Wurlitzer at Estate Sale

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    redharpist on #218470

    Hi, fellow harpists!

    Well, it’s been so long since I’ve been on here that HC forgot me and I had to create a new account :/ I need to stop in more often.

    I saw an advertisement for a Wurlitzer harp. The sellers have said nothing about the instrument other than calling it a ‘grand concert with 7 pedals’. I had to ask them about whether it was in good playing condition, and they told me that it was and that it was a ‘concert type’ and that it was ‘well cared for and kept up’ (which tells me nothing about whether it has been restored). They mentioned that you had to come in person to see the price. Several people made comments on the advertisement that they always wanted a harp in their living room, but this is NOT a harp that should be used for decoration.

    Anyway, beyond that small amount of info, I know nothing. I’ve attached a few pictures of the harp and was wondering if any Wurlitzer experts might know more about the instrument. It doesn’t seem to be as big as my Venus Aria, so I’m wondering if it’s really concert grand. It’s also not as ornate as other Wurlitzers I’ve seen. Any guesses on what model it might be? Would anyone be able to take a stab at what it could be worth? I would like to have some knowledge in hand before considering a purchase since the seller obviously knows nothing about harps. I’m afraid they might have done a basic google search and slapped the highest price they saw for other Wurlitzers on it.

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    paul-knoke on #218478

    It appears to be a model A which has been extensively rebuilt, and had an extended soundboard added. I couldn’t say what it’s worth without seeing it in person. Hope this helps!

    redharpist on #218488

    Thanks, Paul! That does help 🙂 The soundboard did see a bit off given the size of the instrument. I also found a picture that had part of the number in it, and it appears to be #1233 or #1235. I would think I’d have to play it to see how it sounds to know what it’s worth might be, too.

    paul-knoke on #218502

    I have DDX #1206 that the original owner told me was built in 1923, so this one is from not too long after that.

    charles-nix on #218503

    I wonder how many harp shops there are that have the capability to change to an extended soundboard, probably regild, looks like re-veneer around the base (that looks like birdseye maple veneer), etc.

    Seems like pretty high-end work. I wonder if there are only a few shops that could handle that level and extent of work, if one of them might have records of the harp?

    Just a thought.

    Charles Nix

    redharpist on #218504

    That’s a good idea, Charles! I don’t know how many shops would do this type of restoration work, but I have run across two that are known for working on Wurlitzers when doing some research. They might be a good place to start!

    charles-nix on #218505

    Howard Bryan
    Carl Swanson
    Bell Harp

    would be three places to start that are still in business. If they don’t have a record, they might each suggest others who might have done the work.

    redharpist on #218506

    I just emailed Howard and Carl, but didn’t know about Bell Harp. I’ll look them up now and send them an email!

    redharpist on #218510

    I lost my previous post when editing to upload a smaller photo. So, I’m trying again. I have the photo of serial number attached and I’m leaning toward #1235.

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    charles-nix on #218512

    By the way, Howard Bryan Co. is now owned by Whitney and Matt Yates.

    carl-swanson on #218515

    Paul is right, the harp was extensively rebuilt, and most likely the wings were put on at that time. The harp is a small instrument, 44 or 45 strings probably. The decal on the soundboard and the 4 feet are all by Venus. So my guess is that Venus bought the instrument, rebuilt it, and sold it to the current owners. If you are thinking seriously of buying it, I would have a qualified technician look it over to make sure it is in good structural condition. If the harp is in good useable condition, and if you like the sound and want to buy it, in today’s (depressed) market, the value of this harp would be somewhere between $9,000 and $12,000.

    redharpist on #218526

    Thank you so much, Carl! You probably got an email from me yesterday that you can ignore. 😉 I’ll email Venus to see if they have any information as well. I’m glad the sale will be really close to my house so it’s not a big inconvenience to stop in to see the price. I’ll report back what I find out!

    redharpist on #218551

    It is playable, but needs to be regilded. They’re asking $7,500, which seems reasonable.

    charles-nix on #218552

    If, by any chance you decide you don’t want it, I might be interested in looking, depending on the condition of the action and rivets. The wires look pretty corroded, so it likely needs a full stringing, and probably hasn’t been regulated either. (And depending on where it is 🙂

    redharpist on #218553

    It was also regulated by Erich Rase in 2013. I think I’ll get it.

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