• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2152

    Fine Musical Instruments

    3 April 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 37



    Price Realised  


    Stamped internally and at the back of the headstock C.F. MARTIN & CO. NAZARETH, PA., the neck block stamped 42125, length of back 19¼ in (489 mm) with case (2)

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    Of the pearl inlaid Style 45 guitars made by the C.F. Martin and Company prior to World War II, the OM-45 Deluxe is one of the rarest and considered among many collectors the most coveted. The "OM" or "Orchestra Model" as it was officially called when introduced in 1929, featured a 000-size body that was shortened so that the neck would have 14 frets clear of the body. This, combined with a scale length of 25.4 inches, a slimmer neck profile, a solid headstock and a pickguard glued to the top, was the prototype that would define the American steel-string flattop guitar design for decades to come. Although first marketed to plectrum guitarists, the OM would eventually prove itself equally serviceable to finger-style guitarists as well. OM's were made in Martin's styles 18, 28, 42 and 45. The OM-45 Deluxe differentiated itself from the standard Style 45 with its pearl inlaid bridge, the elaborate floral pearl inlaid pickguard and engraved gold plated tuners with pearl buttons.

    Until now, it was traditionally believed that only 14 OM-45 Deluxe's were manufactured in 1930. This guitar, and the resulting research by archivist and author John Woodland, has brought to light that the C.F. Martin and Company in fact manufactured 15 of these instruments. Bearing the serial number 42125, this guitar was the first example produced and was shipped by Frank Henry Martin on May 29, 1930 to the San Francisco firm of Sherman Clay.

    Sold with a letter outlining the archival research used in dating and attribution, John Woodland and Richard Johnston, Minneapolis, MN, February 17, 2009

    Special Notice

    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that this lot is being sold with a letter outlining the archival research used in dating and attribution, John Woodland and Richard Johnston, Minneapolis, MN, February 17, 2009

    Pre-Lot Text


    Leonard Franklin Slye's (Roy Rogers) career as a professional musician came to fruition in 1933 with the launch of the Western Music ensemble Sons of the Pioneers. Founded by Slye, along with Bob Nolan, Tim Spencer, and Hugh Farr, their unique style of cowboy music sung in tight four-part harmony became synonymous with the Country and Western Music scene in Los Angeles prior to World War II. By 1934 their syndicated radio show on KFWB had broadcast their sound across America, which won them movie work as well as a recording contract with Decca Records the same year. The group would record 32 songs for Decca over the next two years with hits like Way Out There, Cool Water and Tumbling Tumbleweeds. They would earn the respect of seasoned Hollywood performers like Gene Autry and Bing Crosby and go on to win work with studios like Warner Brothers, Republic Pictures and Columbia. By 1935 Leonard Slye was finding work as both a musician as well an actor. In 1938 he won the audition as leading man replacing Gene Autry at Republic Pictures where he took the stage name to Roy Rogers and permanently shifted the focus of his work from music to acting. Throughout his career Rogers would appear in over 100 films establishing him as a matinee idol in Western Films. Along with his wife Dale Evens, The Roy Rogers Show would expose him to the generation of post war children on both radio and television earning him an endearing following that dubbed him The King of the Cowboys.
    Roy Rogers has twice been voted into Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame. His first induction was in 1980 for his contribution as a founding member of the Sons of the Pioneers and again in 1988 for his work as a solo performer.