Sliding down the 78 rpm slippery

I was in a local antique shop and they had an Amphion New Phonola Model X 78 rpm player for sale. It had been restored and was in a gorgeous cabinet. The front opened up to reveal the speaker cloth. There was a big crank on the right hand came with a bag of "needles" that looked like sharp pieces of metal. Unfortunately the antique guy only had what looked like a trashed country 78rpm recording to demonstrate the unit. It worked fine and actually was pretty loud. So....the guy wanted 500 bucks for it...anyone know anything about these? He claimed it was from the l920s....if I had some rare jazz 78s would I play them on this contraption or would it trash them?....I live an a 100 year old would look pretty cool in the den....anyhow I need some guidance....I am a vinyl guy deciding whether I need to become a shellac guy....
"Steel" needles?
Ha hah ha..
They are good for a few plays per needle. They are terrible and would wear out your precious 78s really fast.
If you want a toy, go for it. If you want to play archival copies of 78 that are worth saving, or worth money, PASS iT UP
Had Audiogon been around, say, twenty years after the introduction of the 78, you can be sure there would have been an outspoken faction decrying the inferiority and soullessness of the new shellac-based technology. So rather than risk wasting time and money on some temporary and ultimately unsatisfactory compromise, why not keep a-slidin' down that slippery slope till you land in a big heap at the true source of audio nirvana: the wax cylinder! I've got a cryo'ed, triple-goldplated cylinder of Edison singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb"--play that baby through a hand-rubbed, oxygen-free, solid brass trumpet and I guarantee it'll make you weep!
If the cabinet fits your house and you like it buy it...there are also wooden needles available for these old phonos that are easy on the thing you will find is the sound can get your's a sound all it's Rudy vallee singing with his megaphone or Vaughn Monroe without one...also a nice conversation piece...will be a big hit at a party...and you won't lose any money as they don't go down in value...good luck and enjoy if yoy buy it ,,,trader128
Elizabeth is right as usual. Those needles have a thin coating which reduces friction. You can imagine the tremendous heat and impact tracking at that speed. That is why they sold needles by the box, so you could use one for each double side of the large '78s. By the end of the second side the coating had fractures. If you used it again, it would explode the tip, resulting in that once famous level of noise.
The table is worth about half of what he wants, unless it is really mint. But use it as decor only. If you really want to live it up, read my reply to the 78 question a few down in this queue. I am all the way down that slope now.
Thanks as usual soon as I saw the beast sitting in the store I thought of audiogon...I haven't decided whether to bring another "stray" into the house....I think Elizabeth is right...I need something that I can tweak and get the maximum fidelity out of the grooves...hmmm...I do have a couple of SP10's kicking around in the basement that I scarfed from a radio if I could just find the time to build a base...
it never ends...
If you are not compelled to get one of at least three tables in current production, then at least know that the cartridge is the critical component, so that you do not share needles, as it were. Mayhap you have a ' Golden Arm'