CEO of Morphy Tom Tolworthy comments: “Since the sale of the Milhous collection by Sotheby’s in 2012, so many rare and exceptional orchestrions have not come to auction.”
DENVER, September 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The word “unique” can sometimes be overused, but not in the case of the Henri Krijnen mechanical music collection, which will be auctioned at Morphy’s on September 9-10, 2022. Amassed over a lifetime, the unrivaled collection of early music and entertainment machinery includes great European fairground, dance and theater organs; orchestrations, automatons, Frank Polk figurines and other slot machines; and even a spectacular, fully functional Karl Muller antique carousel. As described by Tom TolworthyCEO of Morphy Auctions and curator/director of sale, the collection features “the finest examples of mechanical music machines to hit the market in a decade”.
The late Henri Krijnen, who made his fortune in the gaming and entertainment industry, had the soul of an antique dealer. Throughout his 50-year collector’s odyssey, he sought out the finest, rarest and finest examples. As its stellar collection grew, it was moved to larger premises several times, eventually settling in a custom-built warehouse in Oosterhout, Netherlands. Henri’s private museum was never open to the public, but on many occasions it served as a wonderful centerpiece for private events that Henri organized for his fellow collectors.
“Even at the end of his life, Henri continued to acquire unique and special mechanical novelties. His philosophy was: ‘There is always room for one more,'” Tolworthy said. “Henri’s passion can be seen in every corner of his collection. The depth of selection in the categories he has assembled reflects his innate desire to bring the forgotten back to life for generations to enjoy. “
The dizzying array of dance organs will leave collectors spoiled for choice, but there is no doubt that one of the most impressive examples is the elegant 1937 Theofiel Mortier model with 102 keys, 200 pipes and a accordion that together deliver a rich, heart-pounding sound. With an ornately carved facade that resembles a temple or palace, it is an artistic sight to behold and was, in fact, previously in the collection of a British museum. Perhaps the Rolls-Royce of classical dance organs, it is estimated at $250,000–$400,000.
A Gebroeders Decap dance organ with figures of robot musicians was known to be a firm favorite of Henri. It was made in Belgium in 1963, a time when the public imagination was captured by the idea of space travel and robots. It is one of only three to be manufactured in a 105-key configuration and was originally installed at the Hotel Eemland in Soest (Netherlands). It has been professionally restored and plays beautifully, with great sound and animation. Estimate: $100,000–$200,000
Among the vintage music boxes up for auction is a German style #5 polyphone made in 1900 housed in a handsome walnut cabinet on its original stand. It is unusual in that it has a selection bar where the customer can choose the song to play from the melody cards, drop a coin, and watch the disc load and play. Accompanied by 14 discs, it comes to auction with a $20,000–$40,000 estimate.
A complete, painstakingly restored Karl Muller (Germany) fully working illuminated carousel features 18 stunning hand-sculpted features, including horses outside the row, ornate sleighs with hand-painted embossed details, a suspended gondola, a boat and dozens of panels ornaments with hand-painted images of cherubs, floral motifs and picturesque landscapes. Estimate: $160,000–$260,000.
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SOURCE Morphy Auctions