VV-XVI "L-door" Serial Number 25767 Type C Fumed Oak Finish
Build Date: Approximately September 1910
Originality: 1 100% untouched original
Overall Condition: 2- Exceptiional original finish, hardware shows wear. A few very minor dings on side of cabinet
(See the Ratings/Condition page for our grading scales)
The first Victrola ever introduced (in August 1906) was the "L-door" design cabinet. This design remained in production, with only minor changes to trim and hardware, until 1912, when it was replaced with a more conventional "modern" cabinet design. The L-door models were very expensive when new ($200.00 then, which equates to $5,000.00 in today's money) and only wealthy buyers could afford to purchase them, and unlike the lower-cost outisde-horn machines, relatively few of these pricey machines were made during the early years of production. Due to their historical significance and scarcity, L-door machines are prized by collectors today. This one is about as original as you could find. The finish is 100% untouched, as is the hardware. It performs strongly via the 3-spring motor and correct Exhibition soundbox. Even the turntable felt is original! It has the original key. We got this from an estate in Eastern Tennessee, from the grandson of the original owner. It had remained in the same farm house until the late 1970's, when the grandson moved it to his home. It was stored in a bedroom of the farmhouse all its life, so there is none of the usual damage due to moisture or attic heat that we normally find. The only item that was not with the machine was the crank. Somehow, it got separated from the machine, and was eventually found in the basement, sitting in a crate next to a sump pump. It was totally rusted from being in that damp area for over 20 years, so we cleaned it up, ground out the pitting, and replated it in gold. It is the original crack that came with the machine.
Fumed oak is not common, and is often mis-identified by collectors (it has similarities to Victor's "Weathered Oak" or "Antique Oak" finishes), but this one is the real thing. It has a warm, brown appearance, and is smooth to the touch. Fuming is a process where oak is exposed to ammonia for a long period, which then results in a chemical reaction, hardening the surface of the wood and darkening it to a luxurious brown shade. It was considered a "special order" finish; however, it did not add to the cost of the machine when purchased. This is truly a stunning machine, even by our tough standards. Fumed oak tends to fade-out quickly when exposed to heat (except under the lid, where it was protected from the elements), and ends-up looking like a bare oak finish. Not this machine. The rich hue of the fuming process is still present on the cabinet. Hard to fathom that something this old was cared-for so well. Not only does it have an unusual appearance with the finish, it represents an early generation of Victrola products, making it a very historically significant model. Very few of these pre-1911 machines were produced in fumed oak, which adds to the collectibility of this example. The original gold hardware is good, with wear visible on the tonearm and a few other parts. The oak veneer is beautifully figured. There are some very small dings on the side of the cabinet and lid, but these are unlikely to be noticed unless they are pointed out. Absolutely no damage to the hand-carved trim. It would be a crime to do any "touch-up" or refinishing on this phonograph, as it is far too nice. Early XVI models occasionally come across the auction block or are sold on Ebay (the vast majority in mahogany), but it would be quite a challenge to find a nicer original than this one. This would be an exceptional addition to a fine antique collecton or as a great conversation piece in the family room. It is not cheap, but try to find another fumed early XVI that is this nice at any price. For more information on the XVI series, please click here.
As with all our phonographs, the motor, soundbox and all mechanical components have recently been torn down, cleaned and correctly rebuilt. It comes with our 2 year unconditional performance warranty.