The Kiss family has been busy restoring and cataloguing their grandfather’s prized gramophone and audio collection for auction in Texas.
Some of the items date back to the 1890s. Jeff Kiss and daughter Kennedy say they’ve decided it’s time for others to appreciate this slice of musical history.
“It goes back a long time. My grandfather was one of the first gramophone record collectors and restorers in Alberta,” said Jeff Kiss.
The incredible collection includes dozens of century-old gramophones, hundreds of vinyl records and audio cylinders that have been in the Kiss family for more than 60 years.
Jeff’s grandfather Coleman would spend his spare time scouring garage sales and flea markets all over North America looking for old gramophones to salvage, and also rare audio recordings.
“In his travels he had a very good eye for discovering which recordings were special and which ones were worth saving,” said Jeff.
The recordings from the latter part of the 19th century include fragile Edison cylinder recordings as well as political speeches, opera, nursery rhymes and comedy sketches.
“These are very historic because they had low production and did not survive well, so with new technology they became outdated and disposed of,” said Jeff.
Jeff’s daughter Kennedy developed a passion for her grandfather’s collection.
“It’s very interesting and special to me because he died when I was really young so we never had a relationship,” said Kennedy.
She’s spent hours researching and archiving the recordings along with her sister Brooklyn.
“I’m learning about my grandpa and our family history through what he liked to collect,” Kennedy said.
As the Kiss family prepares to put the collection up for auction it will be bitter sweet to say goodbye, but they also say it will be rewarding knowing someone else will enjoy the music and history their grandpa cared so much about.
“I’m learning now it’s not about the stuff; it’s more about the time you spend learning about it and why it’s important. So even though the pieces will be gone I still have pictures and memories of learning about it,” said Kennedy.
As for what grandpa would think about seeing his collection being passed on to another owner?
“I think he’d be very thrilled to see this all come together as a documented collection,” Jeff smiled.