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The Most Extraordinary Automata of Them All for Music Box and Antique Collectors
Author: _Monique Hawkins

Copyright © 2006 Monique Hawkins

There are a wide variety of music and non-music automata. These include "Vaucanson's Duck","Striking Jacks", "The Draughtsman", "The Writer", and "Singing Bird Cages" to name a few. However, the most extraordinary of them all are the "Mechanical Pictures".

Many mechanical pictures and landscapes were made with some even dating back to the 1700's. With so many of them manufactured, the quality of them did suffer somewhat. It is interesting to note that in spite of the volume that was made and questionable quality for some, mechanical pictures were really quite complicated to make. What has been found is that the more complicated the picture and the earlier the year it was made, the more valuable of a mechanical picture is. If a music box or antique collector discovered one of these pictures, they would have a rare collectible to add to their collection.

Mechanical pictures that were made around 1900 did not have music. Some popular scenes included moving rabbits coming out of hats, mechanical lions, which swing back and forth and then pounce and roar (which is very rare), and the silver swan. The silver swan, according to David Tallis in "Music Box: A Guide for Collector's" is highly valuable and the most important for our country. Tallis states that: "Now on display at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham, this magnificent bird, is made of silver and put together in such a way that the most realistic swan-like movements are possible. As the swan dips its beak in the stream, a tiny silver fish appears in the beak and is then swallowed. The mechanism is most complicated and extremely powerful, having to drive not only the swan's neck, but also the many twisted six-air musical carillon which accompanies the swan's action." Since it is believed the swan was made before 1774, finding a mechanical picture with the silver swan would be a highly valuable asset for the antique and music box collector.

Finding the right rare mechanical picture with a scene may not be easy. However, with persistent searching, the music box and antique collector could end up adding a unique and rare find for their collection.

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Established in May of 2005, www.My-Music-Box.com is a music box gift store specializing in products such as inlaid ballerina music boxes for ballerina rooms décor, whimsical carousel music boxes, and musical jewelry boxes. The company provides interesting information for music lovers of all ages. Owner Monique Hawkins is also the author of the blog "What You Never Knew About Music" whatyouneverknewaboutmusic.blogspot.com , and owner of the eBay store "Monique's Music Box" at: stores.ebay.com/moniquesmusicbox/ Monique can be contacted at (540) 858-2885.

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