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This is a list of the 91 original (pre-war) Martin D-45s made by C.F. Martin & Co. between the years 1933 and 1942, generally recognized to the most desired, and highly valued, acoustic guitars ever made; in "American Guitars - An Illustrated History", author Tom Wheeler describes them as "among American guitar's irreplaceable treasures".[1] It is not known exactly how many still survive, however as information is available in print form or via web information, sale inventories, and so on it can be collated here.

Serial numbers and years, with notes as available Edit

The listing of serial numbers presented below is from Mike Longworth's book "Martin Guitars - A History",[2] while associated information is from other sources as available, one particularly valuable source being the Martin D-45 Master List maintained by Robert (Bob) Hamilton and Bruce Herrmann.[3] Instruments marked "[E]" are those known to exist according to either information contained herein or a separate version of the Martin D-45 Master List.[4]

s/nYear[E]Description
53177 1933 [E] Special order for Gene Autry, "Gene Autry" on fingerboard, 12 fret model with slotted head and "torch" inlay on headstock, currently in the Autry National Center in Los Angeles; photographs and other information available here.[5]
56394 1934 [E] Made for Jackie "Kid" Moore, 12 fret model with solid headstock featuring "torch" inlay. Presently in Hank Risan's Museum of Modern Instruments (MOMI) collection.[6] Featured in "Acoustic Guitar" "Great Acoustics" section, December 1999.[7]
63715 1936 [E] First 14 fret model (14 frets clear of the body), special wide body (16 1/4 Inches). On loan to, and on display at, the Martin Museum in Nazareth from collector Sten Juhlas according to.[8][9] Shown in this video[10] from the Martin Museum.
64890 1936 [E] D-45S Special wide body (16 1/4 Inches). Illustrated on p. 207 of Arlen Roth, "Complete Acoustic Guitar", 1985 (photo provided by Gruhn Guitars, Nashville),[11] also on p. 263 of the hardcover version of George Gruhn/Walter Carter book "Acoustic Guitars and Other Fretted Instruments" where it is credited to "Steve Shaw", therefore potentially included in the collection of the late Steven Kern Shaw (refer "Miscellaneous" section). Now in the collection of Mac Yasuda.
65265 1937   2 pick guards according to the D-45 master list; current existence not known
67460 1937 [E] Third and last 12 fret model, all remainder are 14 frets; the only 12 fret instrument with solid (non slotted) head and vertical "C F Martin" inlay as per 14-fret models. Made for Harold A. Wagler, initials "HAW" in fingerboard. Illustrated on p. 248 of[12] and on page 263 of the hardcover version of George Gruhn/Walter Carter book "Acoustic Guitars and Other Fretted Instruments". Additional background information and photos of this guitar available here.[13]
70592 1938 [E][4]
70593 1938 [E] In the collection of Mac Yasuda, illustrated in the "Martin Guitar Book", also "The Vintage Guitar Vol. 3"
70594 1938
71039 1938 [E] Previously owned by Red Smiley, now in the collection of Mac Yasuda,[14] illustrations (from Japanese magazine) here.[15] This instrument has ornamental rhinestones inserted into the head, snowflake inlays have been replaced by more "modern" hexagons (engraved "RED" and "D-45" at the 12th and 19th frets, respectively), also the original D-45 back has been replaced by a later D-28 back at some point. Now in the collection of Mac Yasuda. Illustrated in his book "Rhinestones and Twanging Tones".
71040 1938 [E] Owned at some point by David Bromberg, many repaired cracks in top, illustrated here.[16] At some time in Japan, illustrations (from Japanese magazine) here.[15] For sale at Gruhn in 2009 for $110,000 (inventory no. AA7972), additional discussion here.[17] Now in the collection of Mac Yasuda. Illustrated in his book "Rhinestones and Twanging Tones
71041 1938 [E] Known to exist, cited in a post by John Arnold in this web page.,[18] having been repaired in his workshop. It is cited as having forward-X bracing, snowflake inlay and being in excellent condition.
