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Hardy on eBay France


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Tinfoilphono

Definitely not something you see everyday -- an original Hardy tinfoil on eBay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/392967252845?

 

The Hardy was commissioned directly by Edison in February/March 1878, to be offered at the Paris Exposition starting in May. It was the very first phonograph ever offered for sale. Needless to say that makes it incredibly important. It's a pity this one is missing the brass patent plate with serial number. It's also missing the wooden mouthpiece, but that could be reproduced. I have all the measurements should someone here be lucky enough to buy it.

 

I've been keeping records of known Hardy tinfoils for decades now. I'm not sure if this is a new discovery, bringing the total to 25, or (perhaps more likely) it may be one I already have listed as having been sold from a French collection 15-20 years ago, missing the plate. I have contacted some collector friends in France to see if they know.

 

1.jpg.c5ea90d2f64129f8f1d03d89799e190f.jpg

 

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Tinfoilphono

It is now confirmed that this is indeed a new find, not the one I had previously recorded with no plate. This brings the census of known survivors to 25, of which 10 are in museums.

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Wow, Rene, this is amazing. I am surprised it turned up on ebay and not as a private sale. I would love to have something like this, but I suspect it will go beyond what I could spend. Thanks for posting it.

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Rene - is there a reason that some had plates while others didn't? Are there serial numbers on any of the Hardys?

 

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Tinfoilphono
Posted (edited)

They all had plates originally. On the eBay listing you can see the holes where the plate had been riveted. Serial numbers were always stamped into that plate, but nowhere else.

 

I know of three that survive with the original plate missing. One of those had the plate replaced by that of a dealer, who presumably resold it. As for why the other two had the plate removed, your guess is as good as mine.

 

Here's how the plates look:

 

plate.jpg.7677076e7b293c2954222517382e26fc.jpg

 

Edited by Tinfoilphono
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Tinfoilphono

Selling price: €26,050 (about $30,800 at current exchange). Plus tax -- eBay is adding sales tax even on international transactions for American buyers. Depending upon your location, that could add $2,000-$3,000 to the price.

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I was quite right when I said it would go above what I could spend. It is right about where I thought it might go. What a piece and some lucky buyer has a terrific piece of history to be proud of.

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Analogous

Re René’s comment, you’ve gotta love California’s “use tax” at time like these!


Out of curiosity, how much do you guys think the absence of a plate diminished its value?

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Tinfoilphono

I would expect a complete Hardy to sell around $40K, so the lack of plate (and to lesser extent, mouthpiece) add up to a hit of several thousand dollars.

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Very interesting Rene..  It seems there maybe more still to discovered in some dark attic. I highly doubt if it will be a a yard sell.   Tom

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Tinfoilphono

According to knowledgeable people, this Hardy turned up in a Paris flea market recently for €300. So incredible finds do still happen -- occasionally.

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