1969 vintage Slingerland 'Sound King' snare drum, $1.

Ludwig.... Gretsch... Zildjian... Pearl... Slingerland.... Not names that most people have ever even heard, unless they know something about drums. I suggest you take some time to learn more about these names because failure to do so may mean passing up lots of money.  This little vintage 1969 Slingerland 'Sound King' snare drum is a great example of what I mean.

Like many other items you're likely to encounter in your travels, this drum fits into the category of the 'usable collectible.' There are are eBay bidders out there who not only collect snare drums, but they play the ones they collect. Now, just to see if we're on the same wavelength... would you suppose that these players / collectors prefer the off-brand cheapo stuff, or the popular, high-quality, brand-name stuff? Hmm...

Drums like this one have been a part of American music since before the turn of the twentieth century, and Slingerland has been making drums since 1928. Like so much Americana, some early examples of snare drums are worth a fortune. Unfortunately, though, this fact isn't much help to us as eBay sellers, since we're really unlikely to find any of those old valuable pieces at prices we can afford. But....

As with so many areas of this business, drums and drum kits offer you a sweet spot you can exploit and make money. What may surprise you is that many of the newer vintage snare drums, from as recent as the 1970s, are highly sought-after by collectors. These contemporary collectable snare drums are the ones you will find at yard sales, flea markets and estate sales across the country, often with the $1 stickers on them.

If you plan to take advantage of this snare drum opportunity, be sure to stick with the better known brands like Zildjian, Ludwig, Slingerland, Pearl or Gretsch. If you run across a snare drum from another manufacturer, and it's a really quality piece, be sure to grab it as well, especially if it's made in the U.S.

As for determining the year a particular drum was made, all you have to do is a quick Google search and numerous websites will turn up. Remember that whenever you're trying to get information in an area that has a very strong core of collector interest, there will be no shortage if information at your fingertips!   

Always remember that unless you know exactly what you're looking at, or the drum is ridiculously cheap, be very wary and do your research before buying it. Any time you spend money on something you know little or nothing about should be either completely expendable, or accompanied by a very good intuition. It's always much, much better to miss out on a chance to make money than it is to lose your own money!

As crusty as it is, this old Slingerland Sound King snare sold on eBay for $51.
 

Photo of vintage 1969 Slingerland snare drum