Buying a Phonograph

If you have been bitten by the interest in this fascinating technology and want to aquire a phonograph, there are a number of things to bear in mind.

The advantage that a cylinder phonograph has over an antique disc phonographs, is that they are not easy to fake. Unlike disc phonographs, where - for example - at least 90% being sold on Ebay are fakes from asia. The other side of the coin is that a phonograph can be a complicated piece of engineering. The more complicated, the more fascinating!

An issue to consider if you are unexperienced in buying phonographs is whether the machine is complete and functioning. Repairers are few and far between, and certain repairs can be expensive - such as replacing decaying pot-metal parts, or cutting new cogs. Keep in mind that repairs can run up a bill more than the machine is actually worth.

For a first time buyer, the best advice we would recommend, is that you visit / contact a reputable dealer. The dealer will advise you where best to begin, and should sell you a machine that has been serviced and in best running order.

More seasoned phonograph collectors hunt for phonographs where ever they can be found, from garage sales, to local and international auctions, antique dealers, speciality phonograph collector shows, and of course through various internet platforms. And of course through trading with other collectors.

If you wish to start collecting, the best advice you can get is to start to read about antique phonographs. There are a number of books on the subject. In our book list you can see a selection.

Selling a Phonograph


If you have a phonograph that you wish to sell, you probably will ask yourself what it is worth, How much you can sell it for depends on many factors, including rarity, condition, completeness, and to whom you are selling it to. There are many possibilities:
- Online auction platform. Apart from the seller fees, you can expect to get a fairly reasonable market value for it, as long as you have described it correctly and added a clear photo (the more the better). If you get a lot of people asking if you would "sell it now" chances are you have something more valuable than you expect, and definitely should let the auction run its course .
- Land based auction. High fees and smaller audience than an online platform. However real auctions may have the right customers. Land based auctions are valued by customers as they have to stand by the articles that are consigned to them.
- Phonograph dealer. A reputable dealer will give you a fair price. Do not forget that the dealer is not a charity and has to sell at a higher price in order to make a profit.
- Boot sale or flea market . Not a bad strategy, but you as the seller need to be a bit pro-active and research in order to establish what you have and what it could be worth.
- Sell to a collector. If you have the contacts, this is probably the best avenue to achieve the best price.

We of course are always interested to add to our collections, so please do send us an email with a photo of what you have and an idea of how much you would like for the object.

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Whats it worth?

Phonographs represent a very specialized field of collectables, and too often one hears huge generalizations like " I saw a phonograph sell at auction for $ xxx " .

There is no Blue Book value for phonographs, and like most other collectibles, value depends on numerous factors particularly rarity, condition, completeness, and the correct market. There is no single general price for phonographs. Even the same models of a particular make could have a vastly different prices, depending on the above factors.

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