The first cash register was patented in 1879 by a Dayton, Ohio saloonkeeper who was fed up with having his employees steal from him. James Jacob Ritty’s “Incorruptible Cashier” proved to be the foundation for National Cash Register Company, known today as NCR.

For collectors, NCR machines are desirable because of their beauty—the ornamental relief on the outsides of their brass-, bronze-, and nickel-plated cash registers is as lovely as the marquetry on walnut or oak ones. But antique NCR cash registers are also popular because the company’s serial numbers make them relatively easy to date. Machines with numbers below 190,000 are from the 19th century, registers with numbers between 190,000 and 800,000 were made between 1900 and 1910, and so on.

Series numbers are another way to determine an NCR register’s value. Among the most collectible are the large Series 500 machines, which were used by department stores. Sometimes just a single cash-register key makes an antique NCR cash register collectible, such as those with a DR key (for dining room) used by hotels.

NCR was not the only cash-register company, but it might as well have been. Of the 80-plus competitors in business in the late 1800s, only three made it into the 20th century. Ideal produced registers that were highly ornate and used levers instead of keys. And then there was Michigan, which made cash registers that looked the most like NCRs. One of its most popular machines was a bronze beauty that took up just nine inches of counter space and cost only $35.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

An enormous database focusing on pinball machines and other arcade games from the 1930s and on, from a collector wh… [read review or visit site]

International Arcade Museum

International Arcade Museum

This site boasts more than 13,000 pages of educational content on arcade and coin-op collecting, including innumera… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Redding Pharmacy Drugstore Cash Register Top Advertising Nameplate Sign.Antique Original Odhner Gotedorg Sverige Adding Machine No. 37-275662Original Old Brass Cash Register Top Sign Amount Purchased Country Store Sign7 Wheel "the Calcumeter" Desktop Calculator - H. N. Morse - 1901The Lightning Adding Machine & Addometer Adding MachineL692- Antique Indicator Flags From Old Cash Register Numbers Pop Up - PartsNational Cash Register Bill WeightVintage Addfeet Junior Addiator System Calculator Made In Germany Leather Case Antique National Cash Register Part 1902 15" Embossed Bronze Back Vintage Fabric Measuregraph Industrial Textile Machine Mercantile CollectableVintage Monroe Calculator Model L Service Manual And Bulletins Very RareVintage Key Buttons From A Burroughs Adding MachineBrass National Cash Register 500 Series Bill Weights & Reset KeysMonroe Calculator Service Training Course #1, Intro & Function-adjustment Ln CalMonroe Calculator Service Training Course #2, Function & Adjustment La, La-5 - 7Brass National Cash Register 500 Series Bill Weights & Reset KeysBrass National Cash Register 500 Series Bill Weights & Reset KeysAntique Bristol Counter W/ Key,works1890s Wesley Mfg Co Check Perforator - Check Protector - Check PunchVintage Sumit Adding Machine Ny CalculatorMonroe Calculator Teachers Guide For The Educator Hand-cranked CalculatorMonroe Calculator Formula Problem Simplification BookletVintage Midget Adding Machine Calculator No Case Or InstructionsMonroe Calculator Instructions, Accounts Receivable, President Accounting MachVintage Victor Tallymaster Manual Adding MachineCanon P125-d Adding Machine *works Great*Monroe Calculator Operating Instructions Model La 6-200-c