back home


Dark black, fragile, shiny, labels like paintings, turning at 78 revolutions per minute, music recorded in one take. Fragments of time stored on fragile shellac. One thoughtless action and a piece of history is gone for ever...


Therefore the samples that come my way are cared for affectionately in...



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My mother in the livingroom of her parents' home, Amsterdam in the forties

The first record
It is the first half of the fifties and my parents have recently welcomed their first child, my only sister. These are still the years of reconstruction after World War II and money is still scarce. All the more of a sensation then, when the first magnificent record player makes its entrance into the Amsterdam apartment. An enormous piece of furniture with a modern glass window and at back a mirror in order to create a sense of space. This purchase makes quite an impact on the family budget and there is just enough cash left for one record, I'll string along with you, sung by Doris Day and Buddy Clark. My mother still remembers what she paid: one guilder and sixty cents! ($ 0,90)

My father in the R.A.F. in England, late forties

More and more records...
It occurs to my father that he had a reasonable record collection during his service in the Royal Air Force in England in the forties. When he left the services as a bachelor, the records stayed at his parents' home in Tilburg in the south of Holland. He now decides to go and collect them which, however, is regarded as an unfriendly act by his younger brothers.

Photo of me in front of the notorious grammophone - Spring 1959

And this was the beginning of the present collection! I was born in 1958 and the record player is still in the living room as a pontifical piece of furniture. In my memories this magic instrument gave me a feeling which I never again did encounter with any other technical instrument. Around my year of birth the production of 78rpm records ended. 45rpm's were introduced and the 33rpm's had already been on the market a number of years under the name "microgroove". My parents' record collection increased in quantity during the fifties and was in my young years quite often on the turntable of the record player, which in the meantime had changed into a plastic Philips model. One sunday afternoon my father was busy sorting out his collection, while pleasant sounds filled the house. Here and there were small piles of records, breakable records, and little Jan stepped by accident on a large pile of them. My present collection could have been larger...

A beautiful dutch label (my own collection)

Starting to collect!
When I was 15 the old magic got under my skin. I loved pop at that time (I still do) but the fact is that, although I am a great Beatles fan, the 78rpm records have something extra. They have a more dynamic feel due to their speed, are more beautiful because of their size and their labels, while there mauve coloured covers are so much more mysterious than the LP`s of the seventies. I decided to start collecting these old records!

That's me - mid seventies

First on my bicycle, and later on at the age of sixteen on the moped, I could regularly be found at "het Waterlooplein", Amsterdam's flea market. At that time the flea market was still at the spot where later the Music Theatre was built. The records could often still be bought cheaply, but there was a lady with a record stall where the records were much more expensive but of better quality. I searched for hours in order to come home with one record bought from my very limited pocket money.

Through the years the records have come from here, there and everywhere. Now and then I go to a flea market, but a reasonable quantity I obtain from people who want to get rid of them and I am always available for any records laying useless in the loft!

Edison-specimen can only be played with a special needle because of the different groove. Piano: Olga Steeb (my own collection)

The present collection
In the eyes of real collectors
my collection is a disorderly hotchpotch and they are right, but every one of my babies is dear to me not withstanding genre and period in time, although I honestly must admit that the enormous quantities of medleys of "the Three Jacksons" (Dutch accordion-trio) are not my daily favourites…

If I must state my preferences, then my favourites are the American singers from the forties and the fifties such as Jo Stafford, Rosemary Clooney, Dinah Shore and Deanna Durbin.

Me (left) with Willem Duys (Dutch radio- and tv-host), spring 1999

Who am I?
And finally a few words about myself. I live in Amsterdam, I play bass-guitar in various contemporary music projects and my daily work has to do with cultural heritage.

Yep, that's me on the photo (left) together with the well-known Dutch tv-host Willem Duys.

Well, I hope you will have a pleasant time in my 78 RPM Record Warehouse!