71663 1938 [E] Special order with unique (?, for a D-45) sunburst top, tortoiseshell headstock veneer, F-9 (archtop) style hexagon fingerboard inlays (the latter later adopted as standard on D-45s from 1939 onwards) and additional white stripes on edges of fingerboard (also as per F-9 archtop). The "Teeter Guitar", owned at one time by noted repairman Don Teeter and illustrated on the cover his 1980 book "Acoustic Guitar: Adjustment, Care, Maintenance and Repair Volume II",[19] also featured on the cover of "Frets" magazine, May 1988 and in the "Encore" section of "Guitar Player" magazine, February 1992[20] and as a foldout on page 49 of the 1st edition of Walter Carter's Martin book. Sold by Lark Street Music in 1987 for $18,000 according to this interview with Buzzy Levine;[21] presently in Hank Risan's Museum of Modern Instruments (MOMI) collection.[6] Some additional discussion of this instrument here[22]
71664 1938 [E] Apparently in Japan, illustrated on pp. 23–24 of the (Japanese) "Martin Vintage Guitar Guide",[23] pages also reproduced here[18] Now in US. In the collection of Mac Yasuda.
71665 1938 [E] "Possibly the last D-45 with snowflake inlays in fretboard", illustrated here.[3] illustrated in "The Vintage Guitar Vol. 3"
72160 1939 [E] Known to exist, cited in a post by John Arnold in this web page,[18] formerly owned by Jim Rickard.[24] This instrument was used by Tony Rice on one track "I Don’t Want Your Mandolins Mister" of his 1994 duet CD "Tone Poems" with David Grisman, and is illustrated on the cover of "Acoustic Guitar" magazine, January 1996, reproduced here.[25]
72161 1939
72162 1939
72460 1939 [E] D-45S. The 'S' was for a 'special neck' which was narrower than 1 11/16". Known to exist, cited in a post by John Arnold in this web page,[18] having been for sale at Gruhn around 1990, said to be on consignment for Wilma Lee Cooper, was in somewhat poor condition. Now restored by TJ Thompson after 8 years. In the collection Mac Yasuda.Illustrated his book "Rhinestones and Twanging Tones".
72740 1939 [E] Known to exist, repaired by Martin during the period 1966-2001 according to this blog post.[26]
72741 1939 [E] "Mother Maybelle", owned by Stephen Stills;[3] some additional information here[27]
72742 1939
73126 1939
73127 1939 [E][4] In the collection of Mac Yasuda.
73128 1939 [E] Owned at one time by Johnny Smith.[3] Seen at Gruhn Guitars, January 2013;[18] advertised for sale by Steve Swan Guitars, February 2015,[28] for $150,000, since removed from sale; additional picture here[29]
73129 1939 [E] Mentioned and illustrated in this thread,[30] for sale via Gruhn Guitars in 2012, asking price $185,000 (inventory no. AA8729). Purchased by Jim Irsay, CEO/Owner of the Indianapolis Colts.[31]
73130 1939 [E] Known to exist, cited in a post by John Arnold in this web page[18] having been repaired in his workshop, cited as being sold by Gruhn: most likely as illustrated here[32] (archived copy of web page from 2007)
73131 1939 [E][4] Now in Japan.
74011 1939 [E] D-45S Special order for country singer Ken MacKenzie, with singer's name inlaid in the fingerboard, see photos here.[33] Appears (with 11 other prewar D-45s) in a photograph of guitars from the Mac Yasuda collection in "The Vintage Guitar volume 3", copy and relevant information here[34] Illustrated Mac Yasuda's book "Rhinestones and Twanging Tones".
74161 1940 [E] Previously owned by the well known Martin historian Mike Longworth and was on display in the Martin museum from 1974 to 1995 according to this article[35] prior to being consigned to auction at Christie's in April 1995 (the guitar failed to sell at that time). A 1981 photograph of this guitar in the Martin museum is available here.[36]
74162 1940
74163 1940 [E] Single owner till 1987; sold by Gruhn Guitars in 2019, see here;[37] original finish, sale price $335,000. Description on the Gruhn site here (inventory number: AA10792).[38]
74164 1940
74165 1940 [E] Presently owned by Marty Stuart, previously by Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, Jr., see here;[30] also additional information below, in "Miscellaneous" section.
