At first look it looks like a piece of luxury furniture, an elaborate cabinet from the last century. But it is a rare orchestrion that would be put up for auction on October 7 at Bonhams New York. Chances are you wouldn’t even know what an occhestrion is. It is a machine that plays music and is designed to sound like an orchestra or band. Orchestrions reached the height of their popularity in the early1920s sowhat ever pieces are available have a historical value as well.
This orchestrion is from the Mark Yaffe Collection, a total of $4 million of property being sold at the auction. This particular one is from 1925 and is a Hupfeld Helios III/39. It has a total of 296 pipes to mimic a variety of instruments including cellos, trombones, drums and mandolin. The stained glass in front has a six roll changer behind that changes with light effects and has scenes with trains, windmills, hot air balloons and Zeppelins.
In its time it must have been a gadget with cutting edge technology and provided entertainment to many visiting the bars and restaurants. This incredible piece is estimated to sell for $800,000 to $1.2 million. There are other orchestrion lined up for the auction in a lower price range.