- Vintage Appliances Now Selling for Thousands of Pounds
- In particular, many people are buying vinyl records and turntables.
- Jukeboxes from the 1940s and 1950s Are Getting More Popular
Old hi-fi equipment, once thrown away as junk, thanks to a vinyl revival — and even the return of cassettes — is regularly selling for thousands of pounds.
A significant part of the appeal is that even older equipment – turntables, amplifiers and speakers – can be plugged into modern music systems for enjoyment.
And rather than decorated with black plastic or flimsy metal, earlier instruments are often more attractive and are housed in wood.
This is because in past eras hi-fi was often designed to fit in with home furniture rather than showing up as a modern accessory.
Music to the ears: A significant part of the appeal is that even older equipment – turntables, amplifiers and speakers – can be plugged into modern music systems to be enjoyed
Robin Brunson, of vintage hi-fi dealer Audio Gold in Muswell Hill, north London, says: ‘A growing number of enthusiasts are eager to enjoy music on an instrument that was originally designed to be played – and so Nothing is more like an old record spinning on an original player of the era than to be streamed or listened to on a CD.’
He adds: ‘It’s also important to know that just because something is vintage, doesn’t mean you’re using instruments that are inferior to modern music systems.
‘In many cases, not only is the build quality better but the music produced sounds better than the new gadget.’
The revival in vinyl has seen record sales grow 50 percent year over year, outpacing CD sales. This has helped increase the value of older turntables.
Nick Beasley, owner of Emporium HiFi near Bungee in Suffolk, says: ‘Undoubtedly, the renewed interest in vinyl has led to an increase in demand for turntable decks. Classic players that were selling for around £200 in the late 1980s are now selling for £2,000 or more.’
The Garrard 301 released for sale in 1954 is one of the most iconic turntables. It was originally sold as a separate deck, with the owner building his own plinth cabinet for it.
Details on how to cut the plinth to fit the turntable were included in the purchase instructions.
You can now pay £2,000 or more for the rare gray model, while the later 401 version, released in 1965, changes hands for £1,000.
Lynn has been making traditional record players since 1973 and interest in the Glasgow-based company’s products continues to grow.
Cassette players are also back in demand
Although cassettes were not favored in the 1990s, music fans still have many dust collecting, while bands still occasionally release music on cassettes as limited editions. A classic cassette deck is a 1982 Nakamichi Dragon, the best example of which is selling for as little as £2,000.
You can spend £1,500 on a starting LP12 deck, but if it’s fitted with a stylus, with a high-quality cartridge, a great tonearm and a beautiful wooden cabinet, it can go for £4,000 or more. can sell.
Those looking for a futuristic look from the past might also consider the 1964 Transcriptors hydraulic reference turntable as seen in the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange.
The David Gaiman-designed turntable can now sell for around £2,500 and wouldn’t look out of place in any high-tech musical set-up of the 21st century.
Beasley adds: ‘The revival of interest in vintage hi-fi gear doesn’t stop with record players – the rarest iconic speakers can sell for a sizable fortune. We have a pair of Western Electric 16A Speakers made in 1929 on sale for £100,000.
‘They were once used in cinemas and were found surrounded by walls inside a bingo hall. They are almost three meters wide and look incredible.’
Earlier this summer, a 1950s Tennoy speaker went under the hammer for £8,000 – breaking the £40 valuation put on it by Dorchester-based Duke’s Avenue Auctions.
This was the 1959 ‘Cow R Fountain’ with an additional 15 inches of loudspeakers and was housed in a ‘Canterbury’ wooden corner cabinet that was over 4 feet high.
Tannoy is a generic term used for a speaker as it is associated with some of the best quality speakers.
In 2014, a pair of Tannoy GRF speakers sold for a record £15,750, while the 5ft Tannoy sold for £7500 a year earlier.
Amplifiers that use valves instead of transistors and electronic chips are also sought after by hi-fi fans. Beasley says the 1948 Leak TL12.1 – a mono amp – might sell for £2,000, but you need two for a stereo system. Other separates that can be plugged into modern Hi-Fi include a cassette deck.
Hi-Fi was born in 1877 when Thomas Edison invented the phonograph – an early record player using a cylinder instead of a flat disc.
By 1898, Edison was selling a new standard phonograph for £15. The cylinder was limited to a two-minute game time. It can now sell for £1,350.
In 1887, Emil Berliner began producing commercially available gramophone players.
These sport a fast-paced 78rpm record that can still be picked up cheaply secondhand. Find an 1893 Berliner gramophone and you have a music machine that is, well, old. They can change hands for around £10,000.
The Berliner Gramophone Company adopted His Master’s Voice as a trademark when Berliner saw an 1898 painting of a dog sitting on a coffin listening to his dead owner’s voice through a record player.
It was used in 1901 on the trade-mark gramophone model which now sells for £2,000. These early machines didn’t have the power-powered amps that made them louder—but they relied on horns.
Gramophones with such external horns reached their zenith in the 1930s when the British firm EMG produced papier-mâché horns up to 34 inches …