C. F. Martin 0-28 Guitar, ca. 1895

Value (2010) | $6,000 Insurance$7,000 Insurance
Watch  

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.

GUEST:
Ah.

APPRAISER:
I'm going to start at the back of the guitar.

GUEST:
Okay.

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.

GUEST:
Huh.

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.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Mass Street Music
Lawrence, KS
Appraised value (2010)
$6,000 Insurance$7,000 Insurance
Event
San Diego, CA (June 12, 2010)
Period
19th Century
Material
Metal, Rosewood, Spruce, Wood

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.