Those who keep an eye on the values of older fretted stringed instruments have watched the prices steadily climb of late when these rare specimens are offered for sale. Especially the Gibson banjos from the 1930s, Gibson mandolins from the early 1920s, and Martin guitars from the ’30s and early ’40s have seen their asking and selling prices double – or even triple – inside of a few years’ time.
These instruments are generically described as “pre war instruments,” referring to the cessation in production when the United States entered WWII late in 1941. It is commonly held by serious students of these seminal bluegrass instruments that the high standards of quality in effect prior to the war were slow to return, if ever, and collectors have been bidding the values of the few remaining examples of this period ever higher as a result.
As a demonstration of these escalating values, we see that just last week, a 1942 Martin D-45 guitar – admittedly the rarest and most highly prized steel string guitar in existence – sold on eBay for $255,100. If you follow these sorts of transactions, or simply have an interest in this world of rare instrument collectors and traders, you may enjoy visiting the eBay auction page for this sale before it is retired. The seller has posted dozens of photos as well as a seller’s diary that nicely tracks the progress of the auction, which concluded on February 24.