portable record player

Portable turntables, like this 1960s model with built-in speakers, let teens take their music on the go.

The portable record player has reached middle age. That’s right, portable record players have reached the age of 50, and that means a collecting revival is on the horizon. The 1960s and 1970s mark the golden age of portable record players and turntables with built-in speakers.

The RCA record players were mid-century modern record players that have retained interest with today’s collectors. Teenagers would bring their box record player/stereos and handy vinyl record carrying case to a friend’s house and listen to music after school until dinner time.

Manufacturers that made turntables with stereo playback Hi-Fi sound sparked consumers’ interest and encouraged shoppers to buy turntables for the home. The Hi-Fi sound made them a mainstay in America’s living rooms and dens.

In the late 1800s, Regina tune sheet music boxes, Edison phonographs and Victor Victrolas represented some of the early versions of record players.

The Regina music boxes were made in Rahway, New Jersey, and housed in a mahogany, oak or cherry wood box. These portable music players used a comb mechanism to play metal tune sheets, 15 inches in diameter, of various songs of the day. They are often available at auctions and online.

In the early 1900s, the famous and highly recognizable Victor Victrola played music from a free-standing cabinet of solid hardwood. This piece of furniture had the turntable on the top beneath a domed lid, speakers that were revealed by opening two panel doors and a storage area at the bottom that was the home to records.

One point of interest is that Victrolas are of interest to collectors as long as they are in working condition. Today, certain antique or vintage records players command thousands of dollars with collectors.

There has been an increase in the value of vintage record players and stereo cabinets housing radio receivers, speakers and turntables since around 2015.

During my video-call appraisal sessions, clients show me turntables to gainappraised value on the market and most are pleasantly surprised with the retail value on the market for such pieces.

Digital music downloads have changed the way we listen to our favorite songs. Fortunately, convenience has not outpaced vintage style. Many of today’s collectors are adding to their contemporary music libraries with old-school vinyl records — complete with artful album covers and vintage record players.

With a Ph.D. from Penn State University, Lori Verderame is an antiques appraiser, author and award-winning TV personality who has appeared on the TV shows “The Curse of Oak Island” and “Pawn Stars Do America.” You can watch her “Real Bargains” show at YouTube.com/DrLoriV. She gives appraisal information at DrLoriV.com or call 888-431-1010.

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