C. F. Martin 0-28 Guitar, ca. 1895
Appraised Value: $6,000 - $7,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:04)
Mass Street Music
GUEST: My mother got that guitar, I think, in the late '30s. She had just become a first-grade schoolteacher and probably spent more than she could afford. I think back then flamenco guitar, or Spanish guitar, was popular, so I only assume she was using that either in her class or trying to learn how to play it.
APPRAISER: Tell me about this.
GUEST: Well, that was the original price tag that was in the guitar case with that, and it's purchased here locally from Johnson Hoffman store. The original price was $125.
APPRAISER: In what, about 1930?
GUEST: I think about 1938, would be my guess.
APPRAISER: Well, when you brought the guitar to me, I saw the case, I said, "That's a 1930s case." So that's what I expected to see when I opened the case. But what I saw was a much older guitar.
APPRAISER: I'm going to start at the back of the guitar.
APPRAISER: The body of the guitar is Brazilian rosewood. It's made by the C.F. Martin Guitar Company, which was started in 1833. I've dated this guitar at around mid-1890s.
GUEST: That old?
APPRAISER: So it's much older than it looks, incredibly well preserved. Beautiful original finish on the back. There's no serial number on the block inside this guitar like most modern guitars, but there's ways to figure out its age. On the inside of the guitar, it's marked "C.F. Martin & Company, New York." That was only done between 1867 and 1898. The other part of the detective work on this guitar to figure out its age was this finish. It's an amber finish. It's not a clear, natural shellac finish, which you would expect to see.
APPRAISER: They did that in the 1890s. Plus, the mechanical tuners on this guitar, instead of ivory tuners, would put it right in that 1890s range. The model of the guitar is a single 0-28. The features of the single 0-28 are a very beautiful, fine herringbone trim around the outside, Brazilian rosewood back and sides, spruce top, beautiful... it's a pyramid bridge. It's in excellent condition. It's over 110 years old, approximately. If you want to go down to the music store and take a lesson tomorrow, you could put a set of strings on it and go. Right. It's in fabulous condition. It shows extremely minimal play wear. They didn't put pick guards on these guitars until about 1930.
GUEST: Now, would this be considered a flamenco guitar, classical guitar, Spanish guitar?
APPRAISER: It would be considered a Spanish guitar. Martin didn't really make steel string guitars until the late 1920s. It does have an X bracing system in it, so you could probably put very extra light steel strings on it, but this has a fabulous sound and playability with nylon strings.
GUEST: It does.
APPRAISER: Did you have any idea of the value of this guitar?
GUEST: In the late '70s, I took an extension class in classical guitar here at the university, and on the first day of class, the teacher said he could give me $800 to $1,000 tops for it.
APPRAISER: I know you don't want to sell the guitar; you said it's a family heirloom and I can see why. In this market, I would put the insurance value of this guitar between $6,000 and $7,000.
GUEST: Excellent, excellent. Thank you.
APPRAISER: It's a fabulous thing.
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