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Phonographs

A phonograph is a device that plays back sound using a stylus to trace grooves cut on a cylinder. Introduced in 1877 by Thomas Edison, phonographs are favorites of collectors due to the wide variety in appearance and style. Early phonographs have wooden cases and large horns that amplified the sound produced. Some phonographs were designed to look like pieces of furniture, allowing them to fit in with existing home décor.

The phonographs most prized by collectors are those produced by Edison and sold by the National Phonograph company in the late 1890s. The Edison Home Phonograph was one of the first products offered by the company. It used wax cylinders that played about two minutes of music each. The Edison Gem Phonograph was introduced in 1899 and was very small with a horn that was larger than the machine.

Another early phonograph company was the Columbia Phonograph Company, which used the graphophone technology invented by Chichester Bell, cousin of Alexander Graham Bell. The Columbia Eagle and the Graphophone Grand were models offered by this company. Cylinders used with early phonographs are also highly collectible. These cylinders were made of wax with grooves cut on the surface that held the recorded music. Besides Edison, other manufacturers of wax cylinders included Vitaphone, Euphonic, Ecophone, and Bettini.


Quick Facts

  • Phonographs that used cylinders became obsolete around 1910, abandoned by consumers in favor of gramophone technology that used flat disks to record sound
  • An Edison Amberola cabinet phonograph from around 1913 used an amplifier inside the cabinet rather than a large horn. This phonograph is valued at around $700
  • A Bettini #4 phonograph was sold at auction in 2012 for $11,500

Recommended Items at Auction

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(80+) Vinyl Records & Phonograph Records w/ Case
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
(80+) Vinyl Records & Phonograph Records w/ Case
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$202 Bids
Columbia Grafonola Type E-2
Oct 28, 7:00 PM EDT
Columbia Grafonola Type E-2
by Lettieri Auction & Appraisal
Est: $80- $150
$401 Bid
Antique Columbia Grafonola Disk Record Phonograph
Oct 29, 5:00 PM EDT
Antique Columbia Grafonola Disk Record Phonograph
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $10- $10,000
$51 Bid
European "Puck" Type Cylinder Phonograph
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
European "Puck" Type Cylinder Phonograph
by Donley Auction Services
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
"The Yankee Prince" Disc Horn Phonograph
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
"The Yankee Prince" Disc Horn Phonograph
by Donley Auction Services
Est: $300- $400
$1501 Bid
Leonhard Müller Toy Phonograph
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
Leonhard Müller Toy Phonograph
by Donley Auction Services
Est: $200- $500
$1001 Bid
Phonograph Cylinders, c. 1900
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Phonograph Cylinders, c. 1900
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €200- €400
€800 Bids
Two Phonographs
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Two Phonographs
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €600- €800
€3500 Bids
Four Phonographs, c. 1900
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Four Phonographs, c. 1900
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €700- €1,000
€3500 Bids
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Edison-Phonograph „Triumph“
Oct 30, 1:00 PM CEST
Edison-Phonograph „Triumph“
by Galerie + Auktionshaus Peter Klöter
Est: €0- €0
€7500 Bids
An early Edison phonograph, model E
Nov 01, 2:00 PM PDT
An early Edison phonograph, model E
by International Auction Gallery
Est: $150- $350
$500 Bids
Antique ediphone
Nov 01, 2:00 PM PDT
Antique ediphone
by International Auction Gallery
Est: $30- $90
$100 Bids
100 Brillantone superior steel phonograph needles
Oct 29, 11:30 PM EDT
100 Brillantone superior steel phonograph needles
by Baker's Antiques and Auctions
Est: $25- $30
$150 Bids
Antique solid oak RCA windup phonograph
Oct 27, 11:30 PM EDT
Antique solid oak RCA windup phonograph
by Baker's Antiques and Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1500 Bids
Antique Victor Victrola Phonograph Horn Circa 1910
Nov 06, 12:00 PM EDT
Antique Victor Victrola Phonograph Horn Circa 1910
by Winfield Auction Gallery
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
Columbia Type B Eagle Cylinder Phonograph
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
Columbia Type B Eagle Cylinder Phonograph
by Donley Auction Services
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
Edison Gem Model A Cylinder Phonograph
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
Edison Gem Model A Cylinder Phonograph
by Donley Auction Services
Est: $150- $200
$700 Bids
Edison Gem Model A Cylinder Phonograph
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
Edison Gem Model A Cylinder Phonograph
by Donley Auction Services
Est: $250- $350
$1500 Bids
Edison Gem Model B Cylinder Phonograph
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
Edison Gem Model B Cylinder Phonograph
by Donley Auction Services
Est: $150- $200
$700 Bids
Busy Bee Open Works Q Style Cylinder Phonograph
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
Busy Bee Open Works Q Style Cylinder Phonograph
by Donley Auction Services
Est: $200- $250
$1000 Bids
Unusual European Open Works Cylinder Phonograph
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
Unusual European Open Works Cylinder Phonograph
by Donley Auction Services
Est: $400- $500
$2000 Bids
Pathe Modele No. 2 Cylinder Phonograph
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
Pathe Modele No. 2 Cylinder Phonograph
by Donley Auction Services
Est: $600- $700
$3000 Bids
Columbia Type BFT Cylinder Phonograph
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
Columbia Type BFT Cylinder Phonograph
by Donley Auction Services
Est: $600- $800
$3000 Bids
Unusual European Disc Horn Phonograph
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
Unusual European Disc Horn Phonograph
by Donley Auction Services
Est: $400- $500
$2000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Phonographs


Donley Auction Services

Donley Auction Services

Auction Team Breker

Auction Team Breker

International Auction Gallery

International Auction Gallery