1941 C. F. Martin 000-42 Guitar
Appraised Value: $65,000 - $75,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:48)
Mass Street Music
GUEST: My great-uncle used to play live on the radio. "Cowboy Slim" is what he went by. And in 1952 a buddy of his wanted to sell him this guitar. Initially he didn't have the money, he didn't want to buy it. His friend told him to pay him when got the money, so he paid him the $50 when he got the money. And he passed away in December of 1989, and then I got it.
APPRAISER: Have you had the guitar appraised, have you had it evaluated?
GUEST: Yeah, years ago, in the early '90s. They appraised it from pictures that I sent off, and they said around $10,000. And they were interested in buying it if I wanted to sell it, which seemed unusual.
APPRAISER: You didn't sell it. Well, that's probably a good thing. This is a C.F. Martin guitar. C.F. Martin guitars started in New York City in 1833. By the time this guitar was made, they had moved to Nazareth, Pennsylvania, where they are today. It's a 42 style. 42 means that it has the pearl around the body. It doesn't have the pearl around the back and sides. It's also called the 000. That's the body size. This guitar was made in 1941. 1942 was the World War. They quit making fancy things for a while. So 1942 was the last year that they made this model.
APPRAISER: They did make a fancier model. They made a 000-45. But, for some reason, the 000-42 has become the rarest and hardest to find of the pearl guitars. It was kind of the poor man's pearl guitar. It was an inexpensive guitar from day one, but it only had the pearl on the front. From the back we can see that it's Brazilian rosewood, has standard ivoroid trim, but no pearl. The tuners that they used back in the '30s, which was kind of the golden era of Martin guitars, weren't available during the war, so they used a lower grade tuner. The fact that it has these lower grade tuners and somebody didn't go back later and put more expensive tuners on it is really a good thing, because that preserves the originality of the guitar. I'm going to go back to the front of the guitar. It has an ebony bridge and ebony fretboard that's bound in ivoroid. This is the nicest example of this guitar I have seen. This guitar was made popular about ten years ago by Eric Clapton on the Unplugged album. He was playing a 000-42. This is an extraordinarily nice, clean example. I would put the value of this guitar in a retail environment between $65,000 and $75,000.
GUEST: That's pretty good.
APPRAISER: That sound good to you?
GUEST: Yeah. Not for sale, but it sounds good.
APPRAISER: Well, good, good. It's in excellent playing condition, so there's no reason not to play it.
APPRAISER: And in this environment, a lot of things have gone down in value. It's always... it's going to hold its value in any environment.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.