What are Collectible Music Boxes?

One of the most popular collectibles to find at estates sales are music boxes. For hundreds of years, people have enjoyed listening to the sounds made by music boxes. Before there were radios and CDs, the only way to hear music from a mechanical device was on a music box. Music boxes work with specialized coded information that is on a paper roll, disk or metal cylinder that will play a melody on strings, pipes or tuned metal teeth. Music boxes were highly prized as gifts for loved ones for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas. Condition can be a concern but boxes in good condition or repair can still play its music beautifully.

How to Learn More about Music Boxes

Antique and vintage music boxes are often unique because the items were handcrafted by expert artisans. The items are frequently found at estate sales when music boxes are kept in families and passed down through several generations. To learn more about what to look for when searching for and buying music boxes, interested collectors can join associations where there are other hobbyists with the same interest. Here are a few excellent groups that can provide vital information to new collectors:
• California Antique Phonograph Society
• Michigan Antique Phonograph Society
• Automatic Musical Instrument Collector’s Association
• Musical Box Society International
Many collectors interested in finding music boxes at estate sales also look for old-fashioned phonographs or other devices that automatically play music with windup or spring mechanisms. Collectors may specialize by seeking disc, cylinder or bird boxes, and additional devices that play music automatically are pianos or organs.

The Origins of Music Boxes

During the 1700s, music boxes were manufactured in the United States and Europe to meet the demands of people who wanted to listen to music created by an automated machine. Originally, a music box played only one tune, and these were usually small items that ladies kept on a dressing table to hold jewelry. Eventually, music boxes were created that worked with interchangeable discs that led to phonograph machines.

Types of Music Boxes

A collector might want to find music boxes made during a particular time period or created in a certain country such as Germany or Switzerland. There are also collectors seeking music boxes made by a particular company such as Polyphon, Stella or New Century. When collectors get to know the organizers of estate sales, it is possible to learn if there are music boxes available with gold, silver and wood cases or devices embellished with singing birds. Some collectors want to choose small music boxes while others look for the larger ones that were placed in train stations and required a coin to make it work.

About Prestige Estate Sales

Prestige Estate Sales headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado, has expert appraisers and sellers who arrange estate sales in the Denver and across the country. Before an estate sale occurs, objects are evaluated and advertised to help prospective customers make a decision about visiting.
Photo Credit: MBSI