Silent Movie Sound Effects Instruments, ca. 1915

Value (2010) | $1,500 Retail$3,000 Retail
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GUEST:
My great-grandfather was a musician. He played at the silent movie houses at the turn of the century. The theaters would hire an orchestra to come in, and he specialized in sound effects for the movies, and so he would set up behind stage and he would play all these different sound effect instruments.

APPRAISER:
Well, it's one of the most fun collections of musical instruments that I think I've ever seen. They're the working tools of a professional musician. This entire trunk is just filled with all kinds of things. We were lucky enough to bring a few examples out...

GUEST:
Sure.

APPRAISER:
...to look at. Over here we have horses' hooves. Is that what you call it?

GUEST:
Right, right. That would, uh...

APPRAISER:
Let's see what they sound like. The sound effect for the horses. (making hollow, clopping sound)

GUEST:
That's great, that's great.

APPRAISER:
And then you said your son really likes this one?

GUEST:
Right, he loves trains, and this was a train whistle, so he always asks me to get this one out and play it for him. (tooting)

APPRAISER:
These are all professional tools. These aren't just a collection of things that he made. These are all purchased, high-quality tools. They're musical instruments, gizmos, whistles, bells, mallets. You can just imagine how hard he worked.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And how imaginative he had to be to do his job.

GUEST:
Sure, right.

APPRAISER:
It's just fabulous to see it. Tell me about this.

GUEST:
Sure, that's a stainless steel bird whistle. And you actually fill it with water and... (making high whistle) And you can do the different whistles for the birds.

APPRAISER:
And then I was going to hold these up a little bit.

GUEST:
Sure.

APPRAISER:
These are coconut shells. So you can do whatever you want with the coconut shells. And tell me about this piece.

GUEST:
It's a wooden slide whistle, and it's got the slide on the side of it, and... (making swooping tone, going up, then down)

APPRAISER:
It's great, it's great. Piece by piece, these are just decorative items.

GUEST:
Sure.

APPRAISER:
But there's so much of it and it's all intact. As a collection... I've talked to a couple of my friends and colleagues. I think this is probably somewhere between $1,500 and $3,000 in value.

GUEST:
Wow. Wow.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Mass Street Music
Lawrence, Kansas
Appraised value (2010)
$1,500 Retail$3,000 Retail
Event
Biloxi, MS (July 24, 2010)
Period
20th Century
Material
Metal, Wood

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