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 Post subject: Update on the VE 10-50 or Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 3:04 am 
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Joined: May Thu 21, 2015 4:15 am
Posts: 329
Location: Brookings, SD
Hello All,

I am going to look at a Victrola this weekend. The seller reports that the door is locked and he doesn't have the key. Any advice on what tools I should take to pick the lock? Any advice on technique? Anything would help!

I'm assuming it is some sort of skeleton key type lock.

Thanks,
Russ


Last edited by rmileham on Mar Fri 20, 2020 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 3:51 am 
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Joined: Jul Sun 12, 2015 9:47 pm
Posts: 171
Location: 94502
As long as you're gentle...


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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 3:56 am 
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Joined: May Thu 21, 2015 4:15 am
Posts: 329
Location: Brookings, SD
This made me chuckle... very nice.

OK almost anything would help! :lol:

Russ


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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 4:29 am 
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Joined: Jan Sun 06, 2008 3:28 am
Posts: 4401
Location: Richmond, VA
If you can put it off a few days, there are plenty of keys on EBay. You may also study EBay photos and adapt a generic skeleton key from the hardware store.

The cabinets don’t lock, iirc; the lock secures the top lid on a console.

_________________
Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 3:26 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 21, 2015 4:15 am
Posts: 329
Location: Brookings, SD
Thanks for the reply Ed.

I did look at the offerings on eBay and also looked at The Old Crank's identification chart here: https://oldcrank.com/articles/keys/keys.html. After looking at the chart, I'm not sure it's a skeleton key any more. It looks like they started using a flat key in 1924? The phonograph in question is a VV 10-50 from '27.

Best,
Russ

Edit:

Its a VE 10-50, not VV.


Last edited by rmileham on Jan Tue 28, 2020 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 3:38 pm 
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Joined: Jan Sun 06, 2008 3:28 am
Posts: 4401
Location: Richmond, VA
Wow, the VV 10-50 is quite a different machine from the earlier models I'm familiar with. The model vv 10-50 and its siblings probably all used the same key if you can find one from that era.

Your next best bet would be to see if you can remove the back to access the door latch. If you are lucky, it may be attached with screws.

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Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 6:13 pm 
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Joined: Jun Sun 15, 2014 11:04 pm
Posts: 1370
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
The VE 10-50 is a huge record changer. It usually doesn't have a lock, except if it is a modified one. Badger was one of the companies that modified them by adding coin equipment and a window in the door of the record compartment. A normal Victor key won't fit the badger lock.


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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 6:28 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 21, 2015 4:15 am
Posts: 329
Location: Brookings, SD
Thanks startgroove, that's good information. The phono in question does have a glass window, so it may well be a Badger modification.

How easy is it to get the back panels off these things?

Russ


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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 6:49 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 21, 2015 4:15 am
Posts: 329
Location: Brookings, SD
So the fact that it has been modified raises a question for me. Does this have any effect on the value?

Any opinions on what the going rate for one of these in fair, restore-able condition should be?

Thanks,
Russ


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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 7:44 pm 
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Joined: Jun Sun 15, 2014 11:04 pm
Posts: 1370
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
The back panel is removable, there are two screws to remove and the panel drops out of the top groove. That will allow access to the horn area and the record changer compartment. I don't remember how the lock is attached, but if your are lucky, the screws holding it in place will be exposed.

The value is not diminished if it is a Badger, or similar modification. This modification allows the machine to be coin operated with a remotely located wall box. There should be an accumulator and some additional electric equipment installed in that machine that allows coin operation. All of that increases the value. Without the wall box (which are available occasionally) a pushbutton switch can be located somewhere away from the phonograph. That way, the machine can be remotely activated. For each time the pushbutton is depressed, one record will play. I think the accumulator tallies up to 10 or so credits.

As to value, I am not an expert, yet we paid $500 for ours, and drove six hours each direction to get it. We then paid an additional $650 to replace parts and get it working.

One of the issues you will probably find is some warped or deteriorated pot metal parts, five or six of them, plus two to four gears. All of those parts are available, though quite expensive and they'll need some additional work done by the buyer to make them work. I am fortunate to have a home machine shop, so it was not so hard for me.

We likely would not sell our machine, but for insurance purposes we value it at $1500.

Hopefully this will help. Cheers, Russie


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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 8:49 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 21, 2015 4:15 am
Posts: 329
Location: Brookings, SD
Your reply is very helpful Russie! Thank you so much!

