1935 Martin D-18 Acoustic Guitar

Value (2010) | $30,000 Retail$35,000 Retail
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GUEST:
It belongs to my husband, his prize possession. He purchased it from a friend probably 20, 25 years ago. The friend, I believe, inherited from a family member and was going to sell it. He needed some money. My husband's a guitar person and he asked him how much he wanted for it, and I don't remember for sure, but I'm thinking maybe $150 that he paid him. After my husband got it home and did a little bit of research on it, he found it was more valuable than that. He felt a little guilty, so he went back and paid the friend probably a couple hundred dollars more. And he's loved it ever since.

APPRAISER:
Does he play it?

GUEST:
He does. He plays '60s music.

APPRAISER:
This is a Martin D-18. In the world of fiddle music, bluegrass music, country music this is kind of the Holy Grail. Do you know what year the guitar is?

GUEST:
Well, I thought it was a '39, but I've been told it's a '37.

APPRAISER:
Well, that's what I thought at first, too. And then once I turned it around, without even looking on the inside, I made a different decision. The guitars from 1935 to 1938 were pretty much identical, but up on the top of the peghead here, it's stamped "C.F. Martin." They only did that on this model of guitar in 1935. This is a Martin guitar made in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. The neck of the guitar is mahogany. The back and sides are mahogany. It does look like he had the tuners replaced at one time.

GUEST:
He had one of them replaced lately.

APPRAISER:
Oh, lately, recently.

GUEST:
In Des Moines, yes.

APPRAISER:
Okay. I'm going to turn the guitar back around so we can see the front of it. All the wear is natural from playing, from being used. It's seen a lot of miles and it's done a lot of work, but it's preserved really well. It's considered in great condition. It has the original bridge, which is really very nice. Usually the bridge has been replaced by this point. This is ebony, this is ebony. The top is Adirondack spruce. Another thing I really like is it does have the original case. Have you had it appraised?

GUEST:
He has sent pictures to, I believe, Dallas, Texas, to the guitar store there.

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm.

GUEST:
And I don't really remember what he told me. I know it was, like, at least $17,000 or $19,000. I can't remember for sure.

APPRAISER:
Well, in this current market, even with things being slower, in a retail environment, this guitar would be valued at $30,000 to $35,000.

GUEST:
Great. Made me a believer. He always told me it was really worth a lot, but...

APPRAISER:
So he's not in trouble for buying it.

GUEST:
(laughing) No, not at this point.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Mass Street Music
Lawrence, KS
Appraised value (2010)
$30,000 Retail$35,000 Retail
Event
Des Moines, IA (August 07, 2010)
Period
20th Century
Material
Ebony, Mahogany, Spruce, Wood

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