Martin & Coupa Guitar, ca. 1845
Well, just basically this guitar was given to me by my husband's cousin. It's been in their family for a long time. My husband learned to play the guitar on it, my children have learned to play the guitar on it. A friend of mine told me one time maybe I shouldn't let it stand in the corner in the case. And I said, "Why?" And so it's always been a question about is it real or is it not?
How old are your kids?
36, 35, 34 and 27.
And they all played on this guitar?
It's been around a long time and it's still playable. What this guitar is is from the Martin Company. This guitar was made in about 1845.
This guitar was made when Martin was collaborating with John Coupa. And the label reads "Martin & Coupa, 385 Broadway." And the fascinating thing to me is that it says second floor. You realize they weren't a big, huge company on the main street of town. They were upstairs. The top is spruce, the fingerboard is ebony. The peg head is painted black, it's not an ebony peg head. It's what they call a Stauffer headstock. When you see this kind of curlicue headstock with all the tuners on one side, mostly what you think about are Fender electrics. Everybody thinks that Fender invented the six on one side. Well, this guitar had these kind of tuners 100 years before Fender even existed. I'm going to do a quick look on the back of the guitar so you can see... It's beautiful Brazilian rosewood back and sides. A painted black neck. The Stauffer headstock has beautiful engraving on it. Normally, on this... this is a little bit lower end model. It's not real, real fancy. Normally, it didn't have this headstock. To get the fancy headstock, you had to pay $1. And so somebody was splurging on this thing. What's wonderful about it is that it's in spectacular original condition. Nicks, scratches and dings, but all original finish, all original binding, original neck. Usually with a guitar of this age, the bridge has given up, the saddle has given up. It's all still intact. Your kids are playing on it. It's mind boggling that it's done so well. It's a testament to what that company has done. I don't know if you have an idea of the value or not. To me, the value is kind of second to the fact that you have it and the condition of it, but it has a significant value. Estimation of its retail value is somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000.
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.