Bob Dylan's personally owned and stage-played Honer harmonica in its original box signed by Dylan on the top and dated 1961, the year he first arrived in NYC.
This Honer Marine Band harmonica was given to Peter McKenzie, the youngest member of the McKenzie family with whom Dylan lived sporadically during 1961 shortly after arriving in NYC, a period that has been chronicled extensively by Dylan and others. It was during this time that Dylan's harmonica playing got him his first professional recording sessions, as an accompanist for Carolyn Hester and Harry Belafonte. When Dylan started playing clubs and recording on his own, the harmonica was a distinctive and prominent part of his sound. According to Jeff Gold, noted Dylan collector and dealer in music memorabilia, there are only a couple of signed Dylan items dated 1961 that are known to exist. The harmonica itself is in nice condition. The lid of the box is tender, being partially split along the seam where it attaches to the box, and there is a slight sepia patina of age, however the signature and date are strong and clear. The harmonica is housed in a handsome clamshell box with a recessed compartment. This item is accompanied by a letter of provenance from Jeff Gold, as well as a letter of authentication from certified forensics examiner James Blanco (formerly of the US Treasury Dept.) who compared it to over 100 known examples of Dylan's writing from this period. This is a remarkable artifact from absolute ground zero of Dylan's career.