Although I found Mr. Jefcoat difficult at times, he was an interesting personality and I admired his unbridled passion to collect.
His obit in the NewsObserver described how he came to amass such a huge collection :
Born June 12, 1916, in self described “dirt poor” conditions in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Mr. Jefcoat went on to acquire vast wealth, which in death he has, for the most part, left for the public good. Brady’s family came to North Carolina and settled in Raleigh when he was five years old. Described by many as brilliant throughout his life, Brady early on also showed immense aptitude for creativity and hard work. Beginning in his early 20s, Mr. Jefcoat started buying small, inexpensive lots in the area of Western Boulevard and Gorman Street, and building houses on them. Using, for the most part, discarded construction material, and in many cases second hand items, he built 17 houses at night and on weekends, after running his own plumbing business during the day. He became a landlord of significant note, and saved all of the rent he collected. Mr. Jefcoat would go on to acquire more than 54 acres of land in the Swift Creek area of Wake County, on which he built his final residence in 1970, which he shared with his wife, Lillian, who died of breast cancer in 1972. .... Mr. Jefcoat may be best remembered for partnering with the Murfreesboro Historical Society in Hertford County, NC to create the largest privately run museum in the state, the result of more than a half century of robust antique collecting described by some as obsessive, if not maniacal. Focusing primarily on old-style, crank phonographs and music boxes, Mr. Jefcoat amassed one of the rarest collections in the world. However, he didn’t stop there. He collected with equal vigor such things as antique bed pans, centuries old rat traps and civil war grave markers, among other things.
Old music box collectors never die .... they just wind down.
Rest in peace, Mr. Jefcoat.