Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Horncollector Snipes Again -- Takes J.& H. Meacham "Type" Drum in Heavily Contested eBay Auction

Making another stealth appearance a mere 6 seconds before eBay's virtual hammer fell on this beauty, Horncollector (nay, as "Dancing with the Stars" judge Bruno Tonioli might say, "Horncollector, you are de DRUM co-LEK-tor!") easily sniped in (do I have that right, or did you in?) to walk away with a win in this heavily contested auction.

After a few amateurs and lookie-louies had their say in the $275 and under range (bargain hunters looking to steal a deal), things were inactive for the four days prior to the hammer. Then, with just about two hours to go, all hell broke loose with r***l (1143) (the number in parenthesis indicates eBay comments; an eBayer with 1,143 comments is likely in the biz, not an amateur and not likely a collector, although possibly) jacking up the ante to $501 and then to $551 under pressure from s***j (447) who planted his top end apparently at $750 to take a temporary lead. Then, pressure from sniper e***t (809) bidding $751 an hour later left s***j in the dust with only seconds to show time.

But, even that wasn't enough to grab the prize as j***j (329), a well-known collector and friend of this blogmaster, weighed in with his high end bid of $850 -- a valiant stab, but insufficient. Teaching us all another lesson in just how much he will spend to get a really good drum, Horncollector sniped in, winning with a high snipe of $860, his real top end being known only to him (and eBay of course) but which I estimate to be not less than $1,000. Horncollector has a penchant and a pocketbook - a dangerous combination for his competitors.

Fortunately Horncollector shows his goods online at his website. Unfortunately, it's not clear yet whether Horncollector is truly a drum collector or just a long-term arbitrageur buying and holding these beauties for resale. Some of his collection is for sale, according to his website, where he also offers space to others to list their goods for sale and charges a pre-payment of a percentage of the offering price.

This "Meacham type" drum caught my attention when it came on eBay (item # 230235239271) last week. The seller described it as follows:
"A great old bentwood military drum with handsome steel tack and painted decorations. I am calling this a Civil War-era piece based on comparable examples I was able to find, likewise it appears to be very similar to examples manufactured by J&H Meacham of Albany, but I can find no identifying labels or marks on the visible surfaces. I did try to peer inside the drum hole also but i could either shine a light into it, or look into it, but not do both simultaneously. The finish is old, and the drumhead and base obviously well-used. There is a small loss to the base band as illustrated from both inside and outside, approximately 2 1/2" l. x 1" h., as well as small splits 3/4" and 1 1/4" on the head, 2 1/2" l. on the underside. The top rim has slipped up and over the edge of the head, as I also attempted to show, but I am wary of trying to fit it back down myself. Overall measurements approximately 17" dia. x 16" h."

See another drum attributed to J&H Meacham, described as a "painted and tacked military drum with J&H Meacham, Albany label":

"A percussion drum with hand painted insignia plus pair of drumsticks. Stylized red painted floral ornamentation with green background. Steel domed tacks enhance the floral image. Ten ropes with related leather percussion mounts. Inside of drum with paper label that reads 'New Military Store J&H Meacham No. 84 State Street Albany.'"

Cowan's website reports that the drum was sold at its Winter Firearms Auction, Nov. 7and 8, 2007 for a hammer price (including buyer's premium) of $1,035 against a pre-sale estimate of $400-$600. Cowan's description adds this information: "15.75 [in.] height x 16.25 [in.] diameter. *** Complete with 17.75 [in.] drumsticks. *** Both drumheads are intact."

And from Militaria and Americana by Northeast Auctions, part of the Guthman Collection:

"William H. Guthman Collection, Oct 12, 2006
"Lot # 610
"Sold: 1,872.00

"Each painted around the percussion hole with a stylized flowerhead and foliage in red, green and yellow, further embellished with brass nail decoration in a conforming pattern, one appears to retain its original red washed bands, snares and skins, and bears the label of 'New Military Store, J. & H. Meacham, No. 84 State Street, Albany...,' height 15 inches, diameter 16 1/2 inches. Together with Susan Cifaldi, 'Benjamin Clark's Drum Book,' 1989. (3)

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