Hi there! Did you have a nice weekend? I hit a couple of thrift stores and bought a few chotchkis, but nothing to write home about, LOL. We had beautiful, sunny weather in the 40’s, the perfect day for a drive in the country, which we enjoyed on Friday afternoon as we drove to one of our favorite thrifts in Ravena (NY).
We had a dinner with friends to celebrate a birthday on Saturday night and visited a local church (not ours) on Sunday because our daughter is home for spring break (yay!), and she likes City Church when she’s in town. It’s a great, youthful church with an inspiring young pastor and terrific worship. We highly recommend it (along with our home church, Light of the World).
But you’re here today to hear about some vintage finds, right? Today I’ve got a selection of vintage sheet music that I picked up at an estate sale a long time ago for 25¢ each. I finally got around to researching some values, using the tried and true eBay “sold” listings and my new favorite, WorthPoint.
So, I think this 1933 copy of Stormy Weather, sung by Ethyl Waters at the Cotton Club, is my favorite. I love the jazzy image and typography. It may also be the most valuable piece that I have to show you, worth perhaps $30-40.00. I’m not completely sure, so I’ll have to do some more research.
Companies on “Tin Pan Alley” in NYC produced sheet music in enormous quantities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Thererfore, much of what you find out in the “wild” does not have a great value. Most pieces are worth just $3-5 dollars. However, some music, produced in low quantities, with great graphics, and in excellent condition, may be worth more.
I selected this 1948 piece, when making my choices at the estate sale, because in general, anything Walt Disney tends to have value. Even though Disney produced many, many pieces of music from the animated Cinderella, this one may be worth $5-10.00. [Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo is one of my favorites 🙂 ]
Collectors have found many ways to bring focus to their collections, for example, by concentrating on Disney animated features. Other focuses include by theme (baseball or military), by composer (Gershwin or Copeland), by style (jazz or show tunes), or by vocalist (Ethyl Waters or Nat King Cole).
Kiss Me Kate (1948), while a wildly popular show, led to the printing of such a large quantity of sheet music for songs like, “Always True to You in My Fashion,” that their value is fairly low, $5-6.00.
I felt certain when I picked this 1939 version of the childhood favorite, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, that I’d hit the jackpot; however, as with many other perennial favorites, they were produced in the hundreds of thousands of copies. If in excellent condition, it might be worth $7-14.00.
Like many surviving pieces of sheet music, this one is not in perfect condition. The outer spine is split about half-way up. Unlike other collectibles, however, where near-perfect condition is expected, sheet music collectors tend to be more forgiving. The music was produced, of course, for regular use and as a result often appears, well, used. It can nonetheless be desirable.
By now, you may have noticed a pink theme–I am a pink-lover, so that may have influenced some of my choices, LOL. This piece, “Almost Like Being in Love,” from Brigadoon, a very popular Broadway show, dates to 1957 and may be worth up to $8.00 or $10.00.
I took a risk picking up this 1950 era accordion music, because sometimes odd, obscure things can be valuable. No, not really in this case. While it might be slightly more valuable than the “average” sheet music value of $3-5.00, not by much.
Honestly, I picked up this piece dating to 1910 because of the title, “I’m Falling in Love with Someone,” thinking it might be perfect for some future altered art project, which is where it will likely end up since it does not seem to have a lot of value.
“Blue Shadows on the Trail” is another piece I selected because it was produced by Walt Disney. It may be worth $6-10.00, in part off because it offers “cross-over” appeal since a Disney collector could be interested in it, even though sheet music might not be their primary area of interest.
Another of my favorites, this 1953 piece, “Where is Your Heart,” from the show Moulin Rouge, has striking black on red graphics and interesting imagery. Unfortunately, enough copies have survived to make it worth no more than $3-5.00.
All of the sheet music you’ve seen in this post measures approximately 9″ x 12,” which informs us that they were printed after WWI. Music measuring 11″ x 14″ indicates production prior to WWI and 5″ x 7″, during WWII (as a paper saving measure). While size doesn’t necessarily relate to value, it can help with dating.
Other than safely storing your sheet music collection in some sort of protective binder, how can these little works of art be displayed?
Framing is always a good choice, as I did with my favorite piece, particularly if hung out of direct sunlight. A series framed in gold or black would make a fantastic gallery wall, wouldn’t it?
Pieces in poor condition could be used in mixed media art projects, as I plan to use “I’m Falling in Love with Somebody.” And I’ve seen decorators use less valuable pieces to “wall paper” a bathroom or small office for an unique look.
Truly valuable pieces from the early 20th century, produced on wood pulp paper, may need to be stored in acid free boxes in order to offer the best protection, but that doesn’t offer much opportunity for enjoyment. I collect in order to display or decorate with pieces I love, not to shove them in a box and store them in the attic. Am I right?!!
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