LOOKING INTO MY CRYSTAL BALL
This hobby is changing. Over the past year, I've seen
fewer and fewer amps come in from the 40s jukes, and the 50s amps are slowing
down also, but not as fast. What I'm seeing now is the mid- to
late- 60s, into the 70s. These machines are more plentiful, cheaper to buy, and
sound great. They can be repaired and maintained easier, and parts are still in
Any collectible hobby goes through cycles and changes.
Jukeboxes are no exception. A person will collect the items that satisfy the
feeling of nostalgia. Ten to fifteen years ago everyone wanted a light-up juke
from the 40s. As recently as 5 years ago they were still hot. They were in big
demand and brought big prices. Now, it seems everyone that wanted one, has one.
The market has softened, especially with the reproductions now available.
Currently, everyone wants the 50s jukes, but I'm sensing
a softening of this market. Within another 5 years, people will be collecting
the 60s and 70s jukes with the same fervor we see for the 50s machines now.
Soon, the Seeburgs such as the Q, AY and DS models
will be bringing $2500 and up restored. Don't think so? Just sit back and
watch. It is going to hap- pen, and it's started already. Another up and coming
model is the SS-160, and the USC se- ries will be
The Fleetwood and Electra models are really getting
popular now. As far as Wurlitzer is concerned, any model from the 2500 through
the 3000 series is gaining fast. I'm not predicting much in the way of gain for
the 3400 - 3800 series, but who knows? If the current trend is an unstoppable
continuum, the enthusiasts of the year 2005 could be arguing over who owns the
nicest collection of Americanas! An unthinkable
scenario by today's standard.
My crystal ball also reveals that AMI MM-1 models are going
to be sought after. They are relatively small, sound great, and are very
reliable. The front door has a number of different scenes painted on them plus
you could add the Phono-View theater system very
easily. This is a real plus.
Rockola produced a number of
reliable machines in the late 60s, and these are sure to attract a following,
especially since they are still reasonably priced.
All in all, the wise collector will look to the future.
Remember, there is a different age group moving into the hobby. Most, if not
all, have never seen a 1015 on location, much less a V. They remember the late
60s boxes and Stern/Seeburgs with mirror balls won't
be far behind. These are the jukeboxes they will go after.
The best advice I could give is to be flexible. Don't get
hooked on a particular model or series. Go with the flow so to speak, and think
about what might happen in the not too distant future. Go ahead and pick up
some of the above mentioned jukes while they are still available at a
reasonable price. If you don't do anything but stick a couple into storage, it
will pay off later.
Another indicator that this is the new trend is the
number of reproduction parts coming on the market now. Some of the parts
manufacturers are already making glass for the late 60s and early 70s machines.
If there wasn't a demand for these parts trust me, they wouldn't be making
I'm beginning to wonder where the stopping point is going
to be. That is, if there is one. I'm not totally sure when the last vinyl
machine was made (other than repro jukes) but I suspect it was somewhere around
1990. Everything later than this will be a CD juke. Perhaps Glenn Streeter's
ancestors will see a time when hobbyists seek his modern day Rockola Legend with SybersonicTM
audio! Still, there are plenty of people who don't want to fool with 45s and
will choose a CD juke over a vinyl player. This group will not enter the market
for anything earlier.
The day may come that I want a CD juke, but I don't see
that happening as long as 45s are available. Just think of the gazillion 45s
that were made between 1950 and 1995! Surely a person can find SOMETHING that
they'll listen to. The major music suppliers occasionally press 45 records, but
not in any significant quantity. There is one company left in Pennsylvania
that has bought up the rights to a lot of the older music. They've been in
business for at least 30 years, and I suspect they will be around for a long
time to come. Also, there are many companies and small suppliers that
specialize in original label records and they aren't going anywhere for the