Jukeboxes are machines that play music at the request of the user. Most often they operate when a legitimate coin has been placed into the mechanism. For people looking to collect or sell off their jukebox, having a refined idea of how much they are actually worth will help considerably.
If using an auction website such as eBay, the concern in regards to overspending on a jukebox model, or advertising one for too little, is a worry for some people to contend with.
By reading this guide a more advanced judgment can be made by those looking to value their jukebox, although researching the matter further by looking at more specific and dedicated sources is advisable also. It will also look briefly how to obtain a jukebox on eBay and ways to avoid overspending.
A Short History of the Jukebox
It can be useful to understand the background of the jukebox in order to gain a better idea of their value, and how much to spend when making a purchase.
- Their emergence during the mid-19th century in the United States provided people with a way to listen to simple recorded musical instruments. As time progressed, technology improved and jukeboxes began to play actual songs that people didn’t have a chance to listen to before; radios were not a commonly found accessory in households and listeners had no control over what was played.
- Many public establishments in the US began to acquire jukeboxes as a form of entertainment for its patrons - be it drinking establishments, restaurants or music halls. Newer innovations over time meant that jukebox machines could incorporate numerous tracks and even be controlled via remote controls. Improvements in sound quality and speakers made jukeboxes a staple of American pop culture throughout the 20th century. Countries over Europe such as the UK began to buy into the jukebox craze too.
- The records which were played in early jukebox models were 78 rotations per minute (RPMs) discs, which progressed into standard 45 RPMs up until the advent of compact discs in the 1980s. Despite the jukebox evolving to integrate CDs, their popularity decreased during the modern era. Music became much more accessible for people to listen to, with personal music players and pop shows on television taking away the need for the public jukebox.
- In the UK today, jukeboxes are still found in some social establishments, and will usually be fitted with innovative digital technology that connects with the Internet to download a massive selection of tracks. Some can even play the musical videos associated with the song and have touch screen technology.
- Collectors still cherish old style jukeboxes, however, which means the market is still active for buyers and sellers to delve into.
Determining the Value of a Jukebox
The value of your jukebox will depend on certain aspects, and they are listed below. Look out for these when coming to make a purchase and browse various sources to see if the quoted price seems fair.
Age –The age of the jukebox is one of the most crucial features that can affect its price tag. It is extremely uncommon to find models created before the 1930s, but if you do then they can fetch very high amounts. Jukeboxes from the 1940s and 1950s such as the Wurlitzer 1015 are more attainable, and can still reach up to sums of around £10,000 for the more uncommon versions. Later editions will be worth a lot less, but can still be a substantial investment for first time buyers.
Quality – Some people will actually want the jukebox for practical reasons, i.e. to play music. In this sense, some older models may be actually of less value to them. The famous Wurlitzer 1015 model, for example, is only compatible with 78-RPM records and can only hold 24 of them; later versions with more suitable qualities may be of more worth to collectors.
Condition –Quite obviously, the better the condition of the jukebox the more valuable it will be. Most buyers will understand that jukeboxes of a vintage nature won’t be in pristine order, but their condition still helps with dictating evaluations. Jukeboxes that have actually been used in bars and pubs will probably have encountered some wear and tear over the years, so consider this also.
Manufacturer –Shopping for particular brands of jukebox is popular way for collectors to pinpoint the desired jukebox. The leading name is Wurlitzer, a musical and jukebox manufacturer with a distinguished history within the industry. These will generally fetch higher amounts than other brands. Other popular models include Rock Ola, AMI and Seeburg.
Rarity –Traditionally, jukeboxes were predominantly found in drinking establishments and restaurants. In this respect, they weren’t constructed in the hundreds of thousands, as they weren’t a household essential. This makes it very uncommon to come across some particular models, especially those only manufactured in amounts fewer than 5,000, as many were made before the Second World War. 78 RMP versions are also quite rare to find also.
Due to their old nature, it is common to find some jukeboxes worn out or damaged slightly. The temptation to quickly offload the jukebox as soon as possible may appeal to some people if they come into possession of a damaged model.
However, sometimes a simple repair or additional part can restore the jukebox back up to full working order and increase its value dramatically in the process. Many sellers list jukebox accessories on eBay, which can help with this. Instruction manuals too are a useful asset to have and again will improve the worth of the jukebox to prospective buyers.
Modern CD or mp3 jukeboxes are more accessible than vintage versions and therefore tend to be less expensive to buy. New models will generally range from around £400 at the lower end of the market, and can go up to over £5,000. When coming to review a modern jukebox, look at aspects like the amount of CDs it can play, along with the type of sound system it uses.
- Perhaps the most resourceful and competent ways of determining the value of your jukebox is to do as much research as possible from different sources. Going online is a quick and easy way of doing this, as there are specialist jukebox machine websites that deal with such matters.
- Another smart way to evaluate the buyer’s market is to use eBay and check out how much money previous jukeboxes have sold for. To do this, firstly select the ‘Machines’ section of the ‘Jukebox’ category. Then click on the ‘Advanced’ search page link, which is located next to the search bar menu. Under the ‘Search Including’ title, select the box marked ‘Completed listings’ and click the search tab.
- Many listings of jukebox machines should then appear, which have ended in the previous 15 days. By reviewing them, this will give a much better idea of the price you are looking to pay for a jukebox. Type in the specific model you are looking to buy or evaluate into the search bar and check if any have previously been listed on eBay.
- Next to the jukebox results will be the price; if it is displayed in green this means that it sold for that amount. Alternatively, red signifies that it didn’t sell for that sum. Remember, a jukebox is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it.
- This should give a more refined view of how much a particular jukebox will be, although checking other websites or even music shops is advisable too. Before purchasing a jukebox, it is wise to look through eBay, as it will be possible to peruse many models listed by a variety of sellers, and will possibly be available at a price lower than the market average.
Buying a Jukebox on eBay
As noted previously, finding out the ‘Jukebox’ category within the ‘Collectables’ section of eBay is a good way to generally browse over the models available to buy, as well as any relevant accessories or parts. eBay also includes a section noted as ‘Other Jukeboxes’, which includes items such as mini jukeboxes and compatible music records.
Alternatively, a more efficient way to search is by typing in the specific jukebox model desired, a ‘touchscreen jukebox’ or ‘CD jukebox’, for example. Searching by brand is also a good way to narrow down the results. Additional options, such as bringing up items listed with the Auction or Buy It Now buying format can also be selected, along with the optimum price range.
When coming to make a purchase, ensure that you read the item’s description to know exactly what you are bidding for. This applies especially to older and used jukeboxes that may be have deteriorated in condition. Also, check out the postage and payment information offered by the seller; some may only be available for collection only.
The best way to determine the value of a jukebox is to compare it to other similar models on the current market. Finding out as much information about it, price appreciation or depreciation for example, can help determine its profit potential.
Also, use eBay to check out completed jukebox listings to understand how much certain models sell and don’t sell for. Buying on eBay is recommended also, as an efficient way of finding a wide range of jukebox machines at potentially reduced prices.