BLOG JULY/AUGUST 2017

TO OUR READERS, thank you for checking out the web site and reading this blog.,

The web site is a virtual museum of Music Boxes and Musical Toys from mainly the period 1945 till approx. 1990.The almost 5900 boxes and toys are a good mirror of the variety of boxes and toys produced in this period, but as an estimate and that is my estimate only (there are just no reliable data) represent may be 5% of all different models of music boxes and musical toys produced and marketed in that period and that may even underestimate the numbers. Many model boxes and toys were produced at thousands at a time, but we are counting only the different models, not the absolute numbers (that likely runs in the hundreds of millions). The number of tunes used in those boxes and toys run already into the thousands.

No wonder that many people still have music boxes (musical toys from that period in good condition are by now difficult to find; they were children’s toys primarily, have been played with and in many cases lost their function and were discarded) But many older music boxes come with problems, like stuck winders of the music mechanism (governor and or wheels stuck because of clogged old oil), will wind but not play (likely broken spring) to name some examples  or quit working altogether. Some will have sentimental value as they came from family, were received as a child, are a memory to family members that passed away, etc.

We are getting regularly questions about this and try to help with advice. But please first check out the Maintenance Page in the web site as that contains already most of the advice we can give. Advice , as we do NOT do repairs. And in the Links Page of the web site you will find a number of companies/persons selling (new) replacement music mechanisms and the ones that do repair of music boxes/mechanisms. That list, U.S.A. only, is by far not complete. It is therefore always useful to check the internet and see whether you can find a company or person nearer to you. And my advice is always to call first, explain the problem you are trying to solve and if they say they can help, ask for a cost estimate.

In changing an old not working music mechanism for a new one (if that is possible to do without damaging the box itself), please consider that many times it may not be possible to get the same tune. Tunes reflect the times the music boxes were produced,  what were popular songs in a time that may be tens of years ago (the eighties is the period that more music boxes were sold than any other time, but even that is already on average 30 years ago). There are of course ‘ classic ‘ tunes like Wedding March, Singing in the Rain, Rock-A-Bye-Baby that remain popular over a long period, but most are not. Therefore the same tune in many cases cannot be found as a replacement; remember, thousands of tunes were used in the period we cover and distributors now have at best a few hundred ones on stock.

If there are still questions I will certainly try to help with advice where I can.

Enjoy the site and thank you again,

 

THEMUSICBOXMAN

 

May 2017

First a personal note.
This blog has been delayed as themusicboxman had a
knee replacement operation in March, 2017. And that is
a painful affair, with the pain, the doctors say, may
take a year to completely disappear. Throw in a back
thrown out, physical therapy, massage, daily exercises
and it fills the day. But I can walk again, drive
and move around.
But it certainly confronts one with the results of age
and thoughts about the future of the Collection.
The collection really exists of 2 parts, Musical Toys,
approx. 10% of the Collection and Music Boxes, the main
part of the Collection.
It may be that later this year the Musical Toys will be
split off and go elsewhere, no certainty yet. There is
really very little growth in this part of the Collection,
as toys were mainly used by kids and relatively fewer
survived intact, compared to music boxes. In the normal
market of thrift stores, flea markets, estate- and garage
sales little of value is offered anymore. If you look at
the net there are certainly parties still offering
musical toys, but at high prices; the low and medium
market has disappeared. And it was never my intention to
‘ buy ‘ the Collection, the sport was to find items of
interest at affordable prices.
I follow the same idea for music boxes, but find that music
boxes that add to the collection still crop up in many
places at affordable prices. But mainly from the eighties
onward. Earlier music boxes are certainly harder to find
already. And it is also true that the quality of the items
generally is declining. One really has to check an item well
to see whether it is complete, the music working or at least
intact and only slight chips in not important places; and
whether a head, a wing or whatever has not been glued back
on. Some of those glue jobs I have been only able to
see under special light, it happens, they are destroyed.
It is one reason I practically do not buy from the internet
or small private collections or items offered to me. I really
want to check the item myself first.
And please also consider that the end date for items in both
parts of the Collection is around 1990. So even the youngest
items are meanwhile over 25 years old!
The best place for the Music Boxes Collection would be a
museum or a private Collector that wants a ready ‘ museum ‘
in one fell swoop.
If there are interested parties, museum or private investor,
i would appreciate to hear from them to assure the future of
this Music Boxes Collection.
I wish all the readers of the Blog well!
Themusicboxman

