Real or replica

How to avoid wasting money on a fake gramophone

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With depressing frequency people contact me to say that they have bought an HMV horn gramophone at an auction or antique market but when they got it home, it didn’t work. I always ask them “Has it got a shiny brass horn?” and when they say “Yes”, my heart sinks because ninety-nine times out of a hundred, what they have got is a fake antique.

There are several names for these: ‘Bombay Special’ was a common term in the 1980s, since they are generally made in India or Pakistan. The Americans prefer “Crap-ophone”, which is almost as unacceptable these days! More politely, they are called, ‘Repro-gramophones’ or ‘Replica-gramophones’.  I prefer to call them ‘Grotophones’ and this is a beginners guide as to how to avoid getting caught out and wasting your money on a dodgy antique.

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