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!

Water harvested from Mount Rainier

File this ad under Baloney Sliced on an angle.  Slice Baloney on an angle, and it is still Baloney, but it might sell better.

This ad came out of a magazine titled “Guitar Aficionado.”   Water harvested from Mount Rainier.  Genuine Glacial Milk.    In 2008 they state that they “harvested” 22,000 cases (at $100 per case = $2.2 million.)   Twelve 20 ounce bottles per case at $96 per case is about 40 cents per ounce of Glacial Milk.   To compare,  a 1 Liter of bottle water is about $1 or 2.9 cents per ounce.    22,000 cases containing twelve 20 ounce bottles is 41,250 gallons (eight or nine 5,000 gallon tanker trucks).

From this discussion, Bottle Water Economics, the cost of goods on a bottle of water is about $0.20.  Not sure if these Water Milk sellers are using glass or plastic bottles (Does Glacial Milk taste better in glass?  The ad dose not mention the bottle).  A guess at their packaging cost per case (bottles, caps, labels and box): $2 to $3.  Let’s say the cost of goods per case is $6.

Their biggest expense has to be the marketing.   From their tag line, For those who appreciate one of a kind…., they probably spent their marketing dollars on; 1. A targeted mailing list of 100K people in high income brackets. 2. Ads in glossy pubs.  They probably have an ad deal with the suite of Aficionado titles (wonder if they have a cigar in the background in the Cigar Aficionado title).    A rough rule of thumb is that the selling price is about 7 times the cost of goods, 96/7 is about $14.   We can make a guess at the marketing cost per case is in the range of $8.

The envelope numbers indicate that they cleared over a million bucks on selling water, cloudy water.


Wonder if Aquafina Pond could sell as well as Glacial Milk? It is unique. Aquafina Pond please!


I made a visit to Goode Company Seafood on Westpark drive in Houston last week.  Goode is a great restaurant, food and service is outstanding.

These oysters were as good as they get.  The St. Arnold’s Stout was a perfect compliment to the oysters.

New Pappy in the House

Introducing Missy the Papillion. We picked her up on New Year’s Day. She is the mom of Mojo. Nice relaxed dog.