FEBRUARY 2017

The year 2016 saw in total well over 20,000 visitors from 124 countries to our web site.
All are very welcome of course.
The 10 countries with the most visitors were:

U.S.A. (almost 2/3 of all visitors)
UK
Canada
Australia
Russia
Netherlands
Singapore
Brazil
Germany
Philippines

In January and February 2017 so far visitor numbers are
running at an even higher level.

On a different subject: Tunes

Sankyo and Reuge do not want us to publish their information on the relation of cylinder numbers to tunes. That is a pity as from the questions we receive regularly there is quite a bit of interest. Visitors sometimes have a cylinder number but cannot match that to a tune.

On our Tunes page in the web site we give some information, some matching of numbers to tunes, that we have collected ourselves from music boxes where there was both still a label available and where the music mechanism was accessible and the number readable; reading the numbers is especially difficult for Sankyo. But although adding to it from time to time, it is only a small part of all the tunes used in music mechanisms.

Should any of our visitors have that information, it would be greatly appreciated if it was forwarded to us, preferably with a photo for proof. Thanks in advance.

Sometimes visitors are asking to name a tune from the music mechanism itself. As there were in my estimate well over 10,000 tunes used in the period of my Collection, 1945-1990, that is very difficult. However, there are in the internet people, or groups of people, who are just trying to name a tune if it is presented to them. My advice is to make an audio file and contact such people/groups and see whether they can help.

Themusicboxman

September 2016

Dear Visitors to Themusicboxman,
With the end of the year nearing fast, the number of visitors to
the site is increasing, as it does every year.
As usual most of the visitors are from English speaking countries,
the U.S.A. in  the first place, but also England, Canada , Australia.
But there is also a bump from visitors from Russia. Apparently
music boxes are a matter of interest there and it is one of the
countries with a small own industry of producing them.
Of course, worldwide most music boxes are now produced in China
and the quality has improved markedly, but still many are copies
of music boxes produced earlier in Japan, Europe and Taiwan. But
they have also developed some that are entirely their own.
Apart from China only Europe still has a small industry left of
producing music boxes, mostly more of an upmarket quality.
Musical Toys using the same music mechanism as music boxes are
not really produced anymore, safe for some small pockets. That
industry died in the nineties of the last century and has been
entirely replaced by battery or electrical toys. As most older
toys do not survive in any good condition as they are obviously
played with by kids, the markets for these musical toys are drying up.
I am therefore happy to have been able in time to build the Musical
Toys Collection as it is today, almost 600 items spanning the
decades from the fifties till the nineties. I am only able
to add to it very sparingly, may be 10 items this year, that
illustrates the difficulty of obtaining a quality musical toy now.
To build such a collection today would be next to impossible and
only at a higher outlay of money, as prices have been going up.
These higher prices will bring more toys out of the ‘ closet ‘, but
also that will end in the near future. Enjoy the Collection!!!
The market for music boxes is really on eBay and Etsy. My guess is
that for all the items offered for sale there (increasingly produced
in China), only 5-10% actually sell in the first offering, often only
those with no minimum to start with. Some price ideas
mentioned are wildly optimistic and unrealistic.
But some professional vendors in markets are defending their
own unrealistic high prices by saying, I could sell it at that price, or
even higher, on eBay, look at what prices are mentioned there. My
reply is if you could, why not do it and secondly do you realize
that only a small percentage sells at moderate prices, not the high
prices? Music boxes are a fun object to have and hopefully remain
attainable for most people interested.
If you look at the sections in my web site Music Boxes For Sale and
Musical Toys For Sale, you will note that I keep prices down, cheaper
than most.
Have a Good Holiday Season and a Happy New Year 2017.