Playing back 78s? Where do I start?

I think I made a big mistake today buying a 78 since I have no way of playing it back. I already have a major vinyl sickness so what's adding another little twist. My system right now is a VPI 3.5 w/Grado Reference, ARC Ref1 and RefPhono so I really don't care about cost as much as I care about getting the most out of the discs. Will an old Thorens do? Any suggestions or advice greatly appreciated.
That or an old Dual will do real nicely with an Ortofon cartridge like the OM-10 ($60) or OM-5 ($40). They sell a 78 RPM needle that fit either for like $30.
A lot of Dual came standard with the Ortofon, so if you check eBay, you may find one with it already and will just need the stylus (needle). You could skip the stylus, but it will track better and wear less with the proper one.
Ortofon's and the stylus are available at
Sugarbrie has pretty much said it all. I can only add that 78's SHOULD be played with a special, conical stylus, not a stereo stylus. There is also a special stylus that has a "V" cut in the end, so the stylus rides the ridge of the grooves, not the valley. This kind of stylus has been used to transfer 78-rpm recordings onto tape for re-issues. The other point, which you may know, is that many 78's were not cut at exactly 78-rpm -- they can vary anywhere from 76-80 rpm, so it's nice to have a turntable that allows you to slightly decrease or increase the rotation rate.
As Sd notes, the speed adjustment is *VERY* important. A friend has a large number of 78's some which reach 88rpm for a correct pitch! He uses a modified Goldmund and an old "Lenco" with pitch control and, ofcourse, the conical styli for 78.
If you really get into it, you can purchase a Benz cartridge with the 78 RPM conical stylus! There are several Benz Gliders in service outfitted with the conical stylus for 78 RPM play.
It's been a long time since I listened to any of the 78's that were in my mother's collection, but I used to use a Shure cartridge (M97?) that had a conical stylus that Shure made specifically for 78's. This cartridge/stylus combo wasn't very expensive, and may still be available. Check with Jerry Raskin's NeedleDoctor, or Garage-a-Records.
Thanks for all the suggestions! I will get a proper stylus.
Is the tonearm very important? I do remember about the speed variation. I was thinking that perhaps if I got the SDS for my VPI that it could work at 78 rpm? Then another tonearm tube with the Benz cartridge. But that would be too simple.
What kind of potential fidelity is available from 78's?
I love mono recordings as it is and have even been thinking about getting the Helikon MONO Cartridge.
Since making my last post, I noticed on Grado's Web site that they have a new cartridge for use with 78-rpm records, and it has 4 different size styli for use with records in varying conditions of wear. No price posted on the site, but maybe worth looking into.
I am working on it. I have a Technics SP10 with a SME 3009 arm that I got from a radio station. I need some kind of a decent base, but it does spin at 78 so it might get me started. Thanks for the suggestion on the Grado, I will check it out.