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Rare - Civil War era Tambourine


Product Description

This is a rare and unusual item being offered, it is a Civil War era Tambourine. It measures  9 ½” x 2” with a finger hole, along with three set of four tin shakers (jangles). Originally this crude instrument would have had a rawhide head, similar to a drum head. Over time these heads would dry out and crack and would be removed, but continued use without the head was common. Except for some small tack holes, there is no sign or discolored area of where the head would have been, indicating it was used that way almost its entire life.

Singing was a very important part of soldier’s lives. Both Union and Confederate soldiers, more than American soldiers of any other time period, deserve to be called “singing soldiers”. A period photograph shows a Civil War string band, along with a member using a tambourine (see pictures).

In my book “The Civil War Soldier – His Personal Items”, I show a similar soldier’s tambourine (see pictures). The skin head of that tambourine is decorated with an ink scene titled "Winter Camp 1863 1864". It depicts log huts in the foreground including American flag, and Sibley tents in the background. Soldiers in overcoats in formation, while others scattered about, including guards, and one man with an axe chopping wood.

This is a great period instrument and remains in very nice condition, only some very light surface rust on the tin shakers. It is a very difficult piece to find, I only came across a couple in the last 25+ years. It would make a great addition to a soldier’s personal effects or in a camp scene – actually it could still be used today.

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$8.00 (Fixed shipping cost)