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Friday, Feb. 3, 2006

Rare instruments put up for auction

Music-box collectors will have a chance to get their hands on rare items when a total of 140 antique mechanical musical instruments, which have been displayed at Orugoru no Chiisana Museum in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, are auctioned off. The museum closes its doors March 31.

Displaying about 50 antique products in rotation, the Orugoru no Chiisana Museum opened in 1998 (at the Hakone Garden Museum in Yumoto) as an annex to its sister museum, the Museum of Mechanical Musical Instruments in Tokyo.

Music boxes were invented at the end of the 18th century. A huge variety were developed over the next 150 years, ranging from simple mechanical musical instruments, such as those featured in clocks, to more elaborate styles, like those combined with phonographs.

The items slated for auction include street organs and organettes, automatons, radios and phonographs, with prices ranging from 20,000 yen to 8.7 million yen reserve. Anyone can participate in the auction by submitting an order form (the deadline is 6 p.m., March 25).

A catalog detailing the items up for auction is available for 1,300 yen. Visitors with the catalog can gain admission to the Museum of Mechanical Musical Instruments, 3-25-14 Mejirodai, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo. The museum is a 3-min. walk from Gokokuji Station on the Yurakucho subway line. It opens from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closed Sundays and Mondays).

The Orugoru no Chiisana Museum, 740 Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigara-Shinogun, Kanagawa Prefecture, is about a 5-min walk from Hakone Yumoto Station on the Odakyu Line. It will be open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until March 31. Admission is 900 yen for adults and 500 yen for children.

For further information, call (03) 3941-0008 or visit musemuse.jp

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