Estimating the Value of a Tudor

March 6, 2007

Nicolai Foss

The Tudor was a 1930s Epiphone model. More specifically, according to Vintage Guitars Info, the Tudor was produced from 1931 to 1939. In terms of appointments, finish, etc. it was in between the DeLuxe and the Broadway models. Vintage Guitars Info rates its collectability at a “C”, which is not that impressive (the same as a cutaway Triumph). The Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars estimate its worth in “excellent” condition at 3,000 USD. Few Deluxes would sell for that little and I suppose many Broadways wouldn’t either.

Now, here is what the always reliable archtop.com noted about the Tudor they recently offered:

For years it was just an picture in an old catalog. A simple black and white engraving, with a florid description. “Lending itself to the performer’s mood it will sing in a whisper or shout it from the housetops.” And that was that. As pictured, floating in the clouds, the Epiphone Tudor was an exceptionally handsome instrument, combining the figured maple body of the Masterbilt Deluxe with the graceful peghead vine of the Broadway, and adding a variegated floral fingerboard inlay all its own. Though pictured in the1934 catalog, positioned between the Deluxe and the Broadway models, nobody could seem to find a surviving example. The Epiphone Tudor: the guitar that never was.

That all changed with the publication of the Fisch and Fred book, Epiphone: The House of Stathopoulo, still the finest volume on an American guitar maker. There it was, in the plates on page C-17. In living color, a honest-to-goodness Tudor, serial number 7453, big as life, from the collection of the co-author. And that’s when people started looking. There just didn’t seem to be another one. After all, folks reasoned, Epi made some extremely scarce models, especially during the lean years of the Great Depression. (The Epiphone Windsor mandolin pictured on C-47 was found by us some years ago, and remains the only known example.)

If there are only two Tudors left in the World, which it seems reasonable to assume, and if this is almost as fine a model as a DeLuxe, then how is it possible to rate it a “C” and to estimate its worth at 3,000 USD (I cannot recall the selling price at archtop.com, but it has probably in the neighbourhood of 10k USD)?? I confess that my trust in “guitar experts” was shaken somewhat by this.

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One Response to “Estimating the Value of a Tudor”

  1. bert peters Says:

    There are now four known Tudors that have surfaced. I think that there may still be more but it would surprise me if the numbers hit double digits. The price is always driven by supply and demand but I will say that this is as sweet an archtop as I have ever played. The Tudor may never become very well known because it is so rare, but those knowing what it sounds and feels like in the arms will surely realize it’s worth.
    10K is certainly not unreasonable!


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