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Lot 180

Wurlitzer Style 157 Band Organ, 1924

Sold for $155,250


Rudolph Wurlitzer Co. (North Tonawanda, New York)
150 in. x 105 in. x 44 in.

Among large models of Wurlitzer band organs, the Style 157 model is a rare prize. An idea of its elusive nature can be gained from the fact that Hathaway & Bowers Inc. and its successor, American International Galleries, handled only one of these, in comparison to three of the large Style 165.

The Wurlitzer Style 157 organ was only produced during the 1920s for use in carousels, amusement parks, and pavilions, as well as at other public entertainment places. Rolls were made of green dry-waxed paper in order to withstand the humidity changes they encountered while in environments partially open to the outdoors. The case is oak-veneered, with a white enameled façade, and it has been elaborately carved and decorated in gold leaf, with inset paintings of landscapes. This example, serial number 3639, was delivered new in March 1924 to Spillman Engineering Company, of New York, and it may have been sold with a carousel made by that firm.

Subsequent owners have included Paul Torin, of New Rochelle, New York; Mike Ames, of Solana Beach, California; and the Milhous Collection, from whom it was acquired for the Andrews Collection. The late Mike Kitner, a band organ expert from Pennsylvania, restored it in the 1980s. It plays Wurlitzer 165 rolls on duplex (double roll) mechanisms, which were made so one roll can play while the other rewinds, eliminating the long periods of silence that occur when an organ has only one roll mechanism. A large number of rolls are included. Instrumentation on the organ includes 208 pipes, bass, and snare drums, a triangle, and a cymbal. This has been the favorite carousel organ of many collectors and enthusiasts, and the acquisition of such an instrument will not be possible again soon, as no more than 10 are known to exist today.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more