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Penny arcade machines and jukeboxes up for grabs at Canterbury Auction Galleries

By Gazette reporter

A fascinating collection of penny arcade machines and jukeboxes, some dating back more than 100 years, will go under the auctioneer’s hammer from today.

Among the items to be sold is an early ‘What the butler saw’ machine – one of the earliest forms of erotic films.

Dating from the late 19th or early 20th century, the ornate green cast-iron Pride of Paris machine features a scantily clad young woman on the front.

19th or early 20th century 'Penny-in-the-Slot Mutoscope", by the American Mutoscope Company of New York
19th or early 20th century 'Penny-in-the-Slot Mutoscope", by the American Mutoscope Company of New York

Working on a similiar basis to flip-card books, the device shows what appears to be a moving image.

This machine, made by pioneers of the technology, the American Mutoscope Company of New York, is expected to sell for £1,500 to £2,000.

The items being sold are from one man’s lifetime collection.

Other machines include a 1930s French L’Eclair shooting game in an Art Deco mahogany box which involves shooting 25 cent coins from a pistol into a slot. It is set to fetch between £800 and £1,200.

Music jukebox 25 cent wall boxes, each with aluminium framed turning pages to hold 200 record titles and contained in chromium plated cases
Music jukebox 25 cent wall boxes, each with aluminium framed turning pages to hold 200 record titles and contained in chromium plated cases

Classic jukeboxes dating from the 1950s and 60s will also be up for grabs.

A spokesman for Canterbury Auction Galleries said: “This is one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of early mechanical music and penny-in-the-slot arcade machines to come to market in recent times.

“It was amassed over 20 years by Raymond Stacey, of Etchinghill, Folkestone, whose mania for collecting, followed by a self-imposed downsizing, saw part one of the collection raise a total of £31,000 in 2015.”

A 1930s French L'Eclair shooting game by Louis Loubet
A 1930s French L'Eclair shooting game by Louis Loubet

Hooked on the jukeboxes his parents had in the London transport cafes they owned and ran, by the age of 15 he left school determined to start his own business in the music industry.

He founded Stacey Music Systems in Sittingbourne in 1983, trading first from home and then from an industrial unit in the town.

He went on to install sound equipment for major breweries and fashion retailers such as Next and River Island.

Now in his 60s, Mr Stacey continues to “slim down” his collection which had taken over his home.

A 1950s American "Sixpence-in-the-Slot" "Governor - Tic-Tac-Toe" is an early one-armed bandit style gaming machine by Jennings & Company, Chicago, Illinois
A 1950s American "Sixpence-in-the-Slot" "Governor - Tic-Tac-Toe" is an early one-armed bandit style gaming machine by Jennings & Company, Chicago, Illinois

The auction house says: “Just as music has always been in his life, so has an interest in anything mechanical, notably the penny-in-the-slot arcade games like the one-armed bandits in his parents’ cafés.

“His first purchase was a small chrome cigarette-making machine which he saw in the window of a neighbouring sweetshop.

"Having persuaded its reluctant owner to sell it, he proudly showed his prize possession to his father, but he was not happy with the purchase and promptly made the boy take it back and buy sweets instead.

American Mills F.O.K. three-reel fruit 5 cent machine in an oak case
American Mills F.O.K. three-reel fruit 5 cent machine in an oak case

“The collection Mr Stacey built up subsequently represents the ‘history of sound’, while his interest in jukeboxes and slot machines never waned.”

The jukeboxes are set to sell for between £100 and £400 each.

All the items will be up for grabs at the sale from today until Thursday.

Contact Canterbury Auction Galleries in Station Road West for details on 01227 763337 or email general@tcag.co.uk.

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