A Rare Karrer Mandoline-Harpe-Piccolo musical box, circa 1885,
Lot 44
A Rare Karrer Mandoline-Harpe-Piccolo musical box, circa 1885,
Sold for £1,200 (US$ 2,015) inc. premium
Lot Details
Musical Boxes
A Rare Karrer Mandoline-Harpe-Piccolo musical box,
circa 1885,
No. 6003, with patent folding handle-crank to single-spring motor, playing eight airs including three parts of the William Tell Overture, double combs with crossing zither attachment, on cast gilt reeded bedplate in ebonised interior, Karrer tunesheet bearing both Philadelphia and Vienna exhibition medals, glass dust lid, in grained case with three-quarter turned column corners and side carrying handles, the domed rosewood veneered lid with crossbanded edge of walnut, line-inlay, and unusual central simplistic stained fruitwood inlaid scene of a seated fisherman in a country landscape, smoking a pipe with a bridge beyond - 29.1/2in. (75cm) wide, the cylinder 17.1/8in. (43.5cm)


  • Ludvig R. Karrer's business started in Teufenthal, Switzerland, nearly 20 miles south-east of Bern in 1854, with the help of his sons and brother.

    One distinguishing Karrer patent, which was added in 1881, is the vertical folding crank-drive which makes it possible to wind the spring one turn by winding the crank one turn. Unfortunately, the design is rather clumsy and there is a short window of opportunity where the handle can be folded safely back into the box. Notice how un-wanted contact with the comb and cylinder may easily occur (although there are no clear signs damage has occurred).

    The proportions of the case are broad and, technically, the reasonable sound and good arrangements accompanies the unusual two-comb format which produces Mandoline-Harpe-Piccolo.
    Very few musical boxes by this maker have come to light in the United Kingdom in recent times and there are less than 15 recorded on the MBSGB register at the time this catalogue of sale has gone to press.

    Literature: 'Musical Box Oddments No. 117', H. A. V. Bulleid, pp188-191 - The Music Box, Volume 23, No. VI, Summer 2008