Larry Donley could never say no to a rare antique, especially a vintage phonograph or music box. Donley, Wild West Town's founder, organized the Early Talking Machine Club of America, a group of 10 dealers, back in the mid-70s.
"They met monthly at each other's homes," Mike Donley said. "When my dad built Donley's Wild West Town, they met there and laid out their stuff on blankets. About 50 people showed up. It's grown from a being in a tent to our banquet hall. Now it's the world's largest show and sale of its kind."
More than 100 vendors and thousands of collectors from the United States, Canada, Netherlands, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, France, and Italy attend each year. Antiques for sale include: cylinder, disc-horned, and upright phonographs; vintage music boxes and radios; early telephones and telegraph machines; Thomas Edison products; roller organs; and typewriters and books. Prices range from $1, for a 78 rpm record, to $250 for a hand- cranked disc phonograph, to more than $40,000 for rare coin-operated music boxes. The show features a large selection of 78 rpm and cylinder records from the 1890s to 1950s. It also includes hard-to-find repair parts for machines from vendors who know how to fix them.
Schedule: Friday, June 10, 8am - 4pm, Special Preview - $40 Admission; Saturday, June 11, 10am -5pm, Sunday, June 12, 10am - 2pm General Admission $9 (Good for both days). Location: Donley's Wild West Town Banquet Hall, 8512 S. Union Rd. Details: 815-923-9000 or www.wildwesttown.com, click on "Promotions & Upcoming Events" (Article submitted by Donley’s Wild West Town).