Best,
Russ


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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Jan Tue 28, 2020 10:59 pm 
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Joined: Jul Sun 12, 2015 9:47 pm
Posts: 171
Location: 94502
You should buy the machine, whether you can unlock it or not. Glass front 10-50s are highly desirable and everything else it might need is available or fixable.

The backs come off very easily, but be careful of course. Shine a light through the window first, and see what’s there. Search the web for photos of how they look: cantilever record stack support, tonearm and reproducer, platter, and maybe the “record loader” which looks like a short table leg with a pin poking out of the top.

The special record boxes are housed below and won’t show til you get the door open. Be careful when opening the doors to not pull too hard on the carved molding, as it will break.

The glass window was an aftermarket mod by a few companies, intended for public use. Some had coin operated systems, but others were for hotel and movie theater lobby background music - so they just locked to avoid tampering.

I agree with my friend Russie on the value but would add $500-750 for the glass. Be sure to ask them if they have a coin box, which is a fun addition if so equipped.

Finally, once you acquire it, be super duper careful before operating the little lever (10”, 12”, Victrola) on the control panel. It’s pot metal, and connects to pot metal gears that are likely broken and jammed. Force it, and you’ll break the lever too. Replacement kits are available! We’ll hook you up, but first things first: GO GET IT.


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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Jan Wed 29, 2020 12:49 am 
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Joined: May Thu 21, 2015 4:15 am
Posts: 329
Location: Brookings, SD
Thanks for the info busterdog. I'll report back next week on what I find!

Best,
Russ


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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Feb Mon 03, 2020 2:33 am 
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Joined: May Thu 21, 2015 4:15 am
Posts: 329
Location: Brookings, SD
Well, my weekend didn't go at all as planned. As I was getting in the van to leave Saturday morning, the seller contacted me saying he had some sort of emergency and couldn't meet. I haven't heard from him since. I'm hoping to hear from him soon. :(

Thanks again for the support, I'll report back if I learn more.

Russ


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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Feb Wed 05, 2020 1:36 am 
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Joined: Jul Sun 12, 2015 9:47 pm
Posts: 171
Location: 94502
Don’t give up! Keep after them!


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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Feb Thu 20, 2020 11:45 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 21, 2015 4:15 am
Posts: 329
Location: Brookings, SD
Quick update. I have sent the seller several texts and emails and he won't reply. Now I see the listing is gone. So I don't know if he sold it or if the listing just expired. I'm really heart broken about this.

I don't know what the emergency was. I suppose it's possible that the seller has some health problems... or worse.

Maybe it will still come around, but it's not looking good. :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: Need help breaking into a Victrola
PostPosted: Feb Fri 28, 2020 5:32 pm 
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Joined: Jul Sun 12, 2015 9:47 pm
Posts: 171
Location: 94502
That’s really too bad! Let’s hope that it is in the hands of someone who will not “repurpose” or otherwise destroy it.


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 Post subject: Re: Update on the VE 10-50 or Need help breaking into a Vict
PostPosted: Mar Fri 20, 2020 10:48 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 21, 2015 4:15 am
Posts: 329
Location: Brookings, SD
Well busterdog, our worst fears have been realized. The VE 10-50 just reappeared on craigslist. I have attached a photo of the machine that the seller sent me when it was first posted, and two photos of the machine as it is now listed.

Before:

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After: :evil:

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The seller now claims to be a different guy (with the same name) and that he has only had it for a couple of weeks. Oh, and he said his phone is blowing up and he already has a $700 offer, but he's holding out because one just sold last week for $3,200. :roll:

The older I get the more I hate people. I have to go now, I'm feeling a little sick.

Russ


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 Post subject: Re: Update on the VE 10-50 or Need help breaking into a Vict
PostPosted: Mar Sat 21, 2020 4:38 pm 
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Joined: Jun Sun 15, 2014 11:04 pm
Posts: 1370
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
I don't think those are the same machine. The latter one has no adornment on the horn doors, and the grille cloth is off its support. There are other things that don't match too. Cheers, Russie


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 Post subject: Re: Update on the VE 10-50 or Need help breaking into a Vict
PostPosted: Mar Sun 22, 2020 2:33 am 
Member

Joined: May Thu 21, 2015 4:15 am
Posts: 329
Location: Brookings, SD
I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with you Russie for two reasons:

First, the odds of two VE 10-50s being for sale in Pine River Minnesota are vanishingly small.
Second, look closely at the crack in the glass, which is present in both the before and after pictures.

This is clearly (IMHO) the same machine that has been tore all to heck. :cry:

Best,
Russ


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