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Famed Mechanical Musical Instrument Collection to Be Auctioned at Bonhams
A very fine and unique Hupfeld Helios Model III/39 Orchestrion, Early 1910s, The Classical Case model, with illuminated automaton scene, Est. $800,000 - 1,200,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.
NEW YORK, NY.- On October 7th, Bonhams New York will present a special auction devoted to Vintage mechanical musical instruments and automata. Featuring a number of rare turn-of-the-century orchestrions, including $4 million of property from the famed Mark Yaffe Collection, this sale is cause for huge excitement in collecting circles.

An orchestrion is a generic name for a machine that plays music and is designed to sound like an orchestra or band. For inside the magnificent cases, real working musical instruments are played entirely by machine. Orchestrions are most often operated by means of perforated paper rolls. In some cases these mechanical musical machines can also be operated by book music made from thick panels of cardboard held together with canvas.

Orchestrions reached the height of their popularity in the early1920's during the advent of the Jazz Age, with popular German and other European makers such as Hupfeld, Weber, Philipps, and Popper modernizing their works to reflect the popular Bauhaus designs.

The Mark Yaffe pieces are sure to be amongst the most highly sought after lots in the sale, which is set to be the best held in New York since 1950.

Highlighting the Yaffe collection is a circa 1925 Hupfeld Helios III/39 Orchestrion (est. $800,000-1,200,000); a circa 1926 Weber Maestro Orchestrion (est. $500,000-750,000); a circa 1915 Philipps Paganini Style 3 Orchestrion offered with 300 re-cut rolls (est. $400,000-600,000); a circa 1912 Popper Iduna Orchestrion (est. $200,000-300,000); and a circa 1894 Mermod Freres Plerodieniqué Interchangeable cylinder musical box offered with 20 cylinders (est. $60,000-90,000).

Bonhams | Mark Yaffe Collection | Orchestrions |


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