• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2033

    Fine Musical Instruments

    10 October 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1



    Price Realised  


    A guitar of Brazilian rosewood, Nazareth, PA., 1994, the headstock bearing the logo C.F. Martin & Co. EST. 1833, the fingerboard inlaid Gene Autry, labeled C.F. Martin & Co. EST. 1833 1994 LIMITED EDITION GENE AUTRY COMMEMORATIVE D-45 GENE AUTRY C.F. MARTIN 0 OF 0 THE MARTIN GUITAR COMPANY Nazareth, Pennsylvania, bearing the serial number 535404, length of back 21 in (533 mm) with case (2)

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    In January 1932 the C. F. Martin Company produced the first ever Dreadnought 45 style guitar as a special order for cowboy actor, singer and song writer Gene Autry. The subsequent 91 D-45s made between 1932 and 1942 are today the most coveted Martin instruments ever produced. In 1993 Chris Martin visited Autry at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage and proposed a collaboration that would faithfully recreate that first D-45 as a limited edition. With the back and sides of Brazilian rosewood and a top incorporating forward and scalloped bracing, sixty-six orders were taken in the first week of its introduction. The success of this guitar would set the stage for future collaborations between C.F. Martin and Company and other living artists.

    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 Christie's is selling lots 1-49 as agent for an organization which holds a state of New York Exempt Organization Certificate. Purchases, of lots 1-49, collected in New York will not be subject to sales tax.

    Pre-Lot Text

    The year 2008 marks the one hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary of C. F. Martin and Company whose true beginning dates back to the late 18th century.

    Born into a family of Markneukirchen guitar makers in 1796, Christian Frederick Martin was sent to Vienna at age 15 to apprentice with the celebrated luthier Johann Stauffer. Upon returning to his native Saxony Martin practiced his trade before leaving for what would be more fertile ground for his inspiration and creativity.
    In 1833 Christian Frederick immigrated to the United States setting up his first workshop on Hudson Street in New York's Lower West Side. Here he worked for five years before moving his family and business to the pastoral setting of Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
    For the next 175 years and seven generations of Martin Family leadership, the American guitar company that would bear his name produced a range of models and styles that became the standard for all flattop guitar design. Their work influenced multiple generations of American and European makers in both design and construction techniques. A Martin guitar would become synonymous with the highest level of craftsmanship and tonal quality obtainable. These instruments would be coveted by both professional and amateur players around the world and give an indelible voice to the genre of Blues, Country, Folk and Rock & Roll.

    What follows is a selection of the finest examples in guitar making to exit the Martin workshops over the last twenty years. Each of these instruments are examples sourced directly from the collection and archives of the C. F. Martin Company. The majority are limited edition prototypes, hand-built by the artisans at Martin, and have never been offered to the public. Their quality is proven and the rarity of these works goes without saying.

    The proceeds from the following 49 lots will benefit the Martin Guitar Charitable Foundation. Established in 1996 the Foundation supports a range of charitable organizations that have a positive impact on the acoustic music community or provide programs and services that benefit the greater Lehigh Valley.

    Over the years I've watched with great interest and anticipation as the Martin Signature Edition guitars were beautifully brought to fruition for my CSN compatriots: first a striking D-45 Southern Cross Dreadnought model for Stephen Stills, then the elegant Wooden Ships D-18 for David Crosby. I must confess I felt a little left out, but then it was my turn!

    Collaborating with my friends Alan Rogan, who works with The Who and John Gonzales, who has worked with CSN for many years, on the design of such a special instrument was no small matter, but I must confess that working with the craftsmen and women at Martin was an extremely creative and fun process. The best part was when the first prototype arrived and the case was opened to reveal a masterpiece of craftsmanship, art and tone. My signature guitar is made with exquisite quilted mahogany. It has a delicate crimson heart inlay with mother of pearl wings on the headstock. That comes from a sketch that my wife Susan made and it exemplifies all of my hopes and expectations for that guitar and my music. Guitars are the tools of my trade, fine guitars are a joy but they are much more than that. They are works of art!

    C. F. Martin & Co. is a wonderful company with a longstanding commitment to quality. They do it right, as is further demonstrated by the fact that all auction proceeds will be donated in support of Martin's many charitable efforts. So place your bids and don't hold back. You might be bidding against me!

    Graham Nash
    Musician, Photographer, Artist