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A Lucky Local Find: An H&S Cylinder Cabinet


phonogfp
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Yesterday, my wife and I stopped at a somewhat local (50 minutes from us) antique mall.  I used to stop at this antique mall on a regular basis on my way to and from meetings for work.  However, since retiring 12 years ago, I probably haven't been there more than 6 - 8 times.  I sometimes wonder what I've missed over the years...

 

Well, as we wandered the 30,000 square feet, I rounded a corner and spotted a Hawthorne & Sheble "Unique No.2" cylinder cabinet.  Experienced collectors will know that these are scarce and desirable.  I excitedly approached it - noticing that there was a file card taped to the top.  Uh oh...  Instead of a price, there was writing...  Oh no!  "SOLD.  5-drawer oak stand.  Layaway.  PU: 9/19/21."  Oh, say it ain't so!  It had been refinished, but it was a pretty good job.  The original drawer pulls had been replaced, too.  Naturally, the wooden pegs were missing, but the tell-tale holes were present beneath the floral shelf paper placed in each drawer.  None of this made me feel any better about having missed out on this cabinet.  Why oh why hadn't we visited here in August?  There are few disappointments in collecting greater than seeing what you missed, but might easily have had.

 

My loving wife of 45 years - sensitive to my breaking heart - suggested that perhaps the cabinet had sold for more than I would have been willing to pay.  I gently scoffed, and told her what I considered to be a retail value for the cabinet.  There was nothing priced like that in the two booths holding the seller's goods.  I muttered despairingly, "I'll bet they didn't pay more than $250 for it."  Oh, the humanity...!

 

As we wandered further, something occurred to me.  The file card said "PU: 9/19/21."  That surely meant that the buyer was to have picked up the cabinet by September 19.  Today was October 11...  Hmmm...  I stopped at the front desk and talked to one of the staff, explaining what I had seen, and suggested that if for any reason the transaction had not, or could not be completed, I would be interested in the cabinet.  I was told to stop back at the desk before I left.  Barbie and I wandered a while longer, and I did my best to suppress any hope that I might wind up with the cabinet.

 

I stopped back at the desk, and this time a manager spoke with me.  He was indignant that the pickup date was almost a month past - - which gave me a little hope.  I tamped it back down.  Another staff person said she would contact the seller and find out what was going on.  I thanked both of these people for their kindness, and we drove home.

 

About 90 minutes after arriving back, I received a call from the young lady who was investigating the situation.  She had contacted the seller, who in turn gave the contact information for the buyer.  The accommodating staff person at the antique mall had then contacted the buyer, who seemed to be expressing buyer's remorse, saying that I could have the cabinet for about 25% of the retail figure I had quoted Barbie.  (I was right that the buyer hadn't paid more than $250 - - they offered it to me for less than that!)  I couldn't believe my ears.  Once I recovered, I effusively thanked the young lady; promising to be back at the antique mall the following day.

 

While driving back to the antique mall this morning, I tried to keep a lid on my hopes.  I've had deals go sour in the past when all seemed settled, and today might be no different.  But wonder of wonders...  The cabinet was in the back of the Subaru and we were headed home!  What were the chances???

 

Have you ever encountered such helpful staff at an antique mall?  It's a first for me!  😀

 

George P.

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Congratulations George! That's a really great find. Now you just have to but the perfect machine to put on top of it!

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Tinfoilphono

Wow! What a score........ 

 

I poke around antique shops and never find anything worthwhile. Except once, several years ago, when I came across a Mills coin-op stereoview arcade machine, floor-standing, in good operating condition. It was priced cheap (which was surprising -- most things there were very overpriced). Before I could even think about negotiating it down further the store owner came by, commented on my good taste, and said that he could give me a much better deal if I was seriously interested. He lowered the price so much that I thought it would be churlish of me to dicker any further. I just handed over the money and got out of there as fast as I could.

 

But I'd rather have found your cabinet...

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1 hour ago, Tinfoilphono said:

He lowered the price so much that I thought it would be churlish of me to dicker any further. I just handed over the money and got out of there as fast as I could.

 

Yes, there are times when dickering would be simply parsimonious.  When the price is a bargain, why go any further?  On a couple of occasions I have even given more than the asking price (when the seller was a private individual rather than a dealer).  The older I get, the more I believe in karma.

 

I don't know, Rene - - would you REALLY rather have a Unique No. 2 than a working floor-standing Mills coin-op stereoview arcade machine?  I'm not so sure...!

 

George P.

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George, great cabinet and great story.  We have one like yours and it is one of the very few phonograph items allowed upstairs in our living space.  My wife has a connection to it and and a love for its character.

A few years ago on a road trip through Pennsylvania we took in country auction which had a few phonographs and cabinets.  I was balking at the bidding price for the H&S cabinet when my wife tugged on my sleeve and stated she would kick in half the price.  So now we would not give it up for three times that price.

 

Bruce

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Bruce, don't you love it when your wife gives "permission" for a seemingly unnecessary purchase?  Our significant others often put up with a lot, and I try not to abuse Barbie's good nature.  And on a few occasions when I was "being good," she has given me a push.  This past July I was staring at an expensive item that I really wanted, but I was trying to "be good."  After a few minutes Barbie asked, "What's holding you back?"  I could have kissed her - - oh wait - I did!

 

Congratulations on getting that cabinet that you both enjoy!

 

George P.

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