Antique & Vintage Microphones
Antique & Vintage Microphones are microphones popular with specialist collectors due to their age and rarity.
History & Description
A microphone is an electric sensor or transducer, which translates acoustic sound into an electrical signal.
In the past, microphones have been used in a variety of applications, including hearing aids, radio and television broadcasting, music concerts, tape recorders, megaphones and telephones.
In 1877, both Emile Berliner and Thomas Alva Edison filed patent applications for the microphone. However, the Berliner patent was ruled invalid and after a long legal battle the Edison patent emerged as the standard design.
Guide for collectors
Antique and vintage microphones are relatively uncommon at auction houses; however, prices tend to range between $100 and $200. On May 17th 2007 at Showplace Antique & Design Centre in New York, a set of three Astatic Corporation microphones on stands, circa 1930, realised a price of $500.
While not antique in the true meaning, undoubtedly the most valuable and desirable microphones to collectors are those that were once owned or used by famous musicians or disc jockeys. In the past, microphones used by Kurt Cobain, The Beatles, David Bowie and Elvis Presley have sold for thousands of dollars.
Notable auction sales
On June 29th 2011, an AKG D 1000C microphone used by David Bowie for the Ziggy Stardust concerts in 1972, was sold through Bonhams in Knightsbridge, for a realised price of £1,680.
On May 24th 2006, a microphone signed by Roger Daltrey of The Who, was sold through Bonhams in Knightsbridge, for £384.
On June 24th 2010 at Christie’s in London, a signed microphone reported to have been used by Elvis Presley in recording sessions, circa 1970, realised a price of £2,250.
On June 23rd 2009 at Christie’s in New York, a SM58 microphone used by Kurt Cobain during Nirvana’s last ever recording session in January 1994 realised a price of $8,125.
On October 3rd 2002 at Christie’s in London, a Relosound Ltd. ribbon microphone used by The Beatles in the Cavern Club in the 1960s realised a price of £2,585.