by Jasmin Grecea on Mon, February 18, 2013 at 6:52 AM
Earlier this week, I had the privilege of interviewing an amazing person and a passionate collector of music boxes. Jochen Schäfer from Germany has worked his magic and collected over 158 music boxes.
Jochen has been collecting antique music boxes for over 40 years. Music has played a significant role in Jochen’s life, who has been blind since birth. He received his first antique music box, called a disc box, in 1976 at the age of 4 which sparked an innate fascination with music boxes and motivated him to begin collecting them. He finds music boxes at auctions for mechanical musical instruments in Southwest Germany. Jochen has more modern music boxes compared to his 15 antique music boxes which are his favorite due to the amazing sound they play. His most valuable collectible is the large disc music box called “Kalliope” which has ten bells. The rarest music boxes are even larger than this without any bells. This collector is still in search of a coin-operated disc box or a cylinder music box with additional mandolin or zither effect at a decent price. The most recent item Jochen added to his collection is a polyphon disc music box with a 9” disc diameter.
Not only does Jochen collect music boxes, but he also has a passion for collecting number stations on shortwave (espionage stations consisting in groups of numbers; mostly 5 digits). In Germany, Jochen is known as the "Kopf" (head) of the German speaking numbers hobby branch, with over 1000 cassettes, full with numbers stations. While these number stations are impossible for listeners to crack, they are introduced by amazing musical interval signals and tones. In the Cold War era, numbers stations were abundant however they do still exist on the air on shortwave since the numbers system on the radio waves is safer than the Internet. This allows you to determine who is sending, but not who is receiving the numbers stations.
We even learned a fun fact about the home state of Are YOU Jelly? In Rahway, New Jersey there were music boxes produced between 1890 and 1922 made by Regina Music Box Company.
Let us know if you share the same passion about music boxes and number stations.
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