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Percussion Instruments

Percussion instruments are instruments that produce sound when they are struck, shaken, or scraped. Drums, cymbals, tambourines, maracas, bells, blocks, xylophones, and many other instruments are classified as percussion. These instruments are believed to be the oldest in existence, dating back thousands of years. Early percussion instruments were made of natural materials including wood, stone, bone, shells, and animal hides.

Collectors have a wide variety of vintage percussion instruments to choose from and may specialize in one type of instrument. Some collectors may focus on primitive percussion instruments or instruments from different geographical locations. Others may collect more recent drum sets or mallet instruments such as xylophones or marimbas.

Of interest to many collectors are vintage drum sets, also called drum kits. A drum set consists of a bass drum, snare drum, one or more tom toms, and assorted cymbals. The drum set came into being in the late 1800s when band concerts began to be performed indoors. The adjustable snare drum stand was invented in 1898 and the spring-loaded bass drum pedal in 1909. In 1918, the Ludwig company began selling the first complete drum set, the Jazz-Er-Up. The set included a bass drum, snare drum, wooden block, and cymbal.


Quick Facts

  • A 100-piece marimba orchestra played at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933 went on to become the International Marimba Symphony Orchestra. Instruments from this orchestra are now housed at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania
  • Gene Krupa, drummer for the Benny Goodman big band in the '30s and '40s, was considered to be the first superstar drummer. His drum set is now on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History
  • In December 2015, Julien's Auction House in Beverly Hills sold the 1963 Ludwig drum kit that Ringo Starr used during his performances with the Beatles from May 1963 to February 1964. The Oyster Black Pearl kit sold for $2.110 million

Recommended Items at Auction

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Vintage Pearl Export Series 5 Pc Drum Set
Dec 02, 5:00 PM EST
Vintage Pearl Export Series 5 Pc Drum Set
by Plain City Auction
Est: $5- $100
$1005 Bids
Zildjan HIHAT 14 in. Double Cymbal Set w Pearl Stand and Footpedal
Dec 02, 5:00 PM EST
Zildjan HIHAT 14 in. Double Cymbal Set w Pearl Stand and Footpedal
by Plain City Auction
Est: $5- $100
$32 Bids
Antique Field Band Snare Drum
Dec 03, 10:00 AM EST
Antique Field Band Snare Drum
by Roland Auctions NY
Est: $400- $600
$2001 Bid
Roc n Soc Drum Seat
Dec 02, 5:00 PM EST
Roc n Soc Drum Seat
by Plain City Auction
Est: $5- $100
$21 Bid
Zildjan CRASH 16 in. Cymbal w Pearl Stand
Dec 02, 5:00 PM EST
Zildjan CRASH 16 in. Cymbal w Pearl Stand
by Plain City Auction
Est: $5- $100
$21 Bid
Small Advertising Boxes - Medicine Drug Home Vanity
Dec 02, 5:00 PM EST
Small Advertising Boxes - Medicine Drug Home Vanity
by Plain City Auction
Est: $5- $100
$21 Bid
Small Advertising Boxes - Medicine Drug Home Vanity
Dec 02, 5:00 PM EST
Small Advertising Boxes - Medicine Drug Home Vanity
by Plain City Auction
Est: $5- $100
$21 Bid
Small Advertising Boxes - Medicine Drug Home Vanity
Dec 02, 5:00 PM EST
Small Advertising Boxes - Medicine Drug Home Vanity
by Plain City Auction
Est: $5- $100
$21 Bid
Vintage 1979 Pennzoil Oil Drum
Dec 04, 10:00 AM MST
Vintage 1979 Pennzoil Oil Drum
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
A large vintage wooden drum
Nov 28, 10:00 AM AEDT
A large vintage wooden drum
by Gibson's Auctions
Est: AUD50- AUD100
AUD201 Bid
Wood & Rawhide Tribal Style Drum
Dec 03, 10:00 AM MST
Wood & Rawhide Tribal Style Drum
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Roland Hand Sonic 10 Electronic Drum Pad - comes with original box, manual, cables, etc.
Dec 01, 7:00 PM AEDT
Roland Hand Sonic 10 Electronic Drum Pad - comes with original box, manual, cables, etc.
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD201 Bid
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Simmons Electric Drum Kit
Dec 06, 9:00 AM EST
Simmons Electric Drum Kit
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $200- $800
$200 Bids
Antique Wooden Drum
Dec 03, 12:00 PM PST
Antique Wooden Drum
by Jumbo Auction House
Est: $300- $500
$1000 Bids
Vintage Hand Painted Drum Mounted as a Table
Dec 03, 9:30 AM EST
Vintage Hand Painted Drum Mounted as a Table
by Rafael Osona Auctions
Est: $500- $700
$4000 Bids
GROSSE MARSCHTROMMEL
Dec 04, 9:30 AM CET
GROSSE MARSCHTROMMEL
by Berliner Auktionshaus GmbH & Co. KG
Est: €0- €0
€400 Bids
Drum bureau of English taste, mid-20th century
Dec 14, 5:00 PM CET
Drum bureau of English taste, mid-20th century
by Ansorena
Est: €0- €330
€4400 Bids
19TH C PARADE DRUM
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
19TH C PARADE DRUM
by D. L. Straight Auctioneers
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
Marschtrommel
Dec 03, 9:30 AM CET
Marschtrommel
by Berliner Auktionshaus GmbH & Co. KG
Est: €0- €0
€450 Bids
Three pine cable drums - 23.75in, 33.5in & 37.5in. (3)
Dec 03, 9:00 AM GMT
Three pine cable drums - 23.75in, 33.5in & 37.5in. (3)
by Railtons
Est: £20- £30
£100 Bids
TACK DECORATED FIELD DRUM BY THOMAS BRINGHURST.
Dec 13, 9:00 AM EST
TACK DECORATED FIELD DRUM BY THOMAS BRINGHURST.
by Morphy Auctions
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Percussion Instruments


Plain City Auction

Plain City Auction

Bargain Hunt Auctions

Bargain Hunt Auctions

EJ'S Auction & Appraisal

EJ'S Auction & Appraisal

Berliner Auktionshaus GmbH & Co. KG

Berliner Auktionshaus GmbH & Co. KG