Many of us have family heirlooms that hold more sentimental value than actual monetary value. That’s why you might find someone holding onto broken vinyl records, but does the same apply to the dazzling Victrolas? Or are they still worth something?
Maybe you’ve spotted an old Victrola collecting dust in your grandma’s attic, and she’s willing to sell it. In that case, you may wonder: how much is a Victrola record player worth? Let’s find out!
Before we dive into the nitty gritty of valuing collectors’ pieces, I’d like to let you know that in most cases, you’ll need to get a professional antiquarian appraisal to know how much your Victrola record player is actually worth. That’s because there are far more factors than you can guess when it comes to pricing collectibles.
Here, we’ll discuss the factors that determine the price of a Victrola record player on the market.
Between 1920 and 1929, over eight million were manufactured. A century later, about half a million are still around and kicking.
Most of the ones available are from the few best-selling models back in the day. These are the VV 4-3, VV-2-55, and VV models from IV to XI. Since these models are the easiest to come by, they hold the least worth.
On the other hand, when the VV-XX (VTLA domed lid and gold side trim) first popped onto the market, it was expensive, so only a few people owned it. It’s estimated that only 500 of those were produced, which makes it one of the rarest models of the Victrola record player.
It goes without saying that the rare pieces are highly sought after, and antique collectors are willing to pay a lot for them.
In the hobby of collecting treasures, people value items made with high-quality materials and those that are stored well.
Victrola record players were commonly made with oak or mahogany. Very few were made with Circassian walnut. These are the rarest and hold the most worth, followed by oak.
When it comes to the condition of the phonograph, any damage caused by poor storage significantly reduces its value. This deterioration can show up as rusting, broken parts, scratches, or stains on the outer body of the piece.
On the other hand, Victor Victrolas that were maintained or restored to a near-mint condition will fetch the highest prices on the market.
You may have the best ancient Victrola record player maintained to museum quality. Yet, without the proper marketing skills, you may never find a buyer willing to pay thousands for it.
In recent years, some new concepts like minimalism have taken the world by storm. Also, homes grew smaller. Consequently, having huge period pieces in your house became a thing of the past.
Plus, inflation can also severely affect how much people are willing to ‘squander’ their pennies on anything other than essential items.
That’s why the right marketing strategy also means finding people interested in this niche.
Finally, the authenticity of a Victrola record player notably affects its price. Potential buyers will mainly be interested in the genuine Victrolas made in a specific period and by the original manufacturer.
Generally speaking, a treasure’s worth escalates as it gets older. Therefore, it’s only rational that a 1910 Victrola X will fetch higher bidding than the 1929 VV-111.
Authentic Victor Victrolas were made before 1929, and the metal date plates can identify these with the logo and information about the model.
After 1929, the Radio Corporation of America bought the Victor Victrola company and made a few changes to the original design. These ones have RCA Victrola labels instead.
If you’re seeking to buy or sell an original Victrola record player, the first place you should check is your local antique shop. The antique dealer may be interested in this sort of thing. If he doesn’t, then he probably knows someone who does.
However, if you prefer taking the online route, head to eBay, Craigslist, or Etsy to find a good deal. Just make sure to contact the seller and arrange a meet-up before promising to buy. Even better, find yourself an expert to examine the collector’s item on the day of your viewing.
Alternatively, you can look for local restaurants that might want a vintage record player to add a historical vibe. The owners could be interested in taking the Victrola off your hands.
The Victrola phonographs were manufactured between 1901 and 1929, and about 100 models were made. So, it may be difficult for you to pinpoint the exact year your record player was built.
Usually, you can tell how old a Victor Victrola is by its design.
For example, they made External Horn Victors from 1901 to 1920. If you have an Internal Horn Victrola, it might trace back to 1906-1929. Meanwhile, a more advanced Orthophonic Victrola model could range anywhere from 1925 to 1929.
To know precisely which year your record player was made, consult a phonograph expert.
Should You Restore an Old Victrola Record Player?
Do you have an old record player that seems super sad and ugly? If you’re considering selling it, it might be a good idea to give it a makeover to raise its worth and sell it at a higher price.
Generally, it’s better to let a furniture restorer do the job for you because the last thing you want is to ruin your piece of treasure. However, if you’re a DIY pro who feels up to the challenge, you can try to restore your old VV player to its glory days on your own.
In some cases, it’s better to leave the Victrola player alone because the value of heavily tampered with phonographs drops significantly. This is especially true when the whole piece is stripped and refinished all over with new wood.