As part of the Scientific and Musical Instruments, Cameras and Tools Sale on 22nd January, the Mechanical Music section will include a cross-section of different formats spanning the history of musical boxes, with some fine and rare examples from private collections. Mechanical Music encompasses not only musical boxes but phonographs, gramophones, early wirelesses and televisions and automata. Music boxes, however, tend to be the stars of the show; these amazing feats of Swiss technical engineering still stagger enthusiasts the world over. With examples from the small novice tabatiére type, to the superb bells, drum and organ accompaniment orchestral, all the way to the extremely rare and superbly notated overture format, collectors and visitors to the sale will have the opportunity to listen to and appreciate these rare objects.
The highlight of the sale is an extremely fine and rare Piano-Forte Overture Box by Nicole Frères, the Swiss makers who produced the most revered musical boxes. With nearly 240 teeth on the comb, the pre-Grand Format dimension cylinder provides an exceptional quality of sound; in the world of analogue pre-recording sound, this box provides the closest comparison to live music it was possible to produce. One of the finest examples of this super rare format to appear on the international market for some time, it is being offered with an estimate of £10,000-15,000 (plus buyer’s premium).