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Nipper at Bat: 1920

Nipper at Bat: 1920

"Ansell, Bishop & Turner window display. 1920." A Victrola dealer in Washington, D.C., puts Nipper in the game. View full size. National Photo Co. glass negative.


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Re: Nipper across the pond

They used to have the HMV shops in Canada, I don't know if they still do, it never made too much sense since people were forever getting HMV mixed up with RCA Victor. HMV is still very much in business with the recording industry as it is a brand name for the EMI corporation, they may not be using that label but the entity still exists. I think what happened is that the original Victor Talking Machine Company set up divisions in various countries to market and manufacture records and machines under the Berliner patents for lateral cut disks. When they fell under hard times the British branch was bought out by the EMI corperation, the American one by RCA in 1928, and the Japanese branch, JVC, must have been taken over by local interests.
Ironically EMI bought out the RCA Victor record label from General Electric in the early 1990s so Nipper is still very much associated with Victor and RCA on this side of the Atlantic. I'm certain that I mixed up a few things but corporate histories tend to be very confusing at times.


I keep a small group for Nipper pictures on Flickr (, inspired by the big Nipper statue that still sits atop a local warehouse building. But this is the most amazing Nipper pic I've seen.

Life Is a Circle

>> The price of $160.55 for the Victrola in the store window (with the 8 record albums and 3 Victor Records) would be about $1,661 in today's money.

Oddly enough, $1600 is the asking price for a restored Victrola cabinet from that era on Ebay.

I love Nipper.

I love anything about Victrola and his master's voice. I got chills the first time I heard the explanation of the logo. Nipper hears his master's voice through the victrola.... and he's sitting on his master's coffin. Freaky.

Inflation calculator

See also this web page:

Based on that site, $160.55 is equivalent to $1,756.54 - pretty close to the previously cited value.

Collectible Nippers

In the seventies, a man I worked with had a huge collection of antique phonographs and associated memorabilia. I recall that he had at least a hundred (maybe 200 hundred) Nipper figurines, ranging in size from inch high china versions, to one that must have been 5 feet tall.
I shudder to think what they would be worth today


The price of $160.55 for the Victrola in the store window (with the 8 record albums and 3 Victor Records) would be about $1,661 in today's money.

Source: Lawrence H. Officer and Samuel H.Williamson, "Purchasing Power of Money in the United States from 1774 to 2007," Measuring Worth, 2008

High priced entertainment!

How much is that 160.55 in today's dollars? Thousands I'd guess. Speaiung of which, I'd love to have just a dozen or so of those little Nippers to sell on eBay!

Real Live Nipper

I was in the retail electronics & appliance business for many years starting in the 1950's. For all of those 50-something years we were RCA dealers and had great contacts at the factory level. In the 1980's RCA introduced a product called the Capacitance Electronic Disc or CED movie player. It was a forerunner of DVD and competition to the struggling LaserDisc movie players being marketed by Philips and Pioneer.

I was in business in Midtown Manhattan at the time and we were a state-of-the-art shop for this type of product. I received a call from an RCA sales manger asking if it was OK for him, some other RCA executives and a network television crew (I sort of remember CNN) to come to the store for a news broadcast announcing the release of the RCA CED player. Naturally, I agreed.

Along with the RCA executives and the camera crew was a woman carrying the current real live Nipper. It took a couple of hours to get the shoot done. The dog would get a little frisky every once in a while and the woman would pull a handkerchief from her pocket that must have been soaked in some sort of narcotic and she would hold it over the dog's face until he was half asleep. I don't think they'd try that stunt today without having PETA all over them.

The CED player never really caught on and LaserDisc just about disappeared when DVDs appeared in the 1990's.

Ansell, Bishop & Turner

This record store was at 1221 F street NW, in the same block as previously seen Saks Fur. Ansell, Samuel H. Bishop and Charles J. Turner acquired the business in 1919 from "Mssrs. Cohen & Hughes, Inc." Apparently they spent more time on window displays than on running the business as the store went into bankruptcy in February 1926.

Nipper across the pond ...

Interesting trivia (or not): Here in the UK, a stylised version of Nipper is still used to advertise the HMV chain of record shops. (HMV stands for "His Master's Voice"; it used to be a record label, but now just runs stores). Some more background on Nipper and how he came to advertise various companies can be found here.

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