The 1925 Ludwig, William S. Hart Jr. Gold Snare. The “Holy Grail” Of All Vintage Drums. $124,995.00
The 1925 Ludwig, William S. Hart Jr. Gold Snare. The “Holy Grail” Of All Vintage Drums. $124,995
The “William S. Hart Jr.” snare drum is arguably the finest, rarest and most storied snare drum ever made. William S. Hart, a world famous 1920s Hollywood movie cowboy, commissioned the Ludwig Drum Company to build the snare as a gift for his son and namesake on his 3rd birthday. The 14″x 4″, 10 tube lug, gold plated, brass shelled drum was the most expensive drum ever made, with every part plated in gold and decorated with hand tooled solid sterling silver. Included with the drum was a gold plated stand, gold tipped sticks and a gold plated tuning key. Even the ends of the the snare wires are plated in gold and include a woven cotton strap that has never been seen on any drum before or after. The drum was so revered that it was featured on the cover of the 1925 Ludwig Drummer Magazine. The drum was truly the most amazing example of the drum makers craft ever made.
Included with the drum are copies of the original Southern California Music Company 1925 handwritten receipt for a $50 dollar deposit and the letter to William Hart that accompanied the receipt. Copies of these documents were supplied from the William S. Hart museum in Newhall, CA.
Nothing was known about what happened to the drum after it appeared in The Ludwig Drummer Magazine. Much research was done on the fate of this fabled drum. When all leads went cold it was eventually assumed that it was gone forever. To add to the mystery that surrounded this drum, it’s notable that the drum is decorated with dozens of swastikas. At first glance, one might assume that William S. Hart was a supporter of the Nazi party. Very much to the contrary.
The swastika symbol has a long history that predates the nazi party by thousands of years. The symbol has been used by many different cultures including the ancient Greeks and Celts, always as a sign of peace and prosperity. For centuries Native Americans used the symbol as a sign of good fortune. It was commonly used by American cowboys to decorate saddles, holsters and riding gear beginning in the late 1800s. Hart chose the symbol to decorate this drum 8 years before Hitler rose to power in 1933 and the made the symbol synonymous with the Nazi party. The swastika inspires a host of terrible thoughts and images. It’s ironic that the symbol that Hart chose as sign of love and a wish for good fortune, would become the most hated symbol of the 20th century.
It is deeply important to the Hart family that no connection is made between their family and the hateful ideas that have become associated with the swastika. The Hart family has never had any association with the nazi party or any organization that promotes or encourages hate.
In 2014, vintage drum historian Harry Cangany received a call from the family of William S. Hart. Cangany had written the Hart family in 1994 while researching the drum’s history and had never received a reply. 20 years later, members of the Hart family discovered Cangany’s letter and called him to inform him that the drum had never left their possession and was in perfect condition, untouched and unplayed since 1925. Finally the mystery had been solved and had a very happy ending.
The Hart family understands the historic significance of the drum and would like to the drum to find a new home with a collector or institution where it can be enjoyed by many.
More photos available to serious buyers.