Waddesdon Manor gramophone commissioned by James de Rothschild goes up for auction

An exceptionally rare HMV 1 automatic gramophone commissioned by James de Rothschild (1878-1957) of the Rothschild banking dynasty for Waddesdon Manor is going up for auction this month.
The HMV 1 automatic gramophoneThe HMV 1 automatic gramophone
The HMV 1 automatic gramophone

The HMV gramophone was the first electronic record player ever produced.

It is going up for auction in a sale of Antiques & Collectables at Mellors & Kirk, on October 21, 2020.

It was launched in 1928 and while other gramophones exist, this particular example is one of only a handful produced and therefore is hardly ever seen on the open market.

The model was considered the ultimate in ‘high tech’ and was aimed at the super rich and priced accordingly at £125, which in 1928 was a small fortune and a lot more than any other gramophone produced.

The model created in walnut, ran on electricity and was supplied with a lead to a tuned walnut stand, allowing the controls to be operated from the listener’s armchair.

It was hugely expensive to produce and with such a hefty price tag, very few were sold, which is why it is so rare to find them today. However today it bears a conservative estimate of £1,000-£2,000.

James de Rothschild and his wife Dorothy (1895-1988), were politically active in the inter-war period and in 1928 when they would have purchased the gramophone, they hosted the Liberal Party rally at Waddesden Manor, which was addressed by MP and former British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George (1863-1945).