A bunch of posts recently went back and forth on a ukulele-oriented bulletin board, starting with a non-musician who’d interited a vintage instrument made by C.F. Martin Co., and was looking to sell it. Despite the urging of various posters that he start strumming the instrument himself, he let it be known that he really wasn’t interested in music, and had his own hobby: Collecting vintage fountain pens.
So let’s compare:
Here’s a beautiful Parker pen from around 1914 that I found on the web. It can be yours for only $2,650.
But if you’re really interested in beautiful vintage craftsmanship, how about a Martin Style 2 ukulele from the 1920s? There are quite a few of them out there for only around $1,600. With the over $1,000 you’ll save by buying the uke rather than the pen, you can buy some cool duds, too, and go around looking like this:
(That’s Cliff Edwards, aka “Ukukele Ike,” the wonderful singer and ukulele player who brought down the house when he premiered George and Ira Gershwin’s “Fascinating Rhythm” in the 1924 Broadway show “Lady Be Good.” The show featured Fred Astaire and his sister Estelle, who were huge stars in their day, but Cliff kept getting called back for encores in the middle of the show. His uke in the photo probably isn’t a Style 2, by the way. The Style 2 had a white binding around the top. More likely Cliff’s holding a Style O or Style 1. The Pete Townshend of ukulele in his day, Cliff went through them pretty quickly. But to the end he was a loyal Martin player.)