Friday, June 27, 2008

Here We Go Again -- Refurbished Eagle Drum Returns to eBay


We've seen this drum before:
This blog note was first posted four hours prior to the end of the auction of eBay of item no. 290240305716. By that time, the drum had been bid up to $1,225 with 19 bids by 8 bidders. However, the professionals appeared to be holding back, either waiting to strike with a last second snipe or passing on this opportunity altogether. Our guess was that it would not go much higher (we were right).

This is the very same drum that was sold on eBay and reported in this blog at "Eagle Drum Goes for $1380 on eBay" March 7, 2008. We didn't much like it then and we don't much care for it now.

What do we know about this drum?
Well, the rope looks relatively new, certainly not period. Its condition is too good. The snare butt leather looks recent. The hooks look vintage.

And the top "head" looks pretty good too, especially the color and the lack of rips and tears. BUT!!!!!! That's because it's not a head at all. It's a piece of wood. Uh oh! This baby's going to need some fixin'.

The absence of a batter head is the reason that the top counterhoop looks like it has been pulled down too far, like a size 8 sombrero on a size 5 head. The top counterhoop is obviously pulled down too far along the drum's shell.

And, even though the top counterhoop is pulled so far down, there is still a large gap between the bottom of the top counterhoop and the top of the blue background behind the painted eagle. It just does not look right to us. In every eagle drum we've seen, including the many pictured in this blog, where there is a blue background, the background extends under the top counterhoop. And, where visible, it extends to the top of the drum shell. This is the only example of a blue background falling short and not even extending under the top counterhoop.

Next the red and white stripes on the union shield raise a question. Most displays of the 13 stripes show 7 red and 6 white. This drum shows the reverse (6 red and 7 white). We have not found any authority stating that it must be 7 red and 6 white (or that it had to be that way in the 1860's), However, we did find this much:

"The stars and stripes originated as a result of a resolution adopted by the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia on June 14, 1777. The resolution read:

"RESOLVED, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation." Our Flag, Joint Committee on Printing, United States Congress, Washington, 1998, p. 1.

To be fair, although most displays of the union shield on eagle drums that we've seen show 7 red and 6 white stripes, there is one additional example of the reverse as here (6 red and 7 white stripes) on the eagle drum that is the subject of the posting, "Bada Boom -- Bidding Explodes for Old Eagle Drum", May 5, 2008.

All in all, we don't much care for this drum -- too many questions raise concerns about authenticity and vintage.


The seller says, "THIS IS A BEAUITFUL CIVIL WAR UNION DRUM WITH A PAINTED EAGLE. IT HAS THE 9TH REG US INFANTRY PAINTED ABOVE THE EAGLE. DRUM IS IN ALL ORIGINAL CONDTION WITH THE TOP OF THE DRUM SKIN IS OFF OF THE TOP AND REPLACED WITH A ROUND PIECE OF WOOD. THE BOTTOM SKIN HAS A REAP IN IT AS YOU CAN TELL BY THE PHOTO'S. THIS IS A VERY RARE PIECE OF CIVIL WAR HISTORY AND WILL BE SOLD WITHOUT A RESERVE."

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P.S. Did we call this, or what? The seller (hunteryy12) took a $55 (plus shipping) loss after purchasing this questionable relic in March for $1,380 and selling it today for $1,355. And I was not alone in assessing this baby on the low side. The evidence for that is the absence of snipers (people who use ezsnipe and other services to submit their highest bid 6 seconds or so prior to the end of an eBay auction -- all completely legal viz. eBay standards), coupled with the absence of known pros, one of whom dropped out at the $53 level, confirm that this baby just doesn't have what it takes to command a Civil War regimental eagle drum's usual premium.

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