Roy Acuff’s fiddle turns up at Goodwill

For many charitable folks, Goodwill is a place to donate old clothes and furniture that have gone out of style. For an anonymous donor in the Kansas City area, it was apparently a place to drop off a noteworthy fiddle – specifically, a fiddle made for and played by Roy Acuff.

According to Gary Raines, who runs the e-commerce program for Goodwill of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas, someone recently donated the fiddle to a Goodwill store location in Kansas City, along with copies of authentication papers and letters detailing its history. Based on information on a sticker inside the instrument, the fiddle was made by Acuff’s uncle Evart Acuff from apple wood grown on another relative’s farm. It’s marked number 19 and dated August 1945, Maryville, TN (although the sticker misspells the town’s name as Merryville). 

Goodwill  has put the instrument up for auction on the company’s website, and the current bid is just over $8,000. Bidding will remain open until tomorrow (Saturday, January 6) at midnight eastern time. The description on the auction website does indicate that the fiddle is a little worse for the wear, noting “heavy wear from previous use” and “case/fiddle has an odor.” 

The local Fox news station in Kansas City, WDAF-TV, was able to track down the donor through names mentioned in the letters included with the fiddle. The documents included excerpts from correspondence between Acuff’s family and a man in Alabama who had found the instrument a number of years ago at a pawn shop. The news station got in touch with the man’s widow, who told them she had given the fiddle to her late husband’s brother in Kansas City when her husband died. Though the donor still wished to remain anonymous, he told the station that his purposes for donating the fiddle were twofold: he wanted to not only see the fiddle restored, but also wanted to help Goodwill.

For more information and photos of the fiddle, visit the auction website at

Share this:

About the Author

John Curtis Goad

John Goad is a graduate of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music program, with a Masters degree in both History and Appalachian Studies from ETSU.