Collection Information

The Collection has 3 main Components, plus 2 more with Items for sale:

Themusicboxman collects music boxes and musical toys from roughly the period 1945-1990. The emphasis is on Japan, but in fact is much broader in that over 20 countries are represented in the collections from Asia, Europe and The Americas.

Japan started with music boxes during Occupation after WWII, first based on Swiss music mechanisms, but very soon with their own, starting with Sankyo. When Japan in Asia became too expensive for the more simple boxes and toys, Taiwan took over (based on Japanese music mechanisms). Later the industry moved on to a.o. Korea, Malaysia, Macau, The Philippines and Sri Lanka.

For some time after WWII till roughly the end of the sixties/early seventies of the last Century, there was a local industry for musical toys and music boxes in the USA and later in Mexico.

Since the early nineties of the last Century, most of the production of music boxes and musical toys has moved to the Republic of China (still being made generally with Japanese music mechanisms), with some more elaborate or expensive Items still being made elsewhere in Asia and Europe. The early quality of the China-made objects was considerably lower than the quality which came out of Japan or Europe, but over the last few years quality is getting better and the objects are more original.

However, in order to define the collection, the cut-off point is by the time the industry changed to the Republic of China. A number of objects from China still ended up in the collection, either unwittingly or because it added to certain lines. So massive is the production in China, however, that some day it might be the subject of somebody’s else collection, but it is avoided here.

Also, some lines are not included in a sizable way, although they would fall under the definition given earlier, as they could be considered the object of another collection by itself. Although some musical dolls are in the collection, basically they are not collected in any strength. The same goes for carousel horses and other subjects. It is just not possible to collect everything, and some limitations need to be imposed (on myself).

With so many objects in the collections, it is unavoidable that from time to time double Items are bought. These double Items are offered for Sale. Themusicboxman is a collector, not a vendor by profession, of music boxes and musical toys.

For my own collection, each object is rigorously inspected, the main characteristics noted, photographed and graded on a quality scale. That also applies to Items for Sale on each aspect of the item, in so far known and reachable and photos are added to show the product from at least 2, or more sides. In principle all musical mechanisms work, if slowly it will be noted.

The Quality Grading Scale used is as follows:

Excellent: As new condition
Good: Minor blemishes/small chips
Fair: Normal wear and tear and one or two minor blemishes or small chips
Medium: Nonessential defects, some color fading, some chips
Minor: Visible multiple defects, chips, blemishes, color chipping
Minimum: Object clearly damaged but music working
Bad: Damage to object and music not working.

Music box mechanisms represented in the collections come from a variety of manufacturers, some not active anymore. Sankyo Japan is said to have over 50% of the world market and as long as they can supply the Chinese market may retain that position in the future. Sankyo is therefore prominently represented in these collections. A summary as follows:

Japan: Sankyo, Toyo, T.O.K., SKK, Kyooh, Kony, Fuji, Sanyo, Yokiwa, Laurel, Joyo, Mikyo, Maruho, Tone, Jatic Ind. Brass, Sa To, IGEON Tokyo, Robin, J.T.O, Swisstone (also produced in Malaysia), Royal and Narco
Switzerland: Jaccard, Reuge, Mapsa, Guendet, Breitler, Thorens, Lador, Romance, JALCO, BEFAG, Narco, Superstar, Swisstone, Frank Margot, Jura-Song, Premilex, Le Carilon, Mathey, Mecal, Ivoline and Wal-Feld
Italy: Simo
Republic of China: YunSheng (Y) (established 1998).
?: Melody (Taiwan, China?)

Not having been able to find on the internet other collections over this period in any size, no example was to hand how to subdivide the components in manageable and related collections. One possibility would have been to do it by country of origin and subject, but as the origin of the objects in many cases is unclear and cannot be guessed at accurately, that would have introduced a most uncertain element and in fact in many cases would give the wrong information and making it extremely difficult to redo it later if better information comes to hand.
The way chosen is to try to define a binding subject, for instance “Birds in Cages” and include all Items in there from all countries or of unknown origin. Each individual item in such a collection is described by physical characteristics, for easy identification, for instance “Red Bird on metal Hanger”.

All Items in each collection are numbered, starting with the component letter (A, B, C, D or E), followed by a collection number of three figures (001, 002, 003, etc) and an individual number of 3 figures in that collection (001, 002, 003, etc). The first item in the first collection (jewelry boxes) is therefore numbered: A 001 001 and so forth.

Collection Master software from Nordica is used for the description and photos of the objects.

TheMusicBoxMan