Thursday, September 01, 2011

Very rare speaking Gypsy fortune teller machine

Extremely rare speaking Gypsy fortune teller machine

Charles Bovey spent years purchasing the buildings that made up the ghost towns of Virginia City and Nevada City, Montana. He then packed the buildings full of his massive collection of antique games, music machines, and coin-operated amusements.

Curators from the Montana Heritage Commission are still discovering exactly what is in the 250 or so buildings they acquired in 1998. Among the finds was this 100-year-old fortune teller machine.

Made sometime around 1906 by the Mills Novelty Company, this oracle does not deliver your fortune by simply dispensing a card with some pre-printed text on it. Rather, the Gypsy would actually speak your fortune, or to be more exact, a hidden record player would. For the price of a nickle, her eyes would flash, her mouth would move, and you would hear your fortune in a human voice. It must have been quite thrilling in 1906.

Yet, you can buy a modern talking Zoltar fortune telling machine of your own any day of the week, so this find is really no big deal right? Wrong. This is one of two or three verbal fortune tellers of this type left in the world. It might be the only one left. It may also be worth as much as $10 million dollars!

Here's an article with a photo gallery of this extremely rare 100-year-old fortune teller machine.

[ Thanks Lu! ]

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Anonymous Les said...

I haven't been out to Virginia City/Nevada City in a few years, but if you're in the area, you have to check out the Nevada City Music Hall. One of the machines is about the size of a living room. And the "obnoxious horn" organ is deafening! Not all of the machines were working when I was there last, but when I was a kid, it seemed that they had a lot more old functioning stereoscopic kinetoscopes, fortune machines and arcade games.

I found a video featuring a walkthrough of the music hall, starting around the 5:20 mark --

September 1, 2011 at 8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, there is another "verbal" fortune teller...It is displayed in the tibidabo amusement park (barcelona, spain)
see video here:

and photo here:

Unfortunately, it is no longer verbal. The original cabinet, including phones and phonograph, has been removed.

March 13, 2012 at 4:05 AM  

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