Oversize gramophone brings big result

A remarkably large E.M.G. Mark XB oversize horn gramophone, made in circa 1935, sold for £6,000, which is thought to be a world record for the model, at a recent sale at Tennants Auctioneers in North Yorkshire.

E.M.G. Mark XB oversize horn gramophone

The gramophone’s papier mache horn measures 34 inches in diameter and produces an excellent sound, according to the auction house. E.M.G. was founded in 1923 by Ellis Michael Ginn and his brother-in-law David Phillips. By the 1930s Ginn had been ousted, and the company was manufacturing some of the finest acoustic gramophones ever produced.

Further remarkable prices were seen for rare early audio equipment, including a professional corner cabinet speaker made by Tannoy, a company founded in Dulwich circa 1931 by Guy R. Fountain. It sold for £8,000.  

Elsewhere in the sale, a fine and rare coin-operated carousel musical automaton, almost certainly made in Switzerland circa 1895 by Bornand Frères, sold for a hammer of £13,000 in the Scientific and Musical Instruments, Cameras and Tools Sale. Housed in a beautifully made glazed case, the carousel included horses with riders, sleigh chairs and bisque doll figures under a big-top canopy roof and a six-air key-wind Forte-Piccolo cylinder movement.  

A 19th-century coin-operated carousel musical automaton

Also selling well above estimate at £8,500, and hailing from the same private collection, was a very rare ‘Artistic Painter’ musical automaton, made in France circa 1890 by Gustave Vichy. Dressed in silk and velvet, the artist is seated with sketch pad and pencil, and it played two airs from a direct drive cylinder musical movement.

rare ‘Artistic Painter’ musical automaton, made in France circa 1890 by Gustave Vichy

A further lot from the collection, an interesting ‘Minor Overture’ key-wind musical box thought to have been made by either Lecoultre or Ducommun Girod circa 1837-40, sold for £7,000. The musical box was inscribed with the importer’s details ‘Shindel & Co., S. Brideswell St., Bristol’, and it is classed as a ‘Minor Overture’ due to the proportions of the cylinder.