1823 Pennsylvania Militia Drum
Appraised Value: $7,000 - $8,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (1:33)
Arms & Militaria
Bonhams & Butterfields, SF
GUEST: It came down through my dad's family. My great-grandfather was from Pittsburgh and was a Scout River, Hudson Bay painter, and I believe this belonged to one of his brothers.
APPRAISER: And where do you think his brother used it?
GUEST: I have no idea.
APPRAISER: Well, it has a date on here up front, and it says November 1, 1823, and that was probably a commemorative date from the founding of the regiment of the militia unit that the original owner of this drum was in.
GUEST: Oh, okay.
APPRAISER: And one of the things that the drum does have, if you look in the inside, is you can see the remains of a label in here. If you had the drum cover on it, how would you be able to see the label?
APPRAISER: But what's very interesting is right here on the side is a vent hole, so if you peep through there, the label's directly across on the other side.
GUEST: Oh, how cool!
APPRAISER: So you'd be able to read it. And it served two purposes: to be able to see who the maker of the drum was, and the fact that it was vital for the resonance.
GUEST: Oh, okay.
APPRAISER: But what's equally interesting is the quality of this federal-style eagle. It's beautifully painted, and very vivid colors, and it's fairly early as a militia drum. I would date the drum sometime in the 1840s.
GUEST: Wow, that's really cool.
APPRAISER: It's a piece of folk art more than anything else. Have you ever given any thought to what it was worth, or... ?
GUEST: Well, I took it to a local high school appraisal thing, and they told me about maybe $2,000.
APPRAISER: $2,000, okay. At auction, I feel that this drum is probably worth between $7,000 and $8,000.
GUEST: Oh, how nice.
APPRAISER: Mm-hmm. It's a beautiful piece of Americana.
GUEST: Cool, thank you!
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