Victor D Serial Number 9474 with Bow-Front Salter Base Cabinet
Build Date: Late 1903
Originality: 2- Exceptionally well restored phonograph and cabinet. Horn is a totally untouched original
Overall Condition: 2- Extremely nice, correctly executed restoration. Shows only slight signs of wear.
(See the Ratings/Condition page for our grading scales)
Here is an opportunity for the discriminating buyer to own a rare and very elegant early phonograph and cabinet set. This is absolutely one of the nicest phonograph/base combinations we have offered for sale in many 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.
In 1903, most Victor dealers would offer each customer an aftermarket base cabinet for their new phonograph, as the "Victrola" design (incorporating an integral internal horn and a record storage area in the lower cabinet of the phonograph itself) had not yet been developed. The Salter Manufacturing Company of Chicago made some of the best designed and built base cabinets at that time. This bombe' style cabinet has a curved front door, needle storage trays, carved pillars and feet, and individual padded slots to store individual records safely. It is an outstanding match to the elegant Victor D, and this combination would have been one of the most expensive sets offered at that time. With the phonograph, cabinet and horn, the original buyer invested around $100.00 in this set, which would cover 4 months of the average house payment in 1903.
This is an exceptional phonograph, and it makes a stunning presentation as a set with the base cabinet. The horn is the best original (unrestored) oak Victor spearpoint we have seen in years. It is close to flawless. All hardware and accessories on the machine and cabinet are also correct. This is truly an "over the top" combination that represents the pinnacle of audio reproduction in the first years of the 20th Century. It is an exceptionally well-executed restoration, with appropriate attention to detail. It is historically correct in every respect, down to the screws and washers used during assembly. Cost of the restoration alone would easily run $3,500.00 or more in today's market, and that does not include the purchase price of the rare Victor D or cabinet. 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 piece of furniture 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.