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Alicia3

1720 Vitolino Mendosa Madrid-- 18th c Guitar?

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Hello, it has been a while since I have posted here. I work for a large non-profit thrift store in the eCommerce (eBay) department and we just had this very interesting donation come in. It is a very old, ancient looking guitar of some sort. I know a bit about early violins, but virtually nothing about guitars. Unfortunately this was dropped off at one of our store locations (near Seattle, WA) without any history or provenance. We don't even know who donated it. It was passed into my hands to list online on eBay, but I want to get a second opinion before we take any action. It seems to be something pretty special, and I would hate to list it incorrectly or hastily, and want to make sure we do what is best for the charity. 

There is a handwritten label or piece of tape inside which reads "Vitolino Mendosa Madrid 1720", but I know labels often mean nothing. It is very petite for a guitar. he body measures 17" long, the upper bout is 8.5", lower 11", and it is only about 4" thick/deep. The fingerboard threat piece measures 16" long. There are TONS of weird holes on the headstock, I am not sure how many strings it once had. Sadly it is cracked completely off and it looks like there is some wood missing. The instrument body itself seems relatively sturdy, but it does have some open cracks and minor damage. 

Could this actually be an early 18th c instrument? Is this a known maker? And what sort of guitar is this, romantic? How rare is something like this, and how valuable could it be? I have absolutely NO idea. I tried to search online but didn't find much. Any information about the guitar, or thoughts on how we should proceed with properly selling it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

 

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Edited by Alicia3

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Looks like it was a pretty decent six-string guitar.  Early to mid-nineteenth century probably:  6-string guitar didn't exist yet in 1720, nor did the machine heads for tuning that this one was built to take.  Almost no one nowadays plays on this type of guitar, so it's hard to imagine anyone will want to restore yours.  But you never know...

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I guess I'm one of the guitar guys on this forum.  Anyway, the label is false.  No guitars from that period looked anything like this.  The bar frets, style of bridge, headstock and especially the heel point late 19th century, to early 20th century.  Still, quite old, for a guitar.  I would have to have it in my hands to see what country etc.  It looks very much like a Maurer or the  like.  Looks American made to me. Possible Euphonon, Prairie States etc.  Alot of "typicals" for those three and the period.  Doesn't matter anyway as the value on that guitar, minus the restoration equals a negative number. It's a "cool" market for guitar players that doesn't really translate to dollars as the instruments are more novelties that "players".  Even old New York "ice cream cone heel" Martins (king of the hill) don't go for what they really should considering the age, scarcity and condition  realities.  You will have no problem selling it as many will think it's a gold mine that "goodwill" has missed, but the reality of the guitar market is playability is king and those "parlor" guitars don't push the premium.  Fun project though.   jeff

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4 minutes ago, J-G said:

Looks like it was a pretty decent six-string guitar.  Early to mid-nineteenth century probably:  6-string guitar didn't exist yet in 1720, nor did the machine heads for tuning that this one was built to take.  Almost no one nowadays plays on this type of guitar, so it's hard to imagine anyone will want to restore yours.  But you never know...

Good points, but that heel structure didn't exist in anything I'm familiar with until that late 19th century.  Other than that, I totally agree.  jeff

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Thank you so much for the quick responses! I knew it was old, but also didn't think that the information sounded right which is why I wanted to get an idea of what it actually is. You never know though, we do sometimes get some pretty amazing treasures donated! I just wanted a second opinion before we listed it. Thank you!

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