Why EM Ginn’s Expert sounded perfect at £8500

Expert 'All Range' gramophone c.1935 – £8500 at Cotswold Auction Company.

The sale of a remarkable gramophone collection two years ago at the Cotswold Auction Company (20% buyer’s premium), in which an EMG gramophone took £6500, prompted the consignment of another large collection to the June 4 sale at the Cheltenham rooms.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Terence Ryle

Expert ‘All Range’ gramophone c.1935 – £8500 at Cotswold Auction Company.

Again, the outstanding result among the 28 lots was for a gramophone by Ellis Michael Ginn (1899-1959), whose hand-built machines provided the finest sound reproduction of their day.

‘Their day’ might appear to be pre-First World War judging by the illustration, above, of the electric Expert table-top gramophone with its 3ft wide (91cm) black composition horn. In fact, Ginn deemed the horn an essential part of the search for perfect audio quality well into the 1930s and the era of the new electrically recorded 78s.

Ginn’s machines were expensive, standing out from the tens of thousands of mass-produced pre-war gramophones which were affordable to many and today can be bought for £30-50.

Financial problems in 1929 led Ginn to lose control of the EMG operation, based in Shaftesbury Avenue, central London, but he moved deeper into Soho to set up the Expert line in Frith Street in 1933.

This example c.1935 had been expertly restored and was evidently a rarity – one that triggered considerable interest among a small but dedicated collecting base as soon as the catalogue went online.

The UK collector who bought it at a multi-estimate £8500 said it was an Expert All Range model and he knew of only one other in the UK. However, he believes there may be more in Japan where there is a great deal of interest in the Expert gramophones.