Erich Traber 1930 – 2018

Erich Traber

Erich with his favourite 33 key Holl Trumpet organ


Erich Traber 1930 – 2018

 Philanthropist – Collector – Businessman and Friend


Erich Traber was born in Frauenfeld, Switzerland on 25.22.1930, where he went to primary and high school. After different jobs in trading companies in Zurich, he learned the banking business in Geneva and in 1959 he founded the Photo Traber LTD. What started with a mail-order business ended with a chain of 700 electronic shops around Europe under the name of Interdiscount Holding, which he sold in 1996 to Co-op Switzerland.

Erich was a great businessman and a real collector. Once infected by a virus – there was no way back. Not driven by prestige, but by mere delight. He always wanted to be one of the “big-ones”. Trips around the world and the necessary money in his pocket helped Erich to accomplish his target.

Everybody liked Erich, not only in the Mechanical Music world, but also in the Classic Car, Historic Races and Petrified Wood scene and wherever he showed up, he gave the event the “ET” touch -Elvis needed 5 letters – Erich Traber only 2  ‘ET’


Chateau de Rue, Fribourg


Mechanical Musical Instruments

It started with a simple gramophone in the 60th and ended with a collection of over 30 fairground and monkey organs, over 25 exquisite Music Boxes, Orchestrions and Jukeboxes. Fortunately, Erich was able to buy the “Chateau de Rue” in the Kanton Freiburg (between Bern and Lausanne) to house his collection.



He also made his collection open for the public and organized different exhibitions in Swiss shopping centres. As much as his busy schedule allowed him, he participated at different organ rallies around Europe. He never stopped improving his collection and it was only two years ago that he bought the famous “Flamingo” Dance Organ from the Adolf Kessler Collection


Classic Cars and Historic Racing

Erich was always fascinated by classic cars and historic racing. He loved pre-war cars such as Rolls Royce, Bentley, Talbot, Delahaye or Invicta but after time he collected also the classics of the 50th, 60th and 70th and in the 80th he had an incredible collection of over 120 pre-war, sports and racing cars. Alone over 25 of the finest Ferraris were part of his fleet. No wonder, that Erich – now almost 60 years old – started to take courses in racing and got his racing licence. At the “Bob Bodurant School of High Performance” in Scottsdale, Arizona he showed up every year to improve his skills. He participated 10 times in the “Mille Miglia” in Italy and he was with his 250 GT TDF and 250 GT Europe one of the first participant at the “Ferrari Historic Challenge”. Not one race he missed until Ferrari stopped this race in 2008. He also did not miss a single one of the “Le Mans Classic”, which happened twice a year between 2002 and 2016. At the age of 86 he celebrated his biggest success, when he won on his Fiat 8V Zagato, as part of the Graber Sportgarage Team, the overall victory. – And, who would expect something differently -, 2 days before his death ET bought his long-time dream – a Hispano Suiza Open Tourer.


Erich and the Graber Racing Team: Overall Victory at the Le Mans Classic in 2016


Petrified Wood 

3 other passions, which made Erich to one of the biggest collectors in Europe. About 30 years ago on a trip to the famous Scottsdale car auctions, Erich stopped at a small fair for minerals and petrified woods and bought his first piece, which became the start of Europe’s biggest collection of fossil woods. The beauty of this 220 million years old fossils not only fascinated Erich, but will also do its magic to a few new owners after the auction.

Largest petrified tree in the world


Steam- driven Locomotives 

Also, his collection of working models of locomotives, showman’s and traction engines show the love of Erich for technical skill and real craftsmanship.


One of Erich’s many working models

Art Deco

His collection of French Art Deco furniture and accessories is also unique for Switzerland.


A great collector and good friend has left


Erich – You have left us, but you left us with great collectables and unforgettable memories.

You will always be in our mind.

Retonio Breitenmoser


In Memoriam Erich Traber

We will have at the auction on 1st June 2019 and a small celebration. All collectors and friends are invited.

There will be  food and drinks and the Traber family.

The Swiss Auction Company team are looking forward welcoming you.