From Musical Box Society International January/February 2004
George Glastris, the well-known musical box auctioneer and appraiser, has announced the creation of a new specialty auction company, Edison Gallery. The company will specialize in the sale of mechanical music, scientific and technical instruments and related objects. The auction company will be based in the Boston area and its inaugural auction will be held in late May, 2004. As George recently stated regarding his decision to form Edison Gallery, "I believe it is time this country had an auction company devoted to these very important collecting fields. In all of these areas, musical boxes, scientific instruments, early technology, and the like, are maturing as fast as they did in Europe some years ago. Other collecting fields, such as toys or art glass have a number of specialist auctioneers devoted to them, but there really hasn't been much to choose from for people with an interest in music boxes and other forms of mechanical music. In the last few years good collections generally ended up with a local auctioneer who did not know the difference between a 3-bell box and an overture box."
Glastris, a native of St. Louis, was a mechanical music and scientific instrument specialist at Christie's and Sotheby's in London. While there he handled such well-known collections as those of Cyril De Vere-Greene, Dr. Bob Burnett and Reg Waylett. George was also involved in the cataloging of the Marconi Company archives.
In 1998 George Glastris returned to the United States to establish the Science and Technology Department at Skinner's, the Boston auction company. In the five years that George was at Skinner's he was involved in the sale of many important music boxes and collections. The collections included those of Sidney and Lucille Malitz of Scarsdale, New York, Janet Fead of Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Bob Waughn of Hartford, Connecticut, the stock of English musical box dealer Graham Webb, as well as for a number of objects for public institutions such as the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts and a number of musical boxes for the MBSI to benefit the MBSI Museum Fund.
Highlights at some of these sales while at Skinner's included the then world record price on the sale of an interchangeable musical box by Lecoultre of $68,500, a Bremond Mandoline Organocleide for $30,000, a 24 1/2" cylinder Mermod Freres Sublime Harmonie Piccolo (one of only six known), and a Symphonion Duplex disc musical box in a piano-type case.
According to George the new company’s auctions will be similar to the ones he has previously organized, but with one major exception. George will offer more flexibility as to when, how and where the auctions will be organized and operated. George believes that by specializing in only a narrow range of specific collecting fields his expertise will be more focused and the company will be able to more effectively serve its clientele.
George is a frequent workshop presenter and speaker at MBSI annual meetings and serves on the Publications Committee. George is the author of the book, Collecting Science and Technology published by Miller Guides and is a regular appraiser on the Antiques Road Show, the highly regarded PBS series.
George believes that the formation of Edison Gallery will be a great benefit to collectors, either those just beginning, the more seasoned, or those contemplating downsizing.