Vintage is a word with a couple of different connotations in the modern age. For some it might mean chic and stylish, while certain cynics might simple view it as a euphemism for ‘cheap’. The latter certainly isn’t a term you’d ever apply to any vintage jukebox worth its salt, and here at the Games Room Company we make sure to stock nothing less than the very best. Provenance and longevity are two qualities that vintage jukeboxes possess in spades – and that’s only some of the reasons they’re so valuable to collectors. In this week’s blog, we’re also looking at some others! So let’s get down to it then – why should you buy a vintage jukebox?
Their Cultural And Historical Significance
Admittedly this is one of the most obvious examples, but that’s exactly the reason we should start with it! Though the designs of a vintage jukebox can be mimicked down to the very last detail, no imitation can reproduce its authenticity and historical value. A vintage jukebox is a snapshot of history, a physical embodiment of a bygone age, and that alone is enough to make it a must-have for enthusiasts and aficionados alike. But here’s the interesting thing – not only are they products of their time, but many even helped shape their contemporary cultures. Take the aesthetics of an AMI Continental, for example, which shares characteristics with a lot of automobiles of the age; the contours, the metallic colour and the chrome finish that’s reminiscent of a vintage Cadillac. Very few brand-new jukebox designs can replicate that level of cultural value.
The AMI Continental 2 as seen on the movie 'Ghost'
Their ‘Vinyl To Valve’ Sound
Often overlooked by newcomers to the jukebox world, vintage jukeboxes are blessed with a distinctive sound that’s not quite as crisp as the type produced by modern hi-fi equipment. Instead it’s bassier, with a soft, warm quality. In fact, it’s actually so distinctive that some modern jukeboxes being produced today are being specifically engineered to reproduce this vinyl to valve sound.
“When you record something on vinyl, you’re not recording it in a binary format, as you are on a CD.” explained our CEO, Alexander Waldersmith, “Data on CDs is basically stored as a sequence of ones and zeroes. Analogue on the other hand is a continuous recording, which makes it a much more earthy, much truer sound. Much more like a live performance, essentially!”
The AMI I 200 in Spearmint green still very popular today!
Their Individual Provenance
One of the most fascinating and arguably unique aspects of the jukebox industry is that almost every single jukebox is sold on its story. For brand new jukeboxes, that’s often the story of its manufacturer, and the reputation they’ve built from it (just ask Rock-Ola). But that’s where vintage jukeboxes once again come into their own – each vintage jukebox has been long enough to develop its own individual history. It will have been handed down through generations, through families, and maybe even undergone a restoration or two. That’s why even those that are showing visible signs of age – a scratch here, a bump there – are still eternally valuable. And there’s nothing to say that a jukebox’s story stops with you. By buying a vintage jukebox, you’re not just owning a piece of history; you’re becoming part of it. A brand new jukebox just can’t match that!
Alexander sees this is as much the same reason why vinyl as a format is seeing a concurrent resurgence: “There’s a less personal feel to buying music these days. Most people buy it online, so it’s all floating around in cyberspace. I think there’s a lot to be said for owning a physical piece of memorabilia as you can with vinyl, and being able to hold it in your hands. A lot of our customers agree – that’s part of why vinyl jukeboxes are doing such a roaring trade recently!”
Here at the Games Room Company, we pride ourselves on being specialists in the rare and whimsical. You can browse online for vintage jukeboxes right here on our website, or take a stroll down to our Weybridge site, to see what’s currently gracing the floor of our showroom. We’re always pleased to see you! Don’t forget, if you’ve got any questions or you’d like to make an enquiry, you can reach us on 01932 282 123.