Sunday, June 28, 2015

1823 Pennsylvania Militia Drum

1823 Pennsylvania Militia Drum

This drum appeared on Antiques Roadshow originally aired November 7, 2011 (appraised August 21, 2010 in Washington, DC by Paul Carella.

Antiques Roadshow Appraisal Transcript:

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? 

GUEST: Right. 

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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