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I have an antique cylinder music box that I need to appraise…

I have an antique...

I have an antique cylinder music box that I need to appraise for an estate. It is a bequest and will not be sold. The dimensions are 29 x 12 x 8. It plays 12 songs. It is a wood box with an inlaid figure of flowers and leaves on the top and an inlaid figure of a horn, orchestral bells and leaves on the front. I believe it was originally from Ohio and was brought to Nebraska by family around 1900. I am guessing that it is at least 120 years old. I have found no brand or serial number or other identifying symbol. as I said I need to come up with a reasonable appraisal for purposes of valuing a bequest. Not sure what to do. Thank you

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Answered in 6 minutes by:
12/7/2017
Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 6,318
Experience: Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
Verified

Hi! My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to give you an appraisal and probate/estate valuation for your music box.

Could you very kindly attach a photo or two as the condition of the exterior of the case, and the artistic merit of the inlay, as well as other visual features are an important part of the value.

Does it have its original playlist pasted to the inside of the lid? If so, a photo of that would be very helpful. It's a useful confirmation of the date as the playlist almost always included the 'hit single' of the day.

Many thanks,

Robert.

To attach photos:

(a) Just click on the "Add Files" tab and it will bring up the photos in your computer for you to select and attach here where you are typing to me.

(b) If you don't have an image in your computer, email yourself one from a smart phone, save it in you computer and proceed with (a).

Here's a link to picture attaching help if you need it.

http://ww2.justanswer.com/help/how-do-i-send-photo-or-file-expert-hl

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I will take some photos and send to you this weekend. In the meantime to answer your questions, there is no playlist. I recognize the following songs: The Wedding Song, Brahm's Lulliby, what I would call the circus song, and the Star Spangled Banner. I do not recognize the other songs, but they sound like waltzes. As for the artistic merit of the inlay, on closer look, the images appear to be stained or painted on to the surface rather than what I think of as inlay. Finally, there is an inner glass lid that closes so you can still see the cylinder. The outer lid, which has the image, has a split in the wood that runs through about half of the lid. Inside, there is a crank on the left side and there are 2 botton-lever like controls on the right side: change and repeat; and stop and play. As I said, I will send you 2 or 3 pictures within the next 3 days.

Many thanks for all those extra details, that helps greatly. Not to worry about the absent playlist, I'll be able to date it from photos to the nearest decade, which is all that's necessary.

No rush on the photos, I'll be here whenever you're ready. Your question will remain open for as long as you wish.

Look forward to hearing from you in due course,

Robert.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
The add files button is not working for macs!

Hmm, not sure why that is, but here's another way of attaching the photos:

Simply upload them to a free public picture hosting site and give me the link to them. The one I prefer is www.imgur.com

Just two clicks and a copy and paste and you are done

Go to http://www.imgur.com/
(no need to 'sign in' or 'sign up' it makes it too complicated)
Click on "New Post"
Click on "Browse"
Select the pictures you want to send me from the box that pops up.
Hit "open".
Click on "Copy"
and paste it here where you are typing to me.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
https://imgur.com/1khLFl9
https://imgur.com/0QY3Z5N
https://imgur.com/0hC3sw8

Many thanks for the photos (I received links to three images). What a pretty music box!

Could you very kindly add one more so I can see the decoration on the cover.

Also, can you measure the length of the cylinder.

Robert.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Robert, the cylinder is 16 and 1/2 inches long. It is difficult for me to provide you with another picture at this time as I have relied upon my son to help in sending you the pictures and he is only available on the weekends. The decoration on the cover consists of some flower and foliage that appears to be painted on and there is a similar decoration on the front panel that consists of some foliage and a pipes, a horn and a hat. Again, these appear to be painted on as the front panel is showing some wear. I would like to complete the appraisal. My understanding is that the charge will be $34, for which I will get a written appraisal with your signature and qualifications. Is that accurate? Thank you. Bob

Hi Bob,

I understand, I can maybe work with the pictures you sent, though the cosmetic condition of the case is a large part of value, as well as the decorative detail of the floral or other pattern.

You say this appears to be painted, which is not typical for these, they are usually inlaid with colored woods. Can you feel an indentation where the decoration is missing or is it all smooth like worn paint?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Robert, the surface of both of the floral patterns feels smooth. There does not seem to be any difference or edge where the moral pattern meets the rest of the wood panel. The two floral patterns appear to have a fine black outline/border that traces around the edges of the floral pattern. On the front panel floral pattern there are very small areas where the floral pattern appears to be worn off revealing the varnished wood surface underneath. On the top panel (the lid) in an area away from the formal pattern there is a slight scar about 2 and 1/2 inches in length and maybe 1/16th in width. The outside molding around the bottom front and 2 sides is a bit nicked up in a few places. As I mentioned earlier there is a clean split that runs through about half of the lid, not affecting the floral pattern. This split is actually hard to see and could probably be repaired fairly easily. It may have happened as a result of the wood drying out. I don't know what else I can tell you about it. I am looking to assign a fair value range for it, not to sell it, but to put a value on it for purposes of shares of my Mother's estate. Thank you. Bob

Hi Bob,

Thanks for all that information, that helps a great deal. It does sound like the decoration on the cover is not inlaid wood and, instead, decorated with a color printed transfer and this actually helps to confirm the identity of the maker. Your box was almost certainly made by Paillard, one of the more prominent makers of music boxes during the 19th century and located in Sainte-Croix, Switzwerland. Looking at the style, it dates to the last quarter of the 1800s.

Although they were by no means cheap, Paillard boxes were aimed at the middle class market. Therefore the cases had less elaborate veneer embellishments and a painted or printed decal finish like this, rather than the traditional Black Forest marquetry work of the top makers such as Reuge and others.

Having said that, the movement inside is a very sophisticated example of a Paillard.

At 17 3/8 inches this is one of the longest cylinders made for a music box and its 12 tune repertoire about the upper end of what is technically possibly to create in pins on a single cylinder.

It also has another feature you don't often see and that's the bar that runs along the top of the comb which Paillard called their "Tremolo Zither" that added a vibrato effect.

As for value, it sounds like the exterior cosmetic condition is typical or slightly better than would be expected for its age, and taking into account the shrinkage crack which will detract slightly, your music box would sell at a good antique auction house in the range of $1200 - $1750.

It would therefore have a full retail value (if you saw it for sale in an antique store say) of $3,500 which is also the replacement value for insurance purposes.

I do hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Robert.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you Robert. Your appraisal and explanation is what I needed. Bob

You're very welcome, glad to have helped!

Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 6,318
Experience: Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
Verified
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Satisfied Customers: 6,318
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