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 1059: Overture, c. 1860


Antique Overture Cylinder Music Box, c. 1860


A fine quality 6 air Overture music box, made in Geneva in c. 1860 by one of the principal manufacturers of the time (possibly Ducommun Girod). It is numbered 12058 on the bedplate and plays 6 overtures: Balfe’s Bohemian Girl; Donizetti’s Don Pasquale; Othello, L’Italienne a Alger & Tancrede by Rossini; and Auber’s Cheval du Bronze. Both movement and inlaid rosewood case have been fully overhauled, and the sound is particularly nice. The cylinder is 33.5cm / 13 ¼” long, 8cm / 3 1/8” diameter.

The brass tunesheet shows that this was retailed by Sigismond Mercier of Place du Rhone, Geneva, “watchmaker and jeweller to her majesty the Queen of England and other crowned heads”. Given the enamel initials surrounding the veneered inlay to the lid, along with the seldom-seen mention of this retailer, it is likely this was a custom commission from one of M. Mercier’s illustrious clients – perhaps a crowned head, perhaps not…

All told, this is a very nice overture box with an unusual selection of tunes, a curious history, and an excellent sound.

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