Before joining the business he chose to become a performer in the music halls, circuses and fairgrounds for several years and this interest never left him.
In 1980 he bought the Ritz cinema in nearby Pocklington and opened Penny Arcadia, a museum to house a fine private collection of coin-operated amusement machines. The museum closed after Gresham’s death in 1995 when elements of the collection were sold but other pieces retained by the family have remained in storage for the past quarter of a century.
The sale of stereoscopes, mutoscopes and coinops at Spicers (20% buyer’s premium) in Goole, East Yorkshire, on April 23 included Gresham’s collection of musical boxes.
The long-serving president of the Musical Box Society of Great Britain owned a key wind quatre overture musical box by Lecoultre and Falconnet, the finest maker of the 19th century.
These ‘Grand Format’ boxes playing four overtures are among the most desirable of all music boxes – a similar example with the serial number 781 sold for £31,500 at Locke & England in Leamington Spa in March 2017.
Dated to 1830s
The Gresham box, in a 23in (57cm) rosewood and boxwood case, has the serial number 703 dating it to the late 1830s.
It was in working condition playing the four overtures inscribed to a brass tune plaque: Ouverture du Chaval de Bronze, Id de la Prison d’Edimbourg, Id de la L’Estocq and Id de Semiramide.
It was in working condition with no apparent damage to the vital parts of the mechanism. Estimated at a modest £3000-4000, it found a buyer at £27,000.