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Stanton Sale - A few observations

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First off, I was NOT at the sale, so obviously take my comments with a grain of salt. I did however, follow it online, and made some notes as I went. Of course, evaluating the machines on the basis of the photos is difficult at best, as most had only one photo, and the descriptions of the machines were not extensive.


That said, here are a few of my comments.


The three top sellers were the Nickel Triumph in a fancy cabinet (lot 154A) which brought $18,000. The Edison “Ideal” (200) which was hammered at $11,500, (without cover or horn) and the early Columbia Model K Cylinder player (250) which sold for a rather disappointing $6,250. Perhaps someone who inspected it could shed some light on what seems like a bargain price, although from the photographs it was a long way from mint condition.


Overall, given the light public attendance due to the pandemic - which meant fewer in-person bidders who were able to inspect the machines and the need for more machines than usual to require shipping, prices seemed reasonable. Liveauctioneers adds a 20% buyer premium for online bidders, so while not all items sold online, a good number seemed to - so a slightly lower than average hammer price was to be expected for those lots.


Some of the lots that brought well over Stanton’s estimate included a VE10-35X Automatic Orthophonic at $2,300, an original conical black Berliner horn at $2,600, a drip pan Edison Gem at $1,000, a “long throat” Concert reproducer @ $700, a set of original listening tubes at $475, and a pair of Edison Homes with unusual attachments - one with a Phon-Arm ($2,600) and another with a reproduction Polyphone attachment by Paul Baker @ $2,500. Perhaps the biggest “winner” though was lot 413, which was a gooseneck connector for the wood cygnet horn on an Edison Opera, which realized an amazing $500 against a $50 estimate.


At the other end, were a few lots which fell well short of estimate. The Columbia (Bell & Tainter) Model K mentioned earlier was one that stood out. Estimated at $10-$15K, it’s $6,250 hammer was surprisingly low. A Columbia BD with a mahogany horn realized only $1,100 against an estimate of $2-$3K. Edison Diamond Disc machines in general were soft, with quite a few selling well short of $100 each. But the issues with the need to ship many of these likely played a part. Also a couple of the early Edison Concert / Spring Motor machines (lots 218 and 487) fell well short of estimate, but 218 had been modified with a small mandrel which likely explains the $550 price. 487 which also brought $550 looked OK from the photos, but a real inspection may have revealed why it fell well short of its $2-$3K estimate.


Our thanks and kudos must go to Steve Stanton and his team for putting on this sale in what can only be described as “difficult” circumstances. While in other times, prices may have been a bit stronger, we have to deal with reality as it exists today. Let’s all hope their next sale will be under more normal conditions.

Edited by MikeSherman
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Mike, I have to agree!!!


I was at the Auction, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Steve and his team did an outstanding job. There were very few and short lived instances where the technology allowing online bidding got in the way for those of us present in the audience. Steve and his team resolved them quickly. As well, for those onsite the process was radically different with a large screen TV showing items that are being auctioned rather than those items being brought to the podium.

So much was different for Stanton's team in this auction and they did an amazing job compensating for all of the process changes required to meet safety guidelines as well as produce their first phonograph auction online.

Kuddo's to the Stanton team!!!!

Can't wait for the next one!!!


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  • 2 weeks later...

For health safety reasons, I did not attend the auction but bid on a number of items and Mike Patella brought the 16 lots that I won to Florida for me.  They arrived last week and I have been busy evaluating each item, and must say that overall they were exactly as described.  It would have been better to have seen them in person, or for me to have read the descriptions more thoroughly, but out of the 16 lots there were no disappointments.  When Operas are selling in the low-$2,000's, one cannot expect a pristine example.  But the Rosenfield and Hexaphone 103 were better than I expected, as were most of the other, lesser pieces. 


I also learned a little about absentee bidding.  I had put in about 60 bids in advance, and about five closed exactly at my top bid, yet I did not win the auction.  That is because when I was ahead at the next lower increment, a floor bidder who raises it to the next level actually beats my absentee bid because he was in first.  The solution is to authorize a "plus 1", which means the auctioneer can increase the absentee bid one more increment.  Then the floor bidder would have to leapfrog that.  So, for example, if my top bid on an item is $1,000, and I am ahead at $900, then a floor bidder bids $1,000, the auctioneer increases my top bid to $1,100, thus requiring the floor bidder to go to $1,200 if he wants to stay in.  Steve Stanton also told me that, due to the on-line platform, the bid increments cannot be split, so an $1150 bid would not be accepted, only $1,200.


Stanton deserves a ton of credit for always conducting a fair and well-run auction.  He was very patient explaining the above to me, a relative novice at absentee bidding.





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