On The Square

Silver Birds A-Singing!

By Brett Morris

Jun 20,2017 | 13:00 EDT

Bidders can take a musical trip down memory lane on Saturday, July 1 when Antique Place holds their Great Independence Week auction. The sale contains over 340 lots that include art glass, porcelain, Asian art, sculpture and more, with an overriding feel here of nostalgia for a time long past, when things were simpler, plastic didnt exist, and peoples idea of technological advancement was a well paved road.

Nothing holds truer to this notion than the five silver singing-bird boxes being sold here back-to-back. With their quaint mechanism and detailed old-world finish, they possess an innocence and charm that is almost mesmerizing, especially when placed beside the assorted Apple products that litter a 21st Century bedroom.

Of the five lots on offer, Lot 41a silver mechanical double singing bird box, is considered the pick, and the one most likely to realize the highest price. This stunning piece, a brilliant addition to any bedroom, parlour or living room, has a knob on its side that when pulled lifts both lids, where two small birds emerge to sing.

Lot 39 is a beautifully crafted piece - a silver bird box automaton with a large swan on the bottom stand. The kids will swoon when you pull the slide bar that raises the top cover, allowing a small bird to rise and flap its wings, where it tweets a short song before retreating. Lets see an Xbox do that!

The combination that is Lot 40a silver mechanical singing bird box crafted in the form of a piano, is certain to please a host of hungry bidders. Lift the back of the piano and youll find a compartment for the key. The front also lifts to expose the piano keys. The bird sings. Children smile. Everyone is happy.

The boxes have their origins in the Swiss city of Geneva, where their invention was attributed in 1784 to Pierre Jaquet-Droz. Lot 38 - a mechanical sterling silver singing bird box automaton, holds true to the original concept, and has a small pocket watch hanging from its top.

The French term tabatière has also come to be used for any small decorative box resembling a snuffbox in form that is no longer used to contain snuff. A great example of this is Lot 37 - a beautiful mechanical singing bird box finished in sterling silver - the perfect gift for anyone with an appreciation for the finer things...

Antique Places Great Independence Week auction is set down for Saturday, July 1 and contains over 340 expertly curated lots coverong a host of interesting categories. Look now at the full catalog.