My good friend and fellow collector Steve Maxwell of Steve Maxwell’s Vintage & Custom Drums brokered this snare drum to me a while back.
1926-27 LUDWIG & LUDWIG 4 x 14 “STIPELSILVER” (uncatalogued) DANCE MODEL
A Word About Ludwig Stipelgold:
The Stipelgold finish was first introduced to the public in the 1926 Ludwig & Ludwig Drums and Accessories catalog. The catalog states:“The New Ludwig ‘STIPELGOLD’ is a special composition producing a marvelous ‘Stippled’ effect in a bright golden hue. It is hard and durable, adhering tenaciously to the drum shell of metal or of wood.” This finish did not last too long and the 1927 Ludwig catalog introduces “The New Ludwigold Iridescent Display Finish” with only a fleeting mention of the Stipelgold finish.
The drum in this article has a “Stipelsilver” finish, same texture as Stipelgold but with a bright silver hue. I believe that this drum is a one-off/special order for a few reasons that I will explain: 1. The brass oval badge is the normal badge that is found on wood snare drums of this era as compared to the catalog description of the Stipelgold badge: “...the genuine finish bearing the name as displayed on the vent-hole nameplate...” 2. The clear interior of the solid maple shell has no black “Gold”, “Ludwigold” or “Stipelgold” stencil as was the case on Stipelgold and Ludwigold models. 3. The gem stones (see below description and photos) are definitely not standard L & L issue. 4. The seller mentioned to Steve Maxwell that he had seen the matching bass drum at a music store in the Chicago area.
The “Stipelsilver” finish is in excellent condition all around the shell. The clear maple interior is also in excellent condition. The oval badge (nameplate) is in very good shape with a tight grommet. There are 6 gem stones that “adorn” the oval badge, 3 above and 3 below. I have seen this on a few drums and I own two other Ludwig snare drums with this same type of embellishment, (see photos). All that was needed was a light dusting.
The nickel plated hardware was all there and was easy to clean and polish. There is an after-market internal heating element in the form of a light bulb attachment which tells me that this drum was definitely played.
Of-the-era calf heads and silk-wound snares rounded out this light cleaning.
As of this writing this is the only wood “Stipelsilver” snare drum that I have ever seen or heard of. A while after I purchased this drum Steve sent me photos of a 5 x 14 metal “Stipelsilver” snare that came to his attention. He tried to get it for me but the seller was not ready to sell and as the years have passed the drum is now in the wind...unless one of our fellow collectors out there was able to find it...?
As always feel free to weigh-in with your comments and related stories.