A lot of people dream of uncovering a hidden treasure at a neighborhood yard sale, in a family member’s attic or even at the local Goodwill, but does it ever really happen?
Apparently, it does!
According to Kanas City’s Fox affiliate, a handmade fiddle that once belonged to the iconic Grand Ole Opry member Roy Acuff was donated anonymously to a local Goodwill store. The arrival of the obviously vintage instrument “shut the shop down” says Goodwill e-commerce manager Gary Raines.
“We were looking things up, playing the music. People were talking about it,” he said. “It was just very exciting. Like everybody else, we are going, ‘What? We can’t believe this!’”
Channel 4 also reports that a letter accompanied the fiddle explaining that the instrument was made in 1945 by Roy’s Uncle Evert from wood collected from apple trees that grew on his sister and brother-in-law’s farm. It’s original sale price: $125.
Quite a lot of money in 1945.
Even though the instrument is in dire need of attention from a luthier, bidding — which started at $5 on the Goodwill website — has now exceeded $7,000. And bidding doesn’t close until Jan. 6 at 11 p.m.
The news station was able to track down the donor, who continued to request anonymity, but who also hoped that the instrument would be restored to its “former glory.” We hope so, too.
Roy, who passed away in 1992 at the age of 89, joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1938 and was a mainstay on the legendary stage until a disagreement with management caused him to leave in the 1940s. He eventually returned to the Opry and continued to maintain a presence there into the early 1980s, even living in a house on the Opry’s grounds after the passing of his wife, Mildred.
A respected performer and musician, Roy started a music publishing house with Fred Rose in the 1940s. Among the writers in their company was Hank Williams, and one of their first hits was “Tennessee Waltz.” Although the song was a big hit for Patti Page, Roy also covered the tune, as have many others since then.
Roy may be best known for his tender performance of “Great Speckled Bird” or his rousing rendition of “Wabash Cannonball.”
While we would love to see this great piece of history purchased by some country music-loving soul who will have it restored and maybe donate it to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, there’s another part of us that would love to see it end up in the hands of a master fiddler who will make those old strings sing again.
Either way, it’s remarkable to consider what you can uncover on the shelves of your local Goodwill store!
Anyone want to go shopping?