The Collector’s Minute: Barzilay Stereo Cases & Cabinets
Barzilay furniture, made from kits in the 1960s through the 1980s, are usually found in classified ads, not auction houses.
“Barzilay” is not a name you hear much of any more, but back in the
1960s to 1970s, it was one well known to audiophiles designing their
own stereo sound systems.
Barzilay produced stereo equipment case
kits, speaker cases and wall units in kit form, much like the now familiar Ikea
company furniture today. The Barzilay cases and cabinets could be
fitted with a multitude of different components, such as amplifiers,
turntables and tape recorders.
The kits were well made, some faced
with exotic veneers such as highly figured rosewood.
Ira S. Barzilay, whose original claim to
fame was as a child actor, founded the company. He was a child prodigy, featured as the piano-playing member of the “Our Gang” and “Little Rascals” comedy series, and he
also starred in the 1933 Shirley Temple film “Dora’s Dunking Doughnuts.”
His business was founded just after the Second World War, remaining in operation
until about 1986. The majority of the pieces one runs into today date from
the 1960s through 1970s.
Some sources quote former employees as saying the reason the business closed was not for lack of demand but because
Barzilay was looking to retire. New pollution laws a the time, which increased the cost of running a cabinet business, were also reported to be a growing concern.
Today, values for Barzilay furniture is still a bargain compared to similar Danish
Modern pieces and have just started to appreciate in value. At this
point, most of it tends to sell through classified ads rather than through dealers or auctions.
Currently, the larger wall cabinets by Barzilay are listing for more than $2,000,
but smaller cabinets often list for less than $450.
Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.
WorthPoint—Discover Your Hidden Wealth