Lot 82 : Extremely Rare Small Coin Operated Symphonium No.105 Musical Savings Bank
We sold this lot for £2,000 in July 2019

The Kaiser's Music Box!
A fabulous piece with an amazing history. One of only a handful known to exist. Made around 1900 by the Symphonium Company in Germany. It is the smallest of all coin operated disc music machines, being essentially the grandest and most amusing piggy bank for the children of the very wealthiest of Victorian society. Children were encouraged to save by dropping their pocket money in the slot, to be rewarded by a hit tune of the day, played on the 7 & 5/8ths inch zinc discs.
This particularly fine example was for many years part of the astonishing collection curated by the late Daphne Ladell of Box Hill, Surrey, who would regularly open her house as a museum to share her passion for mechanical music & automata. It was aquired by the present owner directly from the estate, during a long and protracted sale of the collection between 2017-18, when collectors from around the world competed in a sealed bid auction for over 180 lots. It was the one piece he just had to have, due to the extraordinary story of its history, as recounted by Daphne on numerous visits to the collection over the years:
It is said this is the very musical bank purchased by Kaiser Wilhelm II to give to his 'dear Grandmama' Queen Victoria on one of his many visits to England. Queen Mary subsequently disposed of it when anything to do with the Kaiser / Germany became toxic during WW1 - Queen Mary of course being well known for giving many gifts to friends, staff and so on. This may well account for the excpetional condition the piece remains in to this day.
The same model (with slightly different wording on the top flash) is present in the Stockholm Museum, and is pictured in the definitive book "The Disc Musical Box" by Kevin McElhone.
Comes with 11 good discs.
Size approx: 11 inches (27.9 cm) Wide  by 16 inches (40.6 cm) High