Victor D Serial Number 7701
Build Date: Late 1903
Originality: 1- Original machine, finish and horn. Cabinet was lightly overcoated with shellac many years ago. Turntable felt replaced.
Overall Condition: 2- Extremely nice machine in all respects. Shows only slight wear and a great patina.
(See the Ratings/Condition page for our grading scales)
If you are looking for 'the very best' in rare external-horn phonographs, this one would certainly be a strong contender. This is absolutely one of the nicest machines we have come across in recent years. Introduced in September 1903, The Victor D was the first phonograph with a 12" turntable so as to be able to play the newly introduced 12" records. Victor really went "over the top" when designing this very premium machine, which was their top-line model in the catalog until the gold-trimmed Victor 6 was introduced a year later. Selling for a base price of $55.00 new (which equates to about $1,500.00 in today's money), it attracted very wealthy buyers at a time when the average worker's wage was about 22 cents per hour. The oak spearpoint horn was an expensive option for the machine. No effort was spared on the design or manufacture of this model; premium state-of-the-art motors and soundbox designs were used. Exquisite carved wood "roping" surrounds the cabinet, and highly detailed columns appear at the corners. Victor D's are rare, with only about 12,000 having been built before the model was renamed the "Victor V" sometime in early 1906. The Victor V utilized a far lower-cost and far more ordinary cabinet design, and a total of over 50,000 of the later-style Victor V machines were made until production ended in the early 1920's.
This is a truly exceptional (and very hard to find) phonograph, and it makes a stunning presentation. The horn is one of the nicest original (unrestored) oak Victor spearpoint versions we have come across recently. The original Victor decal is still present. The horn has a 100% untouched finish, and is near flawless. The cabinet also retains its original finish; it was lightly overcoated with shellac (a common practice) many years ago. This was done to bring back some of the original "shine". The overcoat in no way distracts from the appearance, and it take some pretty good expert eyes to detect that an overcoat was ever done. The overcoat was done so long ago (likely in the 1950's or 1960's), that it also has a nice patina. All hardware and accessories are also correct. The nickel hardware has lost some of its "shine" but is undamaged. NO REPRODUCTION PARTS are used on this machine! It is a very heavy piece, and takes up quite a bit of space, so a sturdy table is recommended.
This is truly an "over the top" phonograph that represents the pinnacle of audio reproduction in the first years of the 20th Century. It is historically correct in every respect, down to the screws and washers used during assembly. This set will hold its own anywhere, and would be a stunning addition to any collection, or as a spectacular and fully functional show-piece in any home. Victor D's are always in-demand, and is very likely to appreciate over time, making this a great heirloom item to be passed-on through the family. It is expensive, but is priced appropriately given the rarity of the set and restoration of this caliber.