Laurel & Hardy "Swiss Miss" Horn, ca. 1930
I purchased this Alpine horn in Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1962. I was on a junket in Europe. I ran into Franz Hug, the gentleman who was playing the accordion in this picture. He said, "You're from Minnesota, aren't you?" I said, "Yes." He said, "I have a horn I'd like to send back to the States. Could I use it for a show in Milwaukee?" So we negotiated and he came up with a figure, and I was... (humming) "Okay, if you don't tell my wife, I'll go ahead." So I purchased it. It was in Swiss Francs, and it was about $175.
Wow, okay. This is an actual prop, a horn that was used in the 1938 movie Swiss Miss, starring Laurel & Hardy. And if you look in the picture, you can see the person you were talking to has the photograph signed and inscribed. In terms of the horn, this is a musical instrument that was provided to the movie set by the gentleman you purchased it from. As far as the age, it's hard to determine. My guess is it's probably from the '20s to '30s range is when he might have had it made.
A little older, maybe.
Maybe even a little older. The most important obstacle in establishing price on this has already been tackled, and that's the provenance. We're looking at a photograph of the piece on the movie set, so right away we have the provenance established.
The next thing I want to tackle is how important is it? And what you're looking at is a piece that was used in a movie starring two of the most famous comedic entertainers in history probably, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. This is something that Oliver Hardy was holding and used in the picture. They were mousetrap salesmen, and they were unsuccessful, so they went to Switzerland, figuring with all the cheese in Switzerland, their business is going to flourish. And in typical Laurel & Hardy fashion, it didn't work out. Props from this time period, props from Laurel & Hardy movies are very sought after, very desirable. People really look for these. If I had this at auction, I would estimate it somewhere between $3,000 and $5,000. And I think that it should sell for every bit of that. It's just an important prop, and it's amazing it's survived all these years thanks to you.
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