1954 Slingerland Marching Snare Drum UNH Wildcat Band

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  • Item Category: Entertainment
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Feb 08, 2011
  • Channel: Auction House

Ifound this in a local shop. Someone had sold a mis-matched set and this was the floor tom. Someone had screwed three legs onto it, removed the snare, and there it was. I saw it and almost passed it by but I noticed the mahogany shell and realized what it was:

A 1955 or 1954 Slingerland Marching Snare Drum, 14" head, 10" deep, used by the UNH Wildcat Marching Band in the mid-50's. On the top head, someone signed it "Bernard French, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958" There's another name: "Linda Leach", but Linda's name is crossed out. Perhaps she gave Bernard's fraternity pin back. We'll never know what became of Bernard and Linda, but we do have the drum.

I did some research, and this may be a "Radio King", but it is not stamped as such - a collector will know better than I. Nickel hardware is all there, all in great shape, but I do not see a lever to turn the snare on/off – not sure if there was one on this drum. No cracks in the shell. The bottom hoop (rim) is partially cracked (not the shell itself, but the wooden rim), but still functional. Also, where someone tried to convert this into a floor tom, they drilled 6 holes to attach legs. I know, it's a travesty, but to be fair they used a drill and the holes didn't compromise the structure of the shell. They are 3/16", there are 6 of them, and I know they take away a little value. Also, the "strainer" (snare) is missing, but this is a $7 part and is normally a wear item anyway.

UNH Wildcat Marching Band stickers on the shell, which is what leads me to believe this was used by UNH. In their Marching Band. Great deductive reasoning, eh?

Both original calfskin heads are there. Bottom (snare) head is pristine, translucent calfskin. Top (batter) head has been written on by the aforementioned Bernard, and also has some pencil marks, but can be cleaned (you can do that - I watch enough "Antiques Roadshow" to know NEVER to clean an antique).

I'm a professional musician, but I'm not a percussionist. Hope this will go to someone who will really appreciate it: collectors of marching equipment, UNH memorabilia, or perhaps even old Bernard is out there pining away for Linda and his trusty old snare drum. I don't know what happened to Linda, Bernie, but I've got your drum right here. And it could be yours once again.