1938 C.F. Martin 000-21 Guitar

Value (2013) | $20,000 Retail

This was owned by my cousin, Myra Ann Smith. She was like my sister. Her family raised me when I was very young. This was purchased in Shreveport, J&S Music Company, in 1939. Her mother signed the note for this guitar, and I think it was $99 in those days. She was only 15 years old when her mother bought this guitar, so that was quite an impressive sum of money for a 15-year-old girl. That's Myra when she was about 18 years old. That's in front of the house we lived in in Shreveport. I remember her sitting on the porch many times playing the guitar, writing songs. Myra was an accomplished musician. She wrote a lot of hit songs. As you can see, Myra was quite an independent-looking lady. Started Ram Records. She had the first recording studio in Shreveport back in about 1957, so she had a recording studio, a record label, song-writing career, and was quite a gifted lady. This guitar was her favorite. It was appreciated by her and she took great care of it. Myra died in 1989 and I acquired the guitar at that time.

This is a C.F. Martin guitar. It's a 000-21 Martin. It's actually made in 1938, dating the serial number. It's got Brazilian rosewood back and sides, Brazilian rosewood now being illegal to import, but at the time, it was used on Martin's highest grade guitars. This guitar also has a lot of other high grade things about it. It's got snowflake, mother-of-pearl inlays on the ebony fingerboard. It's got a nice ebony bridge that has never been shaved down, by the way, which a lot of them do get shaved down in amateur neck reset attempts. It also has herringbone trim around the sound hole. This wasn't the top of the line for Martin, but it was up there. It was the second or third best guitar that they made. I see. It has the forward bracing, which people like. This is pretty much the best time period for Martin guitars. And the condition is original. It's never had any refinish or retouching, which makes it unusual.

She played it. It wasn't just all for show, as you can see.

I see from the pick wear that it was played a lot. It's a really fabulous guitar. It's a finger picking guitar with a rather wide nut. At retail, the guitar without any historical accessories would bring $20,000 in today's market.

Well, that's... That's an eye-opener, yeah. That's much, much higher than I could even have imagined.

With the historical associations, I could see it being worth a few thousand dollars more.

That's great to hear, and I'm sure she would be pleased to know it and I just wish she could be here also.

Appraisal Details

Lawrence Cavalieri Fine Musical Instruments
Newburyport, MA
Appraised value (2013)
$20,000 Retail
Baton Rouge, LA (July 27, 2013)

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