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Jukeboxes

In 1889 Louis Glass and William S. Arnold of San Francisco invented a music machine that played songs using a wax cylinder phonograph. The machine would only play if a nickel was put in it, so it was called "The nickel-in-the-slot phonograph." In 1906, the Gabel Automatic Entertainer became the first actual jukebox. It was hand-cranked, amplified so more than one person could listen, and offered customers a selection of 10 songs on discs instead of wax cylinders.

The first electric music machine was produced by the Automatic Music Instrument Company (AMI) in 1927. The machines became especially popular during Prohibition, when speakeasies needed music for their customers but could not afford to hire live bands. Four companies dominated the jukebox industry during the 1930s and 1940s: AMI, Wurlitzer, Seeburg, and Rock-Ola. The Rock-Ola company still manufactures jukeboxes today.

Collectors are attracted to vintage jukeboxes by their colorful style and nostalgic music. Jukeboxes that play more selections are more desirable to collectors, but brand and style are also factors. A used jukebox, of course, must be in working condition to be of any value. Restoration and maintenance of these vintage pieces is essential.

Quick Facts

  • The Wurlitzer model 1015 from 1946 is the most famous jukebox. This piece, with its rounded top and bubble tubes, is often used as the "jukebox" image in advertising and other media. An original Wurlitzer 1015, restored, sells for over $12,000
  • The term "jukebox" wasn't used for these music machines until about 1940. It was derived from the phrase "juke joint," which was a slang term for establishments that served as taverns and dance halls for African Americans in the deep south during the Jim Crow era
  • In 2001, a 1942 Wurlitzer model 1950 sold at auction by Christie's for $22,325, making it one of the most expensive jukeboxes ever sold

Recommended Items at Auction

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WURLITZER 1015 BUBBLER JUKE BOX
Oct 15, 10:00 AM EDT
WURLITZER 1015 BUBBLER JUKE BOX
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $4,000- $6,000
$2,0001 Bid
Rock-Ola Bubbler CD Jukebox in Light Oak
Oct 09, 12:00 PM EDT
Rock-Ola Bubbler CD Jukebox in Light Oak
by Main Auction Galleries
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0001 Bid
Modern Wurlitzer Jukebox, Type MB 20/16
Oct 23, 12:00 PM EDT
Modern Wurlitzer Jukebox, Type MB 20/16
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$1000 Bids
Modern Wurlitzer Jukebox, Type MB 20/16
Oct 23, 12:00 PM EDT
Modern Wurlitzer Jukebox, Type MB 20/16
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$1000 Bids
Rare AMI CD100 Juke Box
Oct 09, 12:00 PM EDT
Rare AMI CD100 Juke Box
by Main Auction Galleries
Est: $400- $700
$2000 Bids
SEEBURG WALL MOUNT JUKE BOX
Nov 11, 9:00 AM CST
SEEBURG WALL MOUNT JUKE BOX
by Millers Auction Co.
Est: $0- $0
$100 Bids
Seeburg Select-O-Matic 100 45 RPM coin-operated juke box
Oct 22, 8:30 AM EDT
Seeburg Select-O-Matic 100 45 RPM coin-operated juke box
by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC
Est: $25- $2,000
$250 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Jukeboxes


Main Auction Galleries

Main Auction Galleries

Auctions at Showplace

Auctions at Showplace

Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC

Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC

Millers Auction Co.

Millers Auction Co.