Hello I am new to your site, but I am not a harmonica player. I recently acquired a "Little Lady" Hohner harmonica. It was given to me by my late Mother, probably about 1940 or so. It is in a gold metal-type box/case that has blue scroll work around it. Underneath "Little Lady" is M. Hohner. I know that this is a real harmonica, and a key chain. What I would like to know is when it was originally made, and if it has any monetary worth. Thank you.
Doing a quick search of the archives, I came across this partial post by our club historian Mr John_Broecker:
"Hohner #39, #109 Little Lady harmonicas: The world's first known mass-produced mini harp was the Hohner #39, made from 1924 to today. In December 16th,1965, USA astronaut Wally Schirra smuggled a Little Lady aboard the Gemini 6 space craft, and played "Jingle Bells" while circling the moon.
The Little Lady is as of this date, the only musical instrument played in space, if not including the sleigh bells played by Schirra's astronaut partner, Jim(?)Stafford. The Little Lady was listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the World's Smallest Musical Instrument. It's 4 holes with 8 reeds permit playing of a complete scale, plus limited chords. The #109 is a Little Lady with a key ring attached. Both harmonicas are sold today."
Considering the last line in Mr J_B's post, perhaps he will be better able to provide more information in determining the value of your personal Little Lady.
Hello, Susan, Street Player Dude, and Harmonica Club Minis.
First, my apologies. The information I had previously posted about the Hohner Little Lady was not completely true. The USA Gemini 6 spacecraft with Shirra & Stafford, astronauts, didn't circle the moon. It orbited around the earth. The only USA spacecrafts to orbit or land on the moon were the Apollo spacecrafts, Apollo 11 through Apollo 16.
ON December 16th,1965, Shirra anounced to the Houston space center that he saw a UFO (unidentified flying object) in a polar orbit, driven by an alien in a red suit, with 8 other UFOs pulling the UFO spacecraft. Then, Shirra played "Jingle Bells" by Pierpont on his mini-harp. The event was televised, and millions of people witnessed the prank.
Today, Schirra's Little Lady and Stafford's sleigh bells are displayed in the Smithsonian Aeronautics & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. (USA).
Susan, here's a guess about the vintage of your Hohner Little Lady in a gold-colored tin box. The Little Lady harps were introduced in 1924. The type of case that the early LLs were sold in is unknown, but as early as 1936, they were sold in telescoping red cardboard boxes, maybe earlier. Later,circa 1970 (a guess), telescoping red plastic boxes were used, then black plastic and blue plastic for celebrity versions (Larry Adler, Jerry Adler, Jerry Murad, etc.).
It's only a guess that the earliest (circa 1924-1930s?) Little Ladys may have been in a gold-colored metal box, probably tin. Tin boxes were popular with other brand harmonicas from about 1900-1940.
The $ value of your Little Lady may be small, compared to it's sentimental value. The metal box may be interesting to collectors, but the harmonica isn't rare, but common. The $ value is whatever the seller and buyer agree is fair. Since we haven't seen the Little Lady, there is no way to guess a money value. Collectors, often not harmonica players, consider the condition of the harp, and it's scarcity or lack of scarcity as criteria for purchase.
Generally, the more reeds a harmonica has, the more $ it's worth. Your Little Lady has 8 reeds. It's the smallest musical instrument, and the smallest harmonica made.
There is another topic which may interest you. Click on " 101 tunes Playable on a Mini-harp," this section. I'll be posting it here in a few minutes.
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