The search for vintage percussion instruments often leads to funny places. An antique store in Wisconsin selling a Century of Progress marimba. An old Ludwig Black Beauty found buried in newspapers and sheets in the back of a garage. An estate sale in Guelph that includes a 1930 Deagan marimba that used to belong to a long-forgotten virtuoso.
My brother sent me a link to Kijiji ad from Kitchener for a “1919 Degan Xlophone” (sic). It was almost a collector’s cliché – a dust-covered vintage instrument, apparently stored in an actual attic. It definitely got my attention.
Although it’s hard to tell for sure, I think it’s a Deagan xylophone, model 262 – the rounded bars are a good indication, and the range of the instrument makes sense. And if that’s the case, it’s a pretty desirable instrument. Made in the 1920s with the name Artist Special, these instruments are coveted by some of the world’s top mallet players. For example, Bob Becker bought his first 262 back in 1972, and I believe he owns at least four of them in various sizes.
Here’s a Deagan model 262 with considerably less dust and grime.
And here’s another one that’s been completely restored. Looks very pretty, and can be yours for only $4,700 USD.
Of course, I was hoping that the gentleman selling this old treasure had no idea what he had and might be willing to part with it for a bargain price. Such are the dreams of the vintage collector – always on the lookout for naive sellers and lucky finds.
Alas, that was not the case this time around, as apparently the seller had it appraised at some point for $3,000 – perhaps a fair price for the right person, but definitely too much for me. So now I’m just left to wonder how he came to own such a nice xylophone, and why it’s in an attic gathering dust instead of being played regularly by someone who can appreciate it. Hopefully it finds a good home soon.