Featured Help identifying antique ivory (?) automata music box

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by Featherlightly, May 13, 2018.

  1. I’m trying to find more information about what seems to be a music box (I haven’t been able to get it to play yet). Possibly French. The bird in the middle rotates. Does this look like ivory or celluloid? Any idea of where this might have originated from or what the value would be if it were to be sold? Thank you for any help!

    Attached Files:

  2. The last picture is the full view — I messed up the uploads!
  3. buyingtime777

    buyingtime777 Well-Known Member

    That is lovely! I can not help with a value but I think it would do quite well. My gut feeling is French but that is just a guess. @afantiques might have some insight perhaps....
    judy likes this.
  4. buyingtime777

    buyingtime777 Well-Known Member

    Looks like ivory to me. Can we see a picture of the bottom?
  5. Thank you both of you! Here is a picture of the bottom.

    Attached Files:

  6. moreotherstuff

    moreotherstuff Izorizent

    I hope it's the real deal. It's very fancy.

    Have you fiddled with the photos? It's almost like looking at the details through pebbled glass.
    kyratango and judy like this.
  7. Thank you! The photos are unfortunately taken with my phone, which doesn’t do closeups very well!
    judy likes this.
  8. johnnycb09

    johnnycb09 Well-Known Member

    That looks like a very good piece. I wonder if its from Vienna? Theres got to be markings on it somewhere! A VERY good piece.Be careful tinkering with it,you dont want to damage it.
    kyratango and judy like this.
  9. buyingtime777

    buyingtime777 Well-Known Member

    Yes, as Johnny said, a very good piece. The inner workings will be like an old clock and a very qualified watchmaker is where I would take it for a tune up and repair. Make sure the person has schooling and a degree. Don't take this to some hack that has just watched a video on clock repair. I believe although it is simple it is considered an "automaton".
    kyratango, clutteredcloset49 and judy like this.
  10. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    looks like ivory from here....
    kyratango, judy and Any Jewelry like this.
  11. afantiques

    afantiques Well-Known Member

    It would be worth sorting out a proper camera. Or digging into the settings for your phone camera, I was surprised how sophisticated the camera on my partner's could be if you actually read the instructions.

    This appears to be second half of the 19th C and indeed, probably French. When working the bird will whistle and twitter quite realistically using bellows and pipes operated by a small clockwork motor. Access to this is via the baseplate. Removing the baseplate and taking a look is not going to ruin it. Poking about inside is not advised.
    Have you wound it up, is it already wound up?
    It is just possible that it is a product of the 1970s. At that time some very good reproductions of singing birds in a cage automata were produced and are still around, although I have not seen a version like that and do not really expect it to be modern. A look at the movement would tell all.

    Make sure the person has schooling and a degree

    Not practical, watch repair tends to be learned by apprenticeship, not academia. In any case, if you are going to sell it, anyone likely to buy it will almost certainly be able to fix it themselves or have a competent craftsman on tap. Unguided you could pay more than it is worth just to get it working.

    If you post more and better pictures, resize them to about 500KB or less and select full image when posting. It is a PITA clicking from thumbnail to thumbnail. Take the pictures in good light for better depth of focus.
  12. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum, Featherlightly.
    A wonderful piece, and I agree, ivory. I can see the slight striations natural to elephant ivory.
    kyratango, judy and komokwa like this.
  13. Wow, thank you for all of the detailed help! It does appear to be ivory after examining it with a magnifying glass. I’ll see if I can non-invasively remove the baseplate today (thank you, @afantiques !).

    Any idea on how I would go about pricing such an item? I’m having trouble finding anything comparable online to use for an estimate. This item was part of an inheritance that will need to be sold.

    Thanks again, what a helpful forum this is!
  14. I’ll try to figure out my camera phone as well and take some better pics. :)
    judy likes this.
  15. DeAnne

    DeAnne Well-Known Member

    That is gorgeous
    kyratango likes this.
  16. moreotherstuff

    moreotherstuff Izorizent

    I'd suggest that a good auction house is the way to go with an item like this. Don't know what effect the ivory will have on a sale.
    kyratango and Any Jewelry like this.
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