74166 1940 [E][4]
75100 1940 [E][4] Once owned by Bernie Leaden of Eagles. Now in the collection of Mac Yasuda.
75101 1940 [E] Sold by Gruhn Guitars in 2012 (inventory number AA6071), illustrated at,[3] see also,[39] the same instrument illustrated with a sold price $165,000 on this web page about the 2012 Dallas International Guitar Festival.[40]
75102 1940 [E][4]
75103 1940
75104 1940 [E] Known to exist, repaired by Martin during the period 1966-2001 according to this blog post;[26] currently in Japan in the collection of the well known popular singer Fukuyama Masaharu.[30]
75105 1940 [E] Known to exist, cited in a post by John Arnold in this web page,[18] seen at Gruhn Guitars. Refinished.
75289 1940 [E] D-45L (Left hand). In the same family since the 1940s, in the United States.[41] Original finish.
75593 1940
75594 1940 [E] In the collection of Mac Yasuda, illustrated on the front cover of the "Martin Guitar Book", see reference below
75595 1940 [E] Nicknamed "Old Red", formerly owned by Grant Boatright, see here.[42] This guitar is presently in the collection of Jonathan Kellerman,[3] and is included (among other guitars from his collection) in an article in "Vintage Guitar", October 2005.[43]
75596 1940 [E] Illustrated on a Japanese website here,[44] also on pp. 27–28 of the (Japanese) "Martin Vintage Guitar Guide",[23] pages also reproduced here.[18] Currently in the collection of Nakakita Hideki, where it has been nicknamed Asano Yoshinaga after a 16th Century Japanese samurai warrior.[30]
75597 1940
75598 1940 [E] Known to exist, cited in a post by John Arnold in this web page,[18] having been repaired in his workshop
77060 1941
77061 1941
77062 1941
77063 1941 [E] Purchased new in 1941, currently in the possession of the original owner's daughter, see this post on the UMGF guitar forum.[45]
77064 1941 [E] Featured in "The History of the American Guitar" by Tony Bacon (UK edition), see here[46]
77065 1941 [E] Previously sold by Elderly Instruments here (archived page from 2004, last advertised price $110,000 (previously $140,000)).[47] Apparently now in Japan, illustrated on pp. 29–30 of the (Japanese) "Martin Vintage Guitar Guide",[23] pages also reproduced here,[18] with incorrect serial number ("77066")
78629 1941 [E] Surfaced in 2015, for sale at Norman's Rare Guitars according to information in this thread,[48] asking price $285,000 (later $250,000 as at November 2015). 2 YouTube videos available here;[49][50] subsequently appears in the collection of the Songbirds Guitar Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, refer this "exhibits" page[51] and virtual museum tour.[52]
78630 1941
78631 1941 [E] Listed for sale in Christie's auction, 10 October 2008, pictures here,[53] also again on April 2009 (Sale 2152 Lot 31)[54] with a low estimate ($30,000-$40,000) but did not sell at that time. Listed again for auction at Skinner's, Boston Auction 2892B Lot 23, with same estimated sale price ($30,000-$40,000), as at May 2016.,[55] sold for $27,060 including buyer's premium. Finish and several key parts non-original, top significantly thinned and in need of some restoration.
78632 1941
78633 1941
78634 1941 [E] Known to exist, cited in a post by John Arnold in this web page,[18] seen at a guitar show in 1992. Recently resurfaced and listed for sale in Australia, January 2015[56]
78879 1941 [E] Originally surfaced on e-Bay in 2008, see here,[57] also again since then for $250,000 (in January 2009).[3] Offered for sale by Carter Vintage, Nashville, August 2018, listed at $150,000.[58]
78880 1941   Appraised by Gruhn in 1973 for then owner Ben Speer of the Speer Family gospel group;[59] present whereabouts/continued existence not publicly known.
78881 1941 [E] Known to exist, repaired by Martin during the period 1966-2001 according to this blog post.[26]
78882 1941 [E] Surfaced in 2012 at the Philadelphia Vintage Guitar Convention,[60] subsequently (2013) auctioned at Heritage Auctions, Dallas, details here,[61] fairly heavily restored though with partially original finish (sold price $110,500). The same instrument was subsequently offered for sale by Carter Vintage Guitars in January 2016, inventory no. GF959, asking price $150,000.[62]
