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Antiques PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Private Collection of Pre War Televisions for Auction

Michael Bennett-Levy’s collection of Early Technology will go under the hammer at Bonhams Knightsbridge salesroom on 30 September.

The 24 televisions make up what is thought to be the biggest private collection of pre-war televisions in The World along with other examples of what Mr. Bennett-Levy describes as Early Technology. “Virtually everything one would define it as: mechanical music, early typewriters, microscopes, telescopes, magic lanterns, irons, diesel engines… it is almost limitless.”

murphy-tvAuthor of two books on early television and with a family connection to the pioneering days of John Logie Baird, Michael Bennett-Levy is a veritable encyclopaedia on the subject. “These are less common than Stradivarius violins. There’s around 600 Stradivarius and about 500 pre-war televisions, and more than 20 of them are here.”

The television’s themselves are odd relics of the embryonic development of what must surely be one of the most iconic technological achievements of the 20th Century. With a variety of eccentric features, incorporating gramophones, radio sets and always the tiniest screens, the televisions will almost certainly garner international interest.

Pick of the crop has to be a massive 1937 Logie Baird set that incorporates a 15in screen facing skyward to reflect off a mirror in the fold up lid. It comes with a radio, record player and even a champagne stocked drinks cabinet.

A health scare followed by a decision to pursue the good life in France convinced Mr Bennett-Levy, 62, to liquidate his stock, and clear out the curiosity packed converted tower near Edinburgh he calls home.

Michael Bennett-Levy began collecting early technology after taking over a record stall at an antiques market in St Stephen Street in the early 1970s.

He had arrived in Edinburgh from London to study science and then economics, but the technology of early television was already in his blood. His grandfather was Dr Leonard Levy, whose research into phosphors helped Britain lead the world in television, radar and x-ray technology in the early 20th century.