I love the really old ones as well, I have my great great grandparents Victrola.
My wife has got me interested in vintage record players these days. She had a couple of them and is always on the lookout for more. Most recently, this past weekend we found a 1915 or so Columbia Grafonola "Favorite" model at a swap meet/flea market in CT. Picked it up for $40 disasembled (but supposedly with all parts). The guy was going to restore it but lost interest. Took it home, cleaned it up (a little Murphy's oil and elbow grease) and reassembled it (it needed a couple screws and one of the three winding springs was broken, had to modify and repair that) and played one of our old 78rpm records on it. Played beautifully. Love the simple mechanicallness of it.
Here it is sitting next to our older Victor Talking Machine:
The front volume control (vanes on the case) work and the reproduction in sound is amazing. It came with a couple unopened packages of needles (you are supposed to only use one needle per play of the record. There is a used needle receptacle to the right of the patter).
Anyone else have any cool vintage stuff? We're always on the lookout for a Victrola with the horn, though usually they are reproductions or in need of too much work. My wife also has a '30s art deco tabletop electric Philco record changer that plays 78s. I need to put on a new power cord on it so it can play again.
I love cars, but the problem is they are like schroedinger's hobby. They're always in a quantum superstate of being both awesome and a huge waste of time and money... until observation momentarily forces them into one state or another.