Estate Sale Ukulele

I was down in Phoenix last year and picked up a Ukulele for $10 at an estate sale. The Ukulele came with a couple of books; Illustrated 5-Minute Guaranteed Ukulele Course 1927 and Fifty Famous Favorites for the Ukulele 1954 edition.   The owner purchased the Fifty Favorites and a set of strings from K&B Music in Albuquerque for $1.14 on June 30, 1960.   Two pages of handwritten song notes were also present on a couple of bridge scoring sheets dated 1926.   The Ukulele was sold with a canvas snap case.  I could not find any identifying marks on the instrument.  The instrument is approximately 21 inches long. Click on the picture for a page of images.

Dr. Bob is a offered to give it a fix.   Dr. Bob even did a video.   It came back as good as new.  Thanks Dr. Bob!

Tom Walsh of the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum took a look at some photos and gave this very nice overview on the history of this instrument.

I believe that your ukulele was made by the Harmony Co. of Chicago, Illinois in the 1920s. At the time, Harmony was owned by Sears, and is believed to have produced many (or possibly all) of the ukuleles sold by Sears under the Supertone brand name. Harmony also sold instruments to other musical instrument dealers around the country.  Your ukulele looks exactly like a high-end Supertone model that was offered by Sears during the 1920s. The headstock shape and inlay patterns are distinctive to the company that made the Supertone ukuleles, as is the shape of the bridge. At the time, Harmony did not generally put its own name in the instruments it manufactured. Instead the particular retailer would put in its own label. Your ukulele likely had a paper label in it at one time, as a matter of fact the black spot inside the soundhole may be from glue from the label.

It most likely made by Harmony and sold by Sears as a  Supertone, but it is possible it was sold through a different retailer. The 1926 date you mentioned from the bridge scoring sheets sounds about right to me. Yours is a fancy model with the “rope” trim on the top and back and up the neck. It also looks to be in very nice condition for and 80+ year old instrument.

Thank you Tom!

5 thoughts on “Estate Sale Ukulele

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