Skinner sells rare Martin D-45 guitar and other musical instruments

Skinner, Inc. will host an auction of Fine Musical Instruments on November 6 at noon in its Boston gallery. More than 350 lots are highlighted by fretted instruments; violins, bows, cellos, woodwinds, and brass instruments will feature.

Of particular note is a Martin D-45, lot 18, the first guitar of the 20th century to gain widespread popularity as a collector's item only 20 years after its production.

C.F. Martin & Company was reluctant to list the D-45 as a regular item in its catalogue. Beginning in 1933, a few dozen were made at the request of famous cowboy personalities including Gene Autry, Nolan "Cowboy Slim" Rinehart, Tex Fletcher, and Jackie Moore.


Martin D-45 lot 18 the first guitar

The Martin D-45 guitar, the
first to become widely popular

Martin added more pearl inlay on these instruments than on any other D-size guitar produced, and used only selected pieces of spruce and rosewood of exceptional quality.

The D-45 offered in the Boston auction bears the serial number 79583 and comes from the family of the original owner. It was purportedly played on the Grand Ole Opry radio show a number of times, but was never used professionally, so it has the patina of age without a career's worth of pick wear.

It is well conserved, having never been repaired or refinished, and retains all of its original parts. There were 24 D-45s built in 1941, in batches of six. The present work is the first of the fourth batch.

The auction estimate ranges between $180,000 and $240,000.

Also for sale is a Stratocaster Fender electric guitar from 1958 with original case and strap.

This guitar, to be sold as lot 8, is certified original in all its parts, without modification, and has an estimated auction value of $14,000 to $18,000.

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