is of course a useful source for old records, even if far too many sellers simply relist their overpriced rubbish, making it hard to sift out the few gems on offer!
You can get a good laugh from seeing some of the 'silly' prices asked, here are a few choice examples I spotted in 2021.
ROTATRUA MAORI CHOIR 10" 78 RPM RECORD "PO ATATRAU/HE MOKE MOKE". (Columbia) £75
John Macormack (sic) Hymn to Christ the King 78rpm £999
Rare BBC Radiophonic Workshop 1959 Vinyl 78rpm LP UK Original Electronic £120
Humphrey Lyttelton "Forgotten Woman's Blues/Chicago" PARLOPHONE R.3513 £99
Freddy Randall and his Band "Wolverine Blues" / "Viper Mad"
CLEVELAND JAZZ CLUB FR2 £1,200
Sid Phillips' Quintet "Yankee Doodle Blues" / "Runnin' Wild"
DECCA F8147 £450
THE ELLIOTTS - KENTICKY DAYS / YOU'VE GOT YOUR MOTHER'S BIG BLUE EYES CIRCA 1940s THE WINNER 1178, (incorrect: actually 2608) £40
??VERY RARE HMV The Lost Chord (SULLIVAN). Actually HMV C2843 Alleged condition 'Brand new.' £142
VERY RARE VERY OLD The Savoy Orpheans At The Savoy Hotel Another rare record possibly another hidden gem, (or, maybe not) Columbia 969. £269
EXTREMELY RARE 78rpm BEN TILLETT Message from the Trenches WW1 1917 Regal G7105 £649
Probably, if you want any of the above, they may still be available...
Sixty Years in Record Collecting
(And it don't seem a Day Too Much)
An account of My First Day as a Record Collector, by David Moore
It was a Saturday some time during the summer of 1961, exact date lost in the mists of time. In those distant days, you would hardly credit it, we had to work pretty hard, and for me that meant going to school on Saturday. No-one would be at home if I returned from school, as the family were helping at a fair at my sisters' school. So I walked the usual mile from the station to Seaton House School, which I'm pleased to see is still flourishing today. I was an old pupil, though boys had to leave at age only seven (couldn't have them mixing with the girls after that?), and I remember that the headmistress had been there since time immemorial, a Miss Henry, tall, thin and exceptionally ancient.
Down the main school entrance, past the immaculate bowls green on which no pupil was permitted to breathe, and on to the school playing field where this fair was being held. I recall the air raid shelters were still in situ, boarded up of course, lest any thoughtless pupil might want to explore his or her heritage, but most of the remainder of the field was filled with stalls selling anything and everything. I was particularly interested in case I could add to my Hornby O gauge train collection, and I was pleased my mother had already bagged three tank engines for me, plus a set of British Railways carriages. Things were winding down by the time I arrived, and there wasn't much left to do except help tidy away.
A Mr Austen from round the corner in Southway was clearing his junk. He spotted a likely sap in me and called me over. I knew his son Anthony a bit, and he convinced me that I'd like these two gramophones and pile of old records. I'd no idea what they were as my mother and father didn't seem to approve of having records in our home, but as I had sixpence (that's about 2 new pence) in my pocket, I helped Mr Austen out. I don't imagine for one minute he realised what he had started, nor indeed had I, but I gathered up my trophies, and put them down again. Generously, I gave away one rexine portable, so that I could carry the other, a wooden HMV table top model, plus about forty discs round to my house. It was a good five minutes walk usually, even cutting through the pathway into Southway, but today it took more like fifteen, until at last I gathered my treasures into the lounge.
My mother looked doubtful, but she did like classical music, so just as well as my first offering was Liebestraume on a 12 inch HMV plum label. No great treasure, but it was pleasing enough music. We also went to church, so my second record, Christopher Robin Is Saying His Prayers, by Ann Stephens, also helped break the ice. From then on, records became part of our household, I was allowed to scour the jumble sales and pile up stacks of 78s in my bedroom. In the end, both my parents were helping build up the collection also
A battered old Reliant three wheeler, with two border collies somehow squashed in the rear, sitting astride some rare phonograph spare part, probably with a pre 1914 record on some obscure label, no doubt cracked thanks to the dogs, that's how I will remember Roger.
He appeared to me like the slightly gone to seed type of gent, always pleasant, indeed earnest about our hobby, but what he didn't know about 78rpm records and gramophones would not have filled a book. Very sadly though his head was crammed with details of every recording artiste from the acoustic era, he rarely found time to share his knowledge except face to face. What a pity! One of his rare excursions into a major opus was for the typically obscure Jumbo record label in 1998. Though it was the work of top expert Frank Andrews, it was really Roger who was responsible for the printing of this discography. The introduction stated, "Roger Thorne... convinced us that it was useless to delay publication any longer so we agreed that he could publish the list himself." This statement rather hid the fact that Roger spent days examining record collections to add to the data Frank had amassed over the years through journals like Talking Machine News. Indeed Roger spent a happy day with myself, poring over every Jumbo to inspect its matrix and any other foible he could conjure up.
I first met Roger in his shop alongside the busy A23 south of Coulsdon in the early 1970s. Typically he wasn't there when I first called. Later his shop moved a few miles to Whyteleafe, never too far from his home in Caterham. Here his vast collection of machines and records were dotted everywhere. The bulk of this was sold publicly in July 2011. It proved to be possibly the last big gathering of collectors of his own generation, with a hugely impressive roomful of his battered gramophones and phonographs. About half his 78s were up for auction and inevitably the prices achieved were high, especially in relation to the auctioneer's ultra conservative estimates, for example a small bundle of Gramophone and Typewriter music hall discs including Marie Lloyd would have been a snip at the estimate of £40 to £60 (!) Though the phonographs and other ephemera were well displayed, the records were treated as the poor relations and were displayed in a haphazard fashion that surely Roger himself would have approved of. To give you an idea, twice the auctioneer had to ask the bidders, has anyone actually found this lot? Answer- no! But maybe the excuse could have been the way Roger stored his discs, which at least raised a tremendous sum which went to the charity with which Roger had long been actively involved, an animal sanctuary
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