COLLECTING SHEET MUSIC
COCKTAIL & PROHIBITION SHEET MUSIC
Sheet music covers can enhance any collection. No matter what you collect there will be sheet music for your collection. The covers can make a fascinating display for the home, office or back bar. They're affordable and readily available in thousands of categories and cover graphics. Pick a subject, any subject. It's all here, a pop-culture commentary of how we viewed america in teh Twentieth Century.
I collect cocktail shakers and vintage bar ware so to complement the collection I search for Cocktail and Prohibition Sheet Music such as; Rum & Coca Cola by the Andrew Sisters, Scotch & Soda by the Kingston Trio, or earlier covers such as Prohibition Blues a double collectivle selling for around a hundred dollars in good condition, or lower cost ones such as; What'll We Do On A Saturday Night When The Town Goes Dry. You will notice some early covers are in a large format 10 inches by 13 inches, these are from before our entry into World War One in1917. Around this time to conserve paper the sheet music size was reduced to 8 inches by 10 inches.
You can follow our Nations' history in song; fashion trends, events, dances, shows and movies, wars and disasters. If there was a train wreck, ship sinking, aeroplane or Zeppelin crash, or a fire tragedy there was a song about it. Though few people today walk around himing a 1911 near hit, The Triangle Fire, or the almost unforgettable 1915, As The Lusitanian Went Down, He thought of the girl who loved him, He thought of their wedding day. There are collectors everywhere vying for these swell little sheet music covers.
In the Gibson Girl Era, before suffrage, when the downtrodden womans' place was in the home, when they had just about no power at all, what dominated the sheet music cover scene at the turn of the Century? Girls. Girls and more Girls. Female faces, seductresses and sirens, heroines and beautiful girls, and later on ... Flappers! Titles like: Miss Coquette, Somebody Knows, Let Me Call You Sweetheart. It was the Pin Up Art of the day. Covers sell the song it was said, covers sell the contents. -oops, wait, that's just like today.- and sell they did. Still selling today, sheet music girlie covers are a favored collectible.
Collectible also are covers with double entendres and innuendo; Everybody's Doin' It Now, (Irving Berlin 1911) Stop It! and All Night Long. (both 1915) My special favorite of all is the smash hit sung by Al Jolson, in black face at the Winter Garden in New York City; 1916, Where did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday On Saturday Night? a second runner up to this is the lyrics of the 1922 rag time tune Nobody Lied......I missed you in the morning, Dear, my coffee was so cold. And, I'm right here to say I missed your sweet jelly roll.
Composer Gary Klein, retired Senior V.P. of Creative Services & New Media, EMI Music Publishing says; Ragtime is the most sought after vintage sheet music by todays collectors. The ragtime era dominated the music scene of the first decade of the Twentieth Century and was spread widely through sheet music and palyer piano rolls. Basically a piano style emphasizing syncopation and polyrhythm, ragtime was the foundation of modern jazz. Protoytpes of the era include Maple Leaf Rag, 1899, selling over eighty thousand copies the first year alone, and The Entertainer, 1907 both by Scott Joplin. The latter was used as the theme for the 1973 Rober Redford movie The Sting, creating a resurgence of interest in ragtime.
Paper music sales still proliferated on a large scale among professionals and play a very important part in our industry, Klein says, But gone are the large sheet music stores where one could also buy musical instruments, sign up for lessons, and listen to records in a soundproof booth before purchasing. At one time you could still buy sheet music in any five and ten cent or department store. Today it's a whole new ball game, with electronic media and synthesizers and there are other alternatives, the sheet music scene as we once knw it has vanished. Klein notes; New sheet music is selling today for around four dollars, and with great graphics it's a good future collectible.
Paul Riseman started collecting ragtime sheet music, in the 1960s', after hearing and talking with a piano player of the era. After the collection grew and infringed on his record collection he started to sell, and is now one of the largest dealers in the country. Risemans says, There are general collectors who buy everything they can get their hands on. But with such a diverse range to choose from, many collect not only by cover subject, they collect by composer, titles, lyrics, or even cover artist. For subject collectors of , for example, Transportation, there are subdivisions within divisions; trains, ocean liners, airplanes, -collectors of aviation may seek by cover or title; Lindbergh-Eagle of USA, Lucky Lindy., Like an Angel You Flew Into Everyone's Heart, or Amelia Earhart's Last Flight.
Others seek Black medleys, Broadway shows, or movies,-any Fred Astair flic has at least five or six songs-, and if your collecting by composer, Irving Berlin wrote over 1,000 popular songs starting with Alexander's Ragtime Band in 1911. Big time ragtime composers are eagerly sought such as; James Scott, Josepth Lamb, Eubie Blake, and Tom Turpin. Riseman recently sold a Scott Joplin ragtime tune, Something Doing, for $1.500.
Condition is a major factor, but keep in mind that items that are 50 to 75 years old, especially paper items, aren't normally found in mint condition. In the first third of the Century, when at least one person in the family played the piano, Riseman says, Many would break the spine of new and crisp sheet music so it would stand upright on the music stand above the keyboard and when going to parties would write their name across the front to be sure it's returned at the end of the night. So if it's right across the forehead of a Gershwin subject it hurts the value. But if the sheet music survided these and other torments, such as spilled gin martinis, and as it was replaced by newer tunes, it slept safety in the piano bench or grandmothers' attic, surviving to live for future genterations.
Riseman calls sheet music a cross-collectible. Breweriana collectors who seek advertising trays, steins, mugs and matches also value sheet music covers. They want booze songs such as Under The Anheuser-Bush, or No Beer - No Work, a 1919 Prohibition song by Sammy Edwards. Whiskey collectors seek Green River, after the liquor company. Cigar and smoking collectors call him looking for the subject cover as do golf and military collectors. There's a cover for every collector and a few framed covers will round out and enhance any collection.
Paul suggests that; If you're interested in movie memorabilia and can't afford to buy Garlands' red slippers or Fred Astaires' top hat at Christie's or the personal effects of other famous singers or composers you can always buy their sheet music.
FOR MORE INFO ON COCKTAIL SHAKER AND BAR WARE, BEL GEDDES, I HAVE A WEB SITE WITH LOTS OF INFO. IT'S VISAKAY.COM JUST PUT A FEW Ws IN FRONT OF THAT, thanks, stephen
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