78883 1941 [E] Surfaced in 2018, offered for sale by Gryphon Stringed Instruments, California, asking price $135,000 in May 2018;[63] refinished; since sold (June 2018).
78884 1941
79583 1941 [E] Surfaced in 2011, auctioned at Skinner's, Boston[64] (sold price $219,225), subsequently on sale at Rumbleseat Music, CA, and at Carter Vintage Guitars; some additional photos here[65] and here,[66] also various clips on YouTube
79584 1941
79585 1941 [E][4]
79586 1941 - In a private collection to c.2017, apparently damaged in a flood in Illinois then written off according to this post on the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum.[67]
79587 1941 [E] Sold by Bernunzio Uptown Music, New York in 2010-11, details here (asking price $250,000);[68] stated as previously being in the possession of the same owner since the mid 1960s.
79588 1941 [E][4]
80740 1942 [E] In the collection of Mac Yasuda, illustrated in "The Vintage Guitar Vol. 3"
80741 1942 [E] Known to exist, repaired by Martin during the period 1966-2001 according to this blog post.[26]
80742 1942 [E] In the collection of Mac Yasuda, illustrated in "The Vintage Guitar Vol. 3"
80743 1942 [E] Owned by Stephen Stills "Darling";[3] probably the instrument featured played by Stills on the January 1976 cover of "Guitar Player" magazine[69]
80744 1942 [E] Known to exist, cited in a post by John Arnold in this web page,[18] seen in January 2010, repaired headstock break, refinished neck.
80745 1942 [E] Surfaced in 2011 (offered on eBay for $325,000); purchased from seller by Gary Dick of Gary's Classic Guitars, details and pictures available here.[70]
81242 1942 [E] D-45S Made for Austin Woods, "Austin" on fingerboard, oversize pickguard; currently on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville. Illustrated on p. 248 of,[12] also reproduced here.[71]
81578 1942 [E] Originally owned and played by Smiley Maxedon. Sold by Elderly Instruments in 2000 (archived description here,[72] listed price $160,000); re-sold in 2007 and purchased for the C.F. Martin Museum at Nazareth, PA, for around $270,000[73] also shown here;[3] shown by Chris Martin in this YouTube video.[74] "Martin database" entry here[75]
81579 1942 [E] Known to exist, repaired by Martin during the period 1966-2001 according to this blog post.[26]
81580 1942 [E] Known to exist, repaired by Martin during the period 1966-2001. Originally owned by Wiley Jordan, whose band Wiley Jordan and the Sons of the South was popular in the 1940s and 1950s. He had the first radio and TV Country music show in Mississippi. He was the sole owner and it was passed on to his children.[citation needed]
81581 1942
81582 1942
81583 1942 [E] Formerly owned by Alice Gerrard, pictured here;[3] subsequently by luthier and musician Wayne Henderson,[76] more pictures here.[77] Has oversize pickguard.
82567 1942
82568 1942 [E] Offered on eBay in July 2008, sold for $350,000 according to this forum page.[78] Illustrated here.[3]
82569 1942 [E] Previously belonged to Wilma Lee Cooper, sold by Gruhn (twice: last offered for $195,000 in August 2016, inventory no. AA9807[79]) and presently in the possession of country/folk/Americana performer Gillian Welch; see "Miscellaneous" section for more information in this and Wilma Lee Cooper's other original D-45.
82570 1942 [E] Known to exist, cited in a post by John Arnold in this web page,[18] seen at North Carolina guitar show circa 1991.
82571 1942 [E] Originally owned and played by Judge Lloyd Rea of Judge Lloyd Rea and the Oregon Trailblazers, see photo here.[80] Listed on eBay in February 2006, sold for $255,100 according to this forum page.[81] Recent illustration here.[3]
82572 1942 [E] Last "original series" D-45 made, subject of an article in "Great Acoustics" section of "Acoustic Guitar" magazine, May 2000, facsimile available here.[3] (According to this blog post[24] the actual guitar illustrated is incorrect, and is in fact 1939 instrument #72160 previously owned by Jim Rickard).

