Featured Item: Cinematone Penny Phono

The featured item from Coinopwarehouse inventory today is the Cinematone Penny Phono.

Penny Phono 1939/1940


Last night, Lloyd and I were at Coal Fire in Gaithersburg, sitting at the bar for dinner and drinks as we often do on a Tuesday night. It’s our mini-date night! Lloyd usually tries to leave his phone at home when we are having dinner out, but he brought it along this time because he was waiting for a call from an auctioneer. He warned me that when the call came, he would need to take it. He wanted to bid over the phone on an auction for this Penny Phono. I have rarely seen him so distracted, picking up his phone and putting it back down! 
Finally the call came and he got up and walked outside to do his bidding. Success! Above is a photo of the item he won. Why was he excited? Well, here is the story of the Penny Phono:
The Penny Phono is the only jukebox ever made that ran on a penny. It only had one record in it and that record had 10 or 12 tunes on it. The records are rare and may bring $100.00 or more when sold today. In the day, the operator who ran a Penny Phono would go in to the location once a week or month and change the record. All he had to do was change one strip of paper in the front that had all the song titles on it, so it was simple to operate. They are very rare machines. They made two versions of the Cinematone. One was a  small counter model that slid into a stand, and the other was one piece. They looked very similar to each other. It is considered one of the most art deco jukeboxes and is popular with serious collectors.There is a second model that was advertised for 1941, that there was a brochure for, but no one knows if it was ever manufactured.
Below is an image of the brochure for this other model
To see more photos of Cinematone Penny Phonos, go to this website: http://www.jukebox-world.de/Forum/Archiv/USA/PennyPhono.htm
When you look at the photos on that site, you will see that some of the photos were contributed by Coinopwarehouse. If you look at the photos of the penny phonos in the room with the blue walls, those were taken of a machine we bought years ago and those photos were taken in my living room!
I am sure that we won’t own this Penny Phono for long, but at least right now, it is still for sale, unrestored.

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