SOURCE: Donley's Wild West Town

Donley's Wild West Town

June 03, 2009 20:30 ET

Celebrate Yesteryear at the World's Oldest and Largest Antique Phonograph and Music Box Show Hosted by Donley's Wild West Town

UNION, IL--(Marketwire - June 3, 2009) - It is a small world after all. For the past 34 years, antique collectors have flocked far and wide to a small Chicago suburb to celebrate the days of yesteryear at the world's oldest and largest Antique Phonograph and Music Box Show and Sale hosted by Donley's Wild West Town.

The expo, initially called "The Early Talking Machine Show of America," was a mere accident. According to Mike Donley, owner of Donley's Wild West Town, friends and neighbors of his father set up a swap meet. Each year it grew due to word of mouth. Now, each year in mid-June, dealers from coast to coast and Canada, Germany, France, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, converge on the quiet and quaint town of Union, Illinois.

Anyone interested in early inventions, technology, history, music or recordings will be in awe of the array of items, especially the quality pieces on display and for sale.

According to Mike Donley, "This is a rare opportunity for people to be up close, touch, and hear (these early inventions) unlike at museums."

He added, "However, there is etiquette. Ask dealers first before touching." He said that many will allow for curious onlookers to do so, but others may not. "These are stored. Back in the day these were made for the wealthy and commoners, as people were classified in that time period. A lot of phonographs were sold for $5 or $10 back then but others sold new for $300-$400, when they could buy a car for $200, such as a Model T for example."

Victor, Victrola, Electrola and Orthophonic are the brand names for phonographs made by the Victor Talking Machine of Camden, New Jersey, from 1901 through 1929.

Each year Mike Donley and his brother Randy Donley are in awe of the quality and quantity of items that are showcased. Inevitably, people come in and see one of their family heirlooms on display -- and see the value of the piece.

Donley provides this advice for would-be sellers, "If the item is too big, bring in a photo. Talk to several dealers at the show before accepting a selling price." He says that many times people bring in a phonograph machine they thought couldn't be repaired and in a matter of minutes they take it home to enjoy.

If there are questions, the Donley brothers or a vendor may be able to assist.

               Antique Appraisals, Repairs, Show, and Sale
       You may bring early invention and technology items, such as,
                           but not limited to:

       Cylinder and disc horned and upright phonographs/Victrolas
                           Antique music boxes
                              Vintage radios
                          Rare 78 R.P.M. albums
                             Cylinder record
             Early coin-operated phonographs and music boxes
                          Early year telephones
                            Telegraph machines
                              Wind-up dolls
                          Early lighting devices
                              Edison products
                              Antique cameras
                   Early invention and technology items

Onlookers can view vintage technology up close. The show and sale is open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 13, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 14. General admission is $8 per person, good for Saturday and Sunday admission. A coupon is available on

Collectors and the public may attend Preview Day, when the dealers set-up, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, June 12, with an admission of $40 per person, which is good for all three days.

Or, families may bring their children to the Wild West Town, a yesteryear theme park, and the show for $15.

The Antique Phonograph and Music Box Show and Sale will be held at Donley's Wild West Town, Route 20 & South Union Road in Union, Illinois.