This amazing collection – the lifetime vision of a single collector – comprises all manner of mechanical and musical devices, games and associated ephemera one could ever hope to find.
BLOOMFIELD, N.J. – Nye & Company’s upcoming online auction, titled “Property from a Private Collection: A 20th Century Machinal Delight”, is slated for Wednesday, November 16th, starting promptly at 10 am. This amazing collection – all of it the lifetime vision of a single collector – is comprised of all manner of mechanical and musical devices, games and all the associated ephemera one could ever hope to find to accompany them.
There is a superb collection of mechanical and still cast-iron banks, tin toys and books with a Black Americana theme, and a fine collection of early Berliner, Victor and Edison cylinder and disc players and accessories. All of them – many of them rare or unusual examples – are in operating condition and include the original paperwork.
One such example is an early Berliner trademark model Gramophone, circa 1888, made in the United States, with rare original horn and parts. This is the gramophone model featured in the iconic “His Master’s Voice” image, though the one offered for sale here has an earlier painted horn. There are also many 7inch Berliner and Zon-O-Phone recordings, some very rare.
There is a separate category dedicated to medical quackery, with dozens of early machines, early books and devices, with their original 19th century packaging. For collectors of these types of objects, a treasure trove of devices and related ephemera awaits.
Among the highlights of the mechanical banks – many in excellent original condition – is a J & E Stevens “Always Did ‘Spise A Mule” bank with its original wooden box and original paperwork. There is also an excellent original “Darktown Battery” mechanical bank, also in original paint.
The collection also includes an important library of books related to conventional and homeopathic medicine, with volumes spanning four centuries. There are historically important books and documents concerning slavery and early technology, and many volumes about New York City, New York State, Westchester County and more.
One of the highlights of the book collection is the 1788 1st edition of An Account of The Slave Trade by Alexander Falconbridge. Falconbridge was a surgeon aboard a slave ship during the second half of the 1700s and was responsible for health and well-being of the slavers’ “cargo”.
He was so moved by his experiences that eventually became an early active member of the abolitionist community. Another one of the extraordinary volumes is The Breviarie of Health, published in 1575 for Andrew Boorde, the very first medical book published in English (ex-Yale Medical Library).
The collection of late 19th and early 20th century objects features coin-operated mechanical devices, including over 30 early slot machines and early trade stimulators, all in working condition, all with their keys, many with original paper and advertising, and all in either original condition or lightly restored.
There are several free-reed mechanical crank organs, and even a Regina Hexaphone (a forerunner of the earliest jukeboxes, played using Edison cylinders).
Some of the more interesting lots in this group include a rare “Sanitary Chewing Gum Machine” by Manikin Vendor Company, in very good condition. There is also a “Multi Bell Slot Machine” (1936) by Caille A. C. Novelty Co., in extraordinary original condition and in complete working order (keys included).
Bidders can participate in the live auction by either arranging for phone bids by calling (973) 984-6900, or by bidding online through one of four online auction platforms: www.nyeandcompany.com , www.liveauctioneers.com , www.bidsquare.com and www.invaluable.com . Each one of these is already hosting the online full color catalogue, and each lot is profusely illustrated with photos. Anyone looking for additional images, condition reports or info about an object is invited to visit the Nye & Company website or send an email to [email protected] .
John Nye had a long and fruitful career at Sotheby’s before he and his wife, Kathleen, acquired Dawson’s in 2003 and started Dawson & Nye. With the move to Bloomfield seven years later, they renamed the business to Nye & Company (Auctioneers, Appraisers, Antiques). The firm is nationwide, but the majority of their consignments come from Estates and Trusts in the New York-Metropolitan area.
For more information about Nye & Company Auctioneers and their upcoming Auction of Machinal Delights Auction on Wednesday, November 16th, please call (973)984-6900 or visit www.nyeandcompany.com. Better still, come attend the live preview which has already begun in the gallery, located at 20 Beach Street, Bloomfield. NJ (30 seconds off of the Garden State Parkway). The preview runs from November 2nd thru November 16th.