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Endpapers: Lost and Found

Fall 2015

Collecting dust … and value

A ukulele isn’t just for Hawaiian music.  It’s a good accompaniment for all kinds of folk songs, and it’s easier to play than a guitar—small, lightweight, with just four nylon strings.

That’s what Stuart Briggs had in mind. Briggs, who served as the Dean of Men in the College’s earliest decades (pictured), bought his “uke” at the Folk Music Center on Yale Avenue in Claremont’s village back in 1974.  Since his death in 1987, that ukulele has sat on a shelf in the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations.  

Recently, the Folk Music Center inspected the instrument’s condition (very good, despite body cracks and some repairs needed for the headstock) and reported something surprising about its value.  It turns out that the instrument—which will go on display as part of the College’s memorabilia—is far more valuable today than when Dean Briggs first bought it.

Here’s what the Folk Music experts say:

What: standard ukulele

Original owner: Stuart Briggs

Brand: Martin

Purchase price in 1974: $70

Current value (without repairs): $600-800

Current value (with repairs): in excess of $1,000

When it came to ukuleles, dapper Dean Briggs certainly had impeccable taste.