Discover Vintage America - JANUARY 2020
Combination stereo/bar/'fireplace' is straight out of the 1970s
Q: Greetings Michelle, the time has finally arrived for me to get rid of one of my favorite items, the mid-century fireplace, bar with stereo. Years ago, you told me all about this weirdly wonderful item, but I don't remember what you told me. If you could please refresh my memory and give me a selling price, I would appreciate it.
We purchased this at an estate sale in the 1990s from a home on Ward Parkway in Kansas City, MO. It measures 50" wide by 45" tall by 19.25" deep. It is pretty heavy too.
A: I know that it is hard for you to part with this functional piece of kitsch. That is the downfall of our business, sometimes you have to cull the collections. I know that you will find a good home for it.
This is a wonderful, fully functional entertainment center of 1970s goodness. You have the faux fireplace which doesn't give off heat but is lit from behind with a red lightbulb. Open the drop-down door on the left to a lazy Susan bar with a mirrored back. There is room to store a few liquor bottles and spin the turntable around to all of your graphic glassware. The drop-down door on the right reveals a turntable on a slide-out shelf and receiver with an eight-track player. The speakers are neatly hidden behind the velveteen panels near the bottom.
The sound is flawless coming from the stereo but sadly we did not have an eight-track tape on hand to try it. I failed to count the number of glasses, there is an ice bucket, cordial glasses and several others with a great design on them. The tray is also included, I don't know if this was part of the original set, but it fits in nicely. Everything is pristine with the exception of a piece of plastic that softens the light bulb on the side of the bar. The broken piece is still present it just needs to be glued in place.
The stereo is marked Phono-Sonic. I did find a patent for this entertainment center in November 1972 by the Phono-Sonic Radio Corporation. According to the records I found it looks like the company dissolved in the late 1970s. They made a console TV/stereo system and several styles of stereos. Rumor has it that this was made in East Germany, yet I could not find any evidence supporting this claim.
Based on the beautiful condition of this vintage faux fireplace, bar, stereo system including the glassware I put a resale value of $1,200 on it. You don't see many of these on the market in excellent condition and fully functional, not sure about the eight-track, plus all the glassware. What a great find!
Michelle Staley is a Lenexa, KS-based dealer and researcher with 35 years of experience in the antique trade. Send questions with photos to Michelle to email@example.com. Please keep queries to one question; questions without photos of the item may not be answered. Michelle is also available for consulting and extensive research work beyond this column. If you would like an appraisal on an antique or collectible please go to www.michellesantiqueappraisals.com for a one-on-one appraisal.
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