MiscellaneousEdit

George Gruhn, the well known Nashville instrument dealer talks in this 2010 interview with "Guitar International" magazine[82] about his one time considerable collection of vintage style 45 Martin instruments including 6 pre-war D-45s. This collection was sold in 1976 to finance the purchase of his house and the building in which his business was located. The "best sounding" (1942) D-45 was sold to Kentucky musician and repairman Harry Sparks for $7,500[83] and can be seen in this video interview of Vince Gill,[84] who also owned the instrument for a while and has it on loan as at 2016 (serial number not known).

The well known U.S.-based Japanese collector Mac Yasuda has an extensive collection of American vintage guitars including 14 original D-45s according to this report[85] among others, some of which are detailed in the section above. In 2001 he published "The Vintage Guitar Vol. 3" which includes one photo of 12 D-45s as reproduced here,[18] as well as individual photos of 4 instruments. In 2010 he published another illustrated book in Japan, the "Martin Guitar Book" as detailed here,[86] which shows two D-45s (one pre-war s/n 75594, one recent) on the front cover. Among his collection is a 1940 (or 1941) D-45 previously owned by Bernie Leadon,[87][88] another is s/n 74011 originally custom built for Ken MacKenzie (see relevant entry in main numeric section above); another is reportedly an instrument previously owned and played by Charlie Monroe which was purchased new in 1942.[89] Mr Yasuda is shown holding one of his D-45s, with a portion of his collection behind, in this photograph.[90]

The late Steven Kern Shaw, son of well known clarinetist Artie Shaw and grandson of Broadway composer Jerome Kern, has donated his substantial collection of iconic 20th century American-made instruments - including historic Gibson mandolins and Martin guitars - to Belmont University in Nashville as of November 2016, where they went on display in a museum opened in Spring 2017.[91] This collection includes four pre-war Martin D-45s according to this press release,[92] which also shows George Gruhn holding one of the pre-war D-45s (a 1939 instrument).

Marty Stuart currently owns and performs with a 1940 D-45 (#74165) which he obtained from Johnny Cash. The instrument has a pearl patch in the front (engraved "CASH") where some spruce was once damaged (example photos here[93] and here[94]). Tut Taylor states here[95] that he originally acquired the guitar and sold it to Hank Williams, Jr, who later traded it to Johnny Cash; the same site includes some pictures of this guitar as originally published in "Best of Guitar Player: Vintage Gallery", July 1994. (The assertion repeated in Vintage Gallery that the guitar once belonged to Hank Williams, Sr., appears to be incorrect cf. the Tut Taylor recollection cited). A recent article on Stuart and his collection in "Guitar Aficionado" magazine here[96] discusses this instrument in some depth. A second D-45 previously belonging to both Cash and Stuart is mentioned in this forum post.[97]

At some point, Gruhn Guitars sold 2 Martin D-45s previously belonging to Wilma Lee Cooper, dated 1938 (this one with snowflake inlays and an oversize pickguard, previously owned by Lee Moore, Gruhn inventory number AA6291, serial number not known) and 1942 (s/n 82569, Gruhn inventory number AA6290; the latter is mis-labelled a D-43 on the Gruhn site). The guitars are illustrated here,[98] including this picture[99] of Wilma Lee with the 1938 guitar; at that time the 1942 D-45 had a sale price of $100,000. More recently, the 1942 instrument was again sold by Gruhn in 2016 (inventory no. AA9087, asking price $195,000) and is now owned by performer and songwriter Gillian Welch;[100] this picture[101] shows Gillian on stage with this guitar.

Actor and some time guitarist Steven Seagal possesses a pre-war D-45 with snowflake inlays (presumably 1937–1938) according to a 2006 interview with "Vintage Guitar" magazine reproduced here.[102]

This video[103] of the Songbirds Guitar Museum in Chattanooga includes footage of 2 pre-war Martin D-45s in that collection: one is no. 78629 (1941) as mentioned in the main list, the date and serial number of the other is not known at this time.

