The Priceless Harmonica

September 1st, 2009

Collectibles… what is it about our penchant for collecting things? It starts in youth, innocently enough. Like the young boy, we collect rocks or leaves or something found on our adventures. But it doesn’t stop there- we end up collecting things far into adulthood in one form or another. Come on, admit it… you’ve got a secret stash of coins somewhere, or stamps or maybe baseball cards that you were wise enough (or not) to save from childhood? Or maybe a hoard of leftover beanie-babies from the 90’s… Or what about spoons or thimbles that you see in tourist stores all over the country? Hmmm… plates or dishes? Figurines?

My personal favorite… fishing lures- preferably old ones. Hey, don’t laugh- I was given a prized Winchester fishing lure many years ago, previously found sitting on a shelf in an antique shop for a few bucks.  I was surprised to find it’s worth around $300 because the company only made them for a few years in the 1920’s and ’30’s. And antiques? Makes me think of the PBS show… did you see the one about the old carpet worth a half-million dollars?

I’m more of an old book person myself. I’ve got small collection going, with two favorites- a near orginal Self Reliance by Emerson, and a ragged little book from 1825 titled The Works of Dr. Benjamin Franklin.   They’re not worth much, except for the value I find in them.  


I just love the feel and weight of an old book. The presence it carries from a time no longer with us… the weathered pages, writings by amazing people from history.  I think about their lives when I hold an old book, and imagine the future they were looking at… I find notes in margins and wonder who wrote them.  

From a collecting perspective, most old books are not very good investments, and they take up a lot of space.  Mine will probably be recycled one day to another person who loves old books.  Maybe someone generations from now will turn the same pages and it will fire their imagination too.

It still seems we’re always on the lookout for a great collecting opportunity. Personally I like saving money and end up trying to shop frugally or find a deal somewhere. I end up using Amazon.com quite a bit after comparing prices.

Tonight I found a unique item- a genuine Hohner Marine Band Harmonica hand-signed by none other than Bob Dylan!

Hey, that’s cool really- who wouldn’t want something autographed by Robert Allen Zimmerman? I mean Bob Dylan? Take a look at this beauty:


Cool autograph, huh? And how much could it cost anyway?…. Ah, well…. um… here:


Zowie.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Bob Dylan. Well, sort of anyway.  It wasn’t my generation, and his music is a little different than I’m used to. But honestly some of his stuff is pretty good- strong and heartfelt, and touches something inside of us.  He is after all an American legend… Grammys, Academy Award, Rock and Roll and Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, a Pulitzer, the decades of history…  Wow.  Hey, Mr. Dylan is even going to release a Christmas album this year to benefit charity.  That’s cool.

By the way, only 100 of these harmonicas will be produced and signed by Mr. Dylan.   Quite a limited edition.   Which means that most of us probably will not be collecting this special Harp any time soon.  Although you can get seven of them for $25,000? That’s a savings of $10,000 right there man.   Ah, nope. Even the free shipping won’t make that one work.  Honestly they could be viewed as priceless.

Every now and then the internet gives us some real jewels… pearls of wisdom if you may, and sometimes we come across some really interesting things.   As engaging as this musical masterpiece was to ponder, I enjoyed the review and comments it attracted even more- at least as of today you can read this review:


And the comments (if you can read them) were quite instructional too…


One never knows where you’ll find the next million dollar idea or a real value with collectibles.  Maybe one of these harmonicas will indeed be worth a fortune in years to come.  Personally I think there are better ways to make money.

Whoever buys these things is blowing a lot of cash in the wind so to speak, so I hope it’s worth it.   Or maybe not, but at least that it’s worth it to them.  

Like my old books, at least it might hold a special place in someone’s home and heart and that’s all that really matters I suppose.  

But I think the commenters above put the whole collecting thing in a perspective worth sharing.  It’s really just stuff.

8 Responses to “The Priceless Harmonica”

  1. pamela

    I also enjoy gathering things with a bit of history to them. I’ve been editing a bit, because I allowed my enthusiasm to get out of hand, and my home began to look like a before photo. My weakness will always be books. Last year at an estate sale I found a gardening book with letters from gardening pals and sketches for gardens tucked inside.
    How cool is that?
    I heard a report that Bob Dylan’s voice might be used in some GPS models.

  2. I’m an amazon.com junkie too.

    I was never into sports as a kid but had an uncle that sent me a case of baseball cards every birthday. I never did much with them and when I outgrew them, I boxed them up and put them on the top shelf of my closet.

    Many years ago when Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa were slugging it out, I dug it out and found several rookie cards for both that were worth quite a bit of money. I boxed up the cards and put them back on my shelf. Now with all the drugs, I’m wishing I had sold them back then. I also have a collection of Garbage Pail Kids in the same box. Maybe they will be worth something someday.

    These days, I don’t have a collection of anything in particular but I do have a lot of books. I think my favorite is a first edition of “The Place No One Knew” by Porter, Beard and Brower. I also have all of Edward Abbey’s books except his one of his first ones Jonathan Troy which he hated and refused to re-publish. I found one for sale in a used book store once and opened the cover to see that it was priced at $10,000! I most carefully closed it and put it back in place.

  3. R. Sherman

    Speaking of collectible old books, my mom gave one the other day: Naval Leadership: A Guide For Junior Officers & Others, (U.S. Naval Press, 1939). My dad’s name is written in his own hand on the front cover: “Ens. K. I. Sherman, USNR.”

    It makes for some fascinating reading, even if some of it would be considered “politically incorrect” today.


  4. MObugs41

    I enjoyed this post so much. I too am a collector, a self-proclaiming collector of anything they make more than two of. Well….perhaps not quite that bad, but collect I do. Some of my favorite treasures are books left to me by my late grandfather. I, like you love the feel of an old book, I treasure the scribes inside, and wonder if the original owner cherished his treasure as much I do now.

  5. Pamela- Editing a bit? I like that… I think my enthusiasm is a bit much right now too… That’s a very cool story about the garden book! My Garmin could definitely us a voice update :)
    Ed- That’s a great baseball card story- amazing that you still have them. I need to read that one you like, and I can’t believe that book was worth so much!
    Randall- What a special book to have, with such family significance. I have an old “Bluejacket Manual” from around ’43… they really do make for engaging reading!
    MObugs41- You know, actually I share your favorite lineage- I forgot that I have a couple of very old fishing books from my grandfather too; I prize them so much I keep them tucked away… can’t believe I forgot about them! I feel the same way about books… would love to open an old/rare bookstore, the thought of it is probably a lot more fun than the reality :)

  6. I collected stamps as a kid and still have books. Today, my junk is mostly books! You mentioned fishing lures and I could probably get into that. There is a fishing lure museum in Dowagiac (where Heddon was located) about an hour SW of here–gotta get there someday.

  7. Bob dylan was genious. Would love to have that harmonica.
    I recommend you hear sonny boy williamson II, John Popper and a female
    artist named Sandra Vasquez… she’s a great blues-woman.!

  8. Thank you Ivan! I would love to have it also… I really appreciate the music recs :)
    Best regards!

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

«   - | -   »