Why are old drum keys so expensive?

MrPockets

Gold Member
It is a piece of metal with a square lug bit you can twist with your hand.

Who would pay $50-$100 for a drum key when one could be had for $3? Are people pricing it based on how much the metal is worth?

Forget LEGO sets or NFTs. Vintage drum keys are the new item to hold onto for value.
 

Fritz Frigursson

Senior Member
because people are willing to pay that much for one. "it's so simple, why does it cost so much" can be said for many things. have you seen those "premium" drum keys custom brands make? they cost a lot of money for not a lot of work yet they cost a fortune. but people still buy them because they look nice in instagram pictures and can show it off to people.
 

roncadillac

Member
I'm totally guessing/assuming but I wouldn't be surprised if it's a niche collector's thing. I would take it as far as saying I wouldn't be surprised if a majority of these people are not even drummers... Just have a random collection hobby. Like postage stamps or bottle caps.
 

roncadillac

Member
because people are willing to pay that much for one. "it's so simple, why does it cost so much" can be said for many things. have you seen those "premium" drum keys custom brands make? they cost a lot of money for not a lot of work yet they cost a fortune. but people still buy them because they look nice in instagram pictures and can show it off to people.

Same thing as when someone comes on here to get a kit valued for sale... We can tell you what a fair price is but ultimately any object's "worth" is what someone is willing to pay/give for it.

In a prior life I had a hobby of collecting and using vintage shaving devices such as safety razors (for example). It's very very common for people to buy, and use, an old rusty razor that was used by strangers decades ago... One person would never dream of using another person's personal care item at all while another person would willingly spend hundreds of dollars for the opportunity.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Who would pay $50-$100 for a drum key when one could be had for $3? Are people pricing it based on how much the metal is worth?
Well ..... for $3, you can get a Gibraltar. So THAT market and price point is covered. Once you step into name brand (Tama, Yamaha, Pearl, Ludwig, Gretsch) drum keys, There's a price jump. Sometimes just a buck or two, sometimes more.

Once you go back several years/decades, you find design changes. So that kicks in the old collectible, geek-out gene ...... and you get guys paying $50 for a drum key. And it's simple supply and demand. If there were 100,000 Premier slotted drum keys on the market, and only 5 buyers ..... they wouldn't be fetching $30+. But there's more demand than supply.

Same goes for lots of stuff. My old Hot Wheels Red Lines ...... original 30 cent toys I was able to get over $100 each, for.
 
Are they actually selling or is it just somebody trying to find that one person that pays $50? I also see those vintage Ludwig or Rogers heads on ebay for outrageous prices, but I can't imagine that people really buy it. Maybe a bass drum resonant head but a bunch of beat up tom batter heads???
Not sure about the demand - Sonor still produces slotted keys and they fit Premier rods (maybe not all of them, but the ones I've tried worked).
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Append the title "vintage" to it, and a box of Kleenex from the '70s is suddenly worth three-hundred bucks. It isn't rational, but people and money have a history of engaging in silly relations.
 

roncadillac

Member
Are they actually selling or is it just somebody trying to find that one person that pays $50? I also see those vintage Ludwig or Rogers heads on ebay for outrageous prices, but I can't imagine that people really buy it. Maybe a bass drum resonant head but a bunch of beat up tom batter heads???
Not sure about the demand - Sonor still produces slotted keys and they fit Premier rods (maybe not all of them, but the ones I've tried worked).

That's true. It's not like a drum key takes up a lot of space so really so someone could just let a drum key sit on ebay at $50 in hopes someone buys it.
 
I took a quick look on ebay: some actually sold for more than $50 but those were either special models (non standard rods, gold plating and such) or some stylish keys by brands like Gretsch and Slingerland. If you look at some collections on drum forums, it doesn't surprise me that some people don't mind spending $50 on a key just to have it. Personally, I'd rather get 20 new keys for that amount of money because I'll lose them anyway... 🙃
 

roncadillac

Member
I took a quick look on ebay: some actually sold for more than $50 but those were either special models (non standard rods, gold plating and such) or some stylish keys by brands like Gretsch and Slingerland. If you look at some collections on drum forums, it doesn't surprise me that some people don't mind spending $50 on a key just to have it. Personally, I'd rather get 20 new keys for that amount of money because I'll lose them anyway... 🙃
Man I've got so many drum keys that I keep them stashed around my house, several in my stick bag, a few in my car, a few at the rehearsal space, one on a clip on my snare drum case.... And I've still got a bag full on top of all of those lol.
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
Man I've got so many drum keys that I keep them stashed around my house, several in my stick bag, a few in my car, a few at the rehearsal space, one on a clip on my snare drum case.... And I've still got a bag full on top of all of those lol.
I got 3...

One from my DW pedal, an Evan's Torque Key, and a random one I got at GC for free when buying a cymbal.
 
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