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Early pocket calculator may add up to $56K

It's going to be a technical, mechanical and even a slightly odd event during Breker Auctions' May 30 sale, which is headlined by an early calculator.

COLOGNE, Germany – Auction Team Breker’s sale of technical firsts, mechanical milestones and curiosities on May 30 will feature one of the first pocket calculators: an astrolabe-shaped adding machine built by renowned French horologist, Pierre Fardoil, in around 1700 (estimate $33,644-$56,073).

Pierre Fardoil adding machine

This Pierre Fardoil circa 1700 adding machine carries a high presale estimate of $56,073. (Photo courtesy Auction Team Breker)

Live Internet bidding is available via

Another instrument in fine original condition is the Symphonion “Eroica” triple-disc musical hall clock ($28,511-$45,617), produced in Leipzig in 1895 and cared for by three generations of the same famous Hamburg family for more than 80 years.

As the 19th century drew to a close, the demand for recorded sound increased. The German U.S. emigrant Emile Berliner first patented his design for a hand-cranked gramophone in 1887 but met with little success in America. Returning to Germany, his invention was put into production by toymaker Kämmer & Reinhardt. Breker’s auction includes an example of the first commercial German gramophones ($11,404-$17,106).

Nineteenth century audio-visual entertainment is represented with a selection of musical French automata, many from a long-standing private collection. Taking center stage are rare models such as the fantastical “Clown sur Pleine Lune” by Roullet et Decamps ($20,528-$28,511).

For more auction details contact Auction Team Breker at 011-02236-38 43 40 or, or visit

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