Toscano Crap-O-Phono
An Example of PhonoPhorgies

Purple Line

Pictured below is an image and ad copy for a fake. These acoustic phonos have been making the rounds over the last ten years, and for the most part, are re-worked 1950s vintage portable "suitcase" acoustic phonos made to look like vintage machines. They have been popping up in antique fairs and some dealer shows. Experienced collectors can spot them right off for their obvious inaccuracies.

I was shocked and amazed to find the following ad in the prestigeous "Toscano Design" catalog. These folks are know for their great selection of garden gargoyles, Scottish sword reproductions and exotic repro-retro home office goodies. My guess is that their "buyer" scored these and thought this would make a great addition to their wares. At least they do acknowledge the fact that they are "refurbished," but referring to them as "Authentic Antiques" is a stretch at least.

For more information on how to spot a Crap-O-Phone, Click Here.

Purple Line

Authentic Refurbished Gramophone
Limited Quantity of 85!

Recovered in England and the British Colonies, these relics date from the 1920s to 1940s. Each nostalgic piece has been refurbished by hand, with some parts restored and others recast; the brass horn is new, most of the mechanical and casework is original, and the case has been hand polished. Each has a side crank, felt turntable, and chrome arm. Splended one-of-a-kind accents for any room, our gramophones each arrive with a supply of needles and one 78rpm record. Though functional, we recommend these gramophones for decorative use only in order to protect the integrity or your antique. 13"W x 13"D x 28"H

Item No: ST-1000
Price: US $435.00 (US $18.95 S & H)

Design Toscano, Inc.
17 East Campbell Street
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
In fairness to Design Toscano, I did make them aware of the "Crap-O-Phone" phenomenon, and they sent me the following:

Subject: Design Toscano
   Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 11:19:43 -0600

Dear Mr. Frederick: 

Thank you for giving us more information regarding the gramophone.
We have since investigated our suppliers.  We found, to our amaze-
ment, that all of the information you have supplied us with is
correct.  We will be changing the text in our catalog to reflect
that the item is a replica, not the original piece.  I have also
contacted our supplier so that he may also be informed that this
is not an original piece.  As I look through other catalogs in my
industry, many of my competitors are also being given incorrect
information.  What I plan to do is drop the price of the item, and
change the copy to reflect what the product actually is.  Again,
thank you for the information.  If you have any other feedback,
please feel free to write. 


Mike Stopka
Design Toscano
Purple Line

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