Get our newsletters

Record players are having a moment


The portable record player has reached middle age. That’s right, portable record players have reached 50 years old and that means a collecting revival is on the horizon.

The 1960s and 1970s marks the golden age of portable record players and turntables with built-in speakers.

The RCA record players were mid-century modern record players that have retained interest with today’s collectors. Teenagers would bring their box record player/stereos and handy vinyl record carrying cases to a friend’s house and listen to music after school until dinner time.

Manufacturers that made turntables with stereo playback Hi-Fi sound sparked consumers’ interest and encouraged shoppers to buy turntables for the home.

The Hi-Fi sound made them a mainstay in America’s living rooms and dens.

In the late 1800s, Regina tune sheet music boxes, Edison phonographs and Victor Victrolas represented some of the early versions of record players. The Regina music boxes were made in Rahway, N.J., and housed in a mahogany, oak, or cherry wood box. These music players used a comb mechanism to play metal tune sheets of 15 inches in diameter of various songs of the day. They were portable and are often available at auctions and online.

In the early 1900s, the famous and highly recognizable Victor Victrola played music from a free-standing cabinet of solid hardwood. This piece of furniture hosted the turntable on top beneath a domed lid, speakers that were revealed by opening two-panel doors, and a storage area at the bottom that was the home to records. One point of interest is that Victrolas are of interest with collectors as long as they are in working condition.

Today, certain antique or vintage record players command thousands of dollars with collectors.

There has been an increase in the value of vintage record players and stereo cabinets housing both radio receivers, speakers and turntables since circa 2015.

During my video call appraisal sessions, clients show me turntables to gain appraised value on the market and most are pleasantly surprised with the retail value on the market for such pieces.

Digital music downloads have changed the way we listen to our favorite songs. Fortunately, convenience has not outpaced vintage style. Many of today’s collectors are adding to their contemporary music libraries with old school vinyl complete with artful album covers and vintage record players.

Dr. Lori Verderame is an award-winning media personality and Ph.D. Antiques Appraiser. Dr. Lori appears on Netflix’s King of Collectibles and History channel’s Pawn Stars do America and The Curse of Oak Island. Her stage show, Dr. Lori’s Antiques Appraisal Comedy Tour, is presented nationwide to live audiences.

Visit or watch videos at for treasure hunting, vintage shopping, and appraisal tips.

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.