Polyphon hits all the right notes at Collector’s sale in Reading

9th JUNE 2018

Sale Report – PDF

Reading auctioneers Thimbleby & Shorland held a sale for the Executors of a local Collector on Saturday 9th June at The Reading Auction Centre.  


Just over 600 lots, all from the same house near Maidenhead, included a Victorian Polyphon, the mechanical equivalent of a jukebox.  In spite of a large number of internet buyers from all over the country and abroad, the principal interest was from 2 local people, one on the phone and the other in the room, who took the bidding from £7,000 to £14,500 (plus 12% Buyer’s Premium), a result that rightly drew a round of applause from the packed saleroom.


Buyers from all over the world (including Australia, Switzerland, Germany, China & the USA) were registered to bid on line, the collection being truly extraordinary from the mundane to the highly desirable. 




Other notable prices achieved were: a possibly parian bust of an Elizabethan gentleman £1,240; mahogany Victorian military campaign chests £1,080 to £600; a flintlock blunderbuss pistol £800; a horned table top gramophone by the Gramophone & Typewriter Company £700 was the highest price paid out of a large collection of portable and table-top wind up gramophones; a Bal-Ami Junior jukebox £480;  


a Leicestershire Regiment Hindustan helmet, WWI forage cap and military bugle £420; a National cash register £300; a hand-coloured copy of a 1350 map of Berkshire £200; 6 volumes of Hanmer’s Shakespeare dated 1745 £150; of a collection of vintage portable typewriters the highest price was £110 for an Underwood; and of the collection of magic lanterns in various conditions the top price was £90.   


Auctioneer and Thimbleby & Shorland director Chris Boreham commented after the sale: “I could not be more delighted for the family.  It was a terrific sale with huge interest from so many places, much of which I am pleased to say was local.  The fact that it was a local collection captured the imagination I think, and I am delighted that the Polyphon is not going far.  It was an interesting proposition from the outset, the house being literally full to the gunwales.  People could not believe that it had all come from a modest chalet-bungalow!”