National Tri-cone Steel Guitars, ca. 1934
You've brought us an extra special treat today. We get to take a look at your identical twins.
They are my twins.
These are National steel guitars from about 1934, and these are special in that they are resonator guitars, and they have a very unique design, where instead of being a regular wooden box, we have these wonderful resonator cones, which actually are quite a bit louder than the usual acoustic guitar. And these are affectionately known as National steel guitars, but they're not really steel. They're actually made of brass, and they're covered with a nickel silver. The engraving that we find on these is identical on the two guitars. This one's their Lily of the Valley engraving. It's what they called their style three. And it's a pretty fancy engraving, also.
Up at the top, we have the National nameplate. And that's engraved into a faceplate of pearloid, which is like an artificial mother of pearl, very popular at the time. And we have our high nut here, which lifts the strings very high off the fingerboard so that it can be played with a metal slide. Beautiful ebony fingerboard with diamond inlays. And we come down into the sound chamber where we have this beautiful latticework done in metal. That's a very distinctive design. You won't find that in any other instrument. Down here, behind this screen, we have the three resonator cones that actually vibrate and give it almost a sound that's more electric than acoustic. Here we see more exquisite engraving on the sides, and also on the back. And here we see the square neck, which is the signature of the lap-style guitar, and not the round neck of a Spanish guitar. Now, we're going to lay it down. Now, what is so special about these was that they are actually consecutive serial numbers. Here we have number 2601, and this is actually number 2600, which happened to you completely by coincidence, right?
It did. When I opened up the box from shipping it here, and I first saw that, my eyes just got huge. I said, "Oh, I have a pair." That's all I thought of.
Well, these are in wonderful condition. I would estimate their value, each, at about $5,000, but because you have a pair that are consecutive serial numbers, this might be very meaningful to a particular collector who specializes in this sort of thing. So I'd probably add another 20%.
Thank you so much for bringing them in today. Thank you. It was a real treat to get a look at your twins.
Thank you. (playing blues tune) Beautiful sound.
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