A 1939 D-45 (serial number not stated) is illustrated and discussed by George Gruhn in the July 2004 issue of "Vintage Guitar" magazine.[104]

A 1940 D-45 (serial number not stated) is presently in Hank Risan's Museum of Modern Instruments (MOMI) collection.[105] This collection also houses a 1941 D-45 formerly owned by Bob Wills, serial number not stated.[106]

A 1940 D-45 (serial number not stated) was being offered for sale by Gruhn Guitars in 2008/9 (inventory no. AA7977), asking price unknown.[17] Another 1940 D-45 (serial number not stated), refinished, is on sale at Gruhn for $195,000 as at June 2015 (inventory no. AA9506).[107]

A 1940 D-45 (serial number not stated) in superb condition, photographed in the UK is illustrated in this Getty Images entry;[108] the same image is used as an example of a 1940 D-45 on p. 33 of "The Ultimate Guitar Sourcebook" by Tony Bacon.[109]

A 1941 D-45 (serial number not stated, no other information given) is illustrated here.[110]

A 1941 D-45 (serial number not stated), refinished with "multiple professionally repaired top cracks" and other issues was being offered for sale by Gruhn Guitars in 2007, inventory no. AA7628, asking price $85,000.[111]

A 1942 D-45, in superb condition (serial number not stated), was featured in "Vintage Guitar" magazine, May 2009, copy available here.[112]

A 1942 D-45 (serial number not stated, peghead repair by Dan Erlewine) was being offered for sale by Gruhn Guitars in 2007, asking price $175,000, inventory no. AA7596[111] subsequently sold, archived details shown on Gruhn web site here.[113]

This Facebook page[114] includes photos of various D-45s, both original and reissues.

An article entitled "Martin D-45: A Chronicle of the Jewelled Dreadnought" appeared in the Japanese magazine "Acoustic Guitar Magazine", volume 4, Spring 2000 (Rittor Music, 2000)[115]

Some links to vintage film clips featuring Wilma Lee Cooper and Red Smiley playing their pre-war D-45s are given here.[116] Other 1930s-1940s country stars who have been pictured with their D-45s include Gene Autry (owner of the first D-45 guitar), Jackie "Kid" Moore,[117] Jimmy Martin.[118] Charlie Monroe,[89] Skeeter Bonn, Toby Stroud,[119] Ken MacKenzie,[120] Smiley Maxedon (see information above for #81578) and Nolan "Cowboy Slim" Rinehart.

ValueEdit

When last available new from the Martin Guitar Company, the 1942 D-45 retailed at $250 (letter from Martin Guitar Company to Mr. Harold Wagler dated October 1963, reproduced here[121]), equivalent to approximately $3,630 in 2014 dollars as a straight conversion,[122] however bearing in mind average incomes of the time, could be construed as between $6,700 and $11,100 in today's terms (same reference, calculated as labor value/income value). In accordance with its gradual acceptance as possibly the finest production steel-string acoustic guitar ever made, the value of an all original, pre-war Martin D45 has gone up considerably over the past 70+ years. In a Vintage Guitar Price Survey published by "Frets" magazine in May 1988, a 1939 D-45 in mint condition was estimated at average dealer price $15,000 (range $6,000-$22,000) and a 1942 D-45 (similar) at $13,000 (range $6,000-$21,000). By 2002 the Vintage Guitar Price Guide[123] listed prices of up to $200,000 for 1936–1937 D-45s and up to $150,000 for 1940–1942 models. By 2011 a valuation of $375,000 was being cited for a newly discovered 1942 example,[70] with values suggested elsewhere[124] in the range $175,000-$350,000 according to condition and rarity. According to a post in the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum, a 1938 snowflake D-45 with forward-X bracing in "excellent original condition" recently changed hands for $400,000 in a private sale.[125]

ReferencesEdit

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  2. Longworth, Mike. 1975. Template:Google books. Omnibus Press, Revised edition 2008. Hal Leonard; Template:ISBN
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