, The large specialized auction for automata and mechanical
music which took place in Chartres (France) on Dec 7th was interesting
and well attended, although the market is very difficult at the moment,
partly because of the economic crisis and also because the euro remains
expensive against the dollar. So most prices were reasonable.
Circa 200 lots were for sale, with the presence of French but also many
international buyers, from Europe and America. Here are a few prices
(at the hammer). (To convert into dollars the total: hammer price in
euros plus the premium, just add circa 50 percent to the hammer price).
- A fine organ player by Vichy fetched 21000 euros (bought by the
large Alpine museum in Les Gets).
- By the same maker, a black musician playing a banjo, 17500 euros,
and a Spanish musician with a tambourine went for 20000 euros.
- Two fine automata by Roullet Decamps: an amusing Chinese man
drinking tea and emerging from a jar, 7100 euros, and a beautiful
peacock, really impressive, was sold for 5500 euros.
- An electrical automaton of a Drinker, by Triboulet, successeur de
Vichy, for 6500 euros, and the "Groom de chez Maxim's" for 8500 euros.
- An original birdcage by Bontems was sold for 3400 euros, and a very
fine snuffbox signed "Rochat à Genève", with painted lid, complete but
needing a complete restoration for only 4600 euros.
- A 36-keys Foucher-Gasparini organ sold for 10500 euros, and
a 34-key "Limonaire" by Damien Jane for 5000 euros.
- A good cylinder portable Gavioli organ, for 8000 euros.
- A very good and large "Nallino" coin operated barrel piano, in
perfect condition, for only 2000 euros. People are afraid of the
weight and size of such instruments, although they may play very well.
- A small reed organ playing 7 good tunes for 2200 euros, a good
36-keys organina Thibouville for 3500 euros, and a Melodion Meissner,
26 keys, 8 tunes, for 2200 euros.
- A typical Turkish street barrel piano with decorative fabrics for
4000 euros. Another one, more simple, was not sold.
- A Stransky mechanical piano (Hupfeld like system), for 2300 euros.
- A fine XIXth century serinette, in rather good condition, with
tune sheet, for 600 euros.
- A good Sublime Harmonie "Boîte de gare" by Vidoudez, with 3 dancing
dolls, as could be seen in the waiting rooms of the Swiss train
stations, for 5500 euros.
- A musical box playing 4 Christmas carols, coin-operated, for 580
euros (needing cleaning and some simple restoration).
There were several other musical boxes, but sometimes difficult to
sell when they are not in perfect condition. This is normal when you
think of the difficulties and the cost of restoration.
Many small artifacts or novelties (musical alarm clocks, tiles,
photo albums, etc.), for very reasonable prices; many good gifts for
Many phonographs, amidst them:
- A rare small German folding phonograph "Oratiograph", for 5000 euros.
- A "Bébé Jumeau" Phonographe doll, for 3200 euros.
- A "Peter Pan" portable phonograph for 900 euros.
The next auction in Chartres will take place in May 2009.
The English and French catalogues, with or without images (as well as
catalogues of previous auctions), and the prices fetched are posted
on the MMD web site at http://www.mmdigest/Gallery/Auctions
Thanks again to Robbie, Joyce and Jody.
Kind regards from France,