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‘A place things come to get another life:’ Vintage jukebox has a winner

picture of vintage jukebox
Todd Bookman
A 1982 jukebox loaded with 100 45s will hit the auction block Tuesday.

Editor's note: The winning bidder of the jukebox is Will Infantine, a State Representative and insurance broker from Manchester. In an exclusive interview with NHPR, Infantine said he plans on having the machine refurbished, and then plunking it in his family room. His family, including his daughters, gave their approval. "I like some of the old things," he said, adding that he thought the jukebox should be preserved. Infantine's winning bid was $1,025.

In a former cow barn on the outskirts of Concord, the items state government no longer wants or needs sit waiting for a new home.

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“New Hampshire Surplus is a place that things come to get another life,” says Amy Farnum, the agency’s administrator.

Part Goodwill, part auction house, this government-owned facility, also known as White Farm, resells a variety of goods to the public, with the proceeds going back to state coffers. Old filing cabinets from the health department stand near discarded power tools from the Department of Transportation. Police riot gear is in stock right now, along with printer toner.

“It’s an experience in itself just to come look at everything,” Farnum says.

Surplus also resells items seized by TSA at New Hampshire airports, which explains the buckets of pocket knives and the wall of snow globes, which are apparently classified as liquids. There are also hooks full of belts in this land of forgotten works, from saggy-pantsed fliers who forgot to get completely dressed after passing through security. They’re priced to move at five for a dollar.

picture of a wall of snow globes
Todd Bookman/NHPR
Snow globes seized by TSA at New Hampshire airports find their way to Surplus, where they are resold.

But in the middle of the room where cows were once milked, Farnum shows off the deal of the week: a vintage jukebox from 1982, a time capsule from the N.H. Veterans Home in Tilton.

“They used it for a couple of decades in their rec room,” she says.

This AMI/Rowe model comes pre-loaded with 200 songs, all on 45s: the variety is staggering. From John Denver to Whitney Houston, Alabama to Frank Sinatra, staff and customers here at Surplus have been enjoying the jukebox’s unpredictable mix of songs. It’s a perfect chaotic soundtrack to a chaotic shopping experience.

“A great mix of the decades, for sure,” Farnum says.

The jukebox is in decent condition, though the left speaker didn’t work during a recent visit and the screen is on the fritz. The slot for quarters is disconnected, so all the Patsy Cline you can handle is free of charge.

The jukebox will go to the highest bidder in an online auction that ends at 3pm Tuesday. At last check, the price was above $600. Whoever wins will need to have a few friends to help them lift the four-foot tall jukebox, as it likely weighs hundreds of pounds.

a picture of belts
Todd Bookman/NHPR
Forgotten belts from airport travelers are priced to move at five for a dollar.

Farnum may be used to seeing the odd, the interesting and the useless items wrung out of state government find new homes.

Still, she says about the jukebox: “I’m going to be sad to see it go.”

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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