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Thread: Any idea how to appraise value of a 1-off prototype?

  1. #1

    Any idea how to appraise value of a 1-off prototype?

    I have a prototype lefty F45CE from ‘83-84? Can’t remember the exact date. But, I bought it new.

    There’s a bit of a story behind how there’s only one of these. Suffice to say, there wasn’t even supposed to be one. But, based on a promise and a preorder someone at my local music shop back in the day twisted Guild’s arm in to producing a lefty version of what was supposed to be a limited run of a right-handed guitar.

    I’ve tried to have this thing appraised for insurance purposes. But, even the appraisers scratch their heads at the notion of a one-of-one. It has to be worth more than the righty prototypes. But, by how much???

    Any guild fanatics have a guess?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator chazmo's Avatar
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    Welcome to LTG, Dibble.

    We can certainly compare your lefty to righties of the same period. I hope some of the regulars chime in.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member dreadnut's Avatar
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    Welcome, I see this is your first post here at LTG. I am in the process of helping my friend evaluate the 27 leftie guitars her husband had, and I'm finding that they are mostly worth the same as their right-handed counterparts, generally speaking. The rarity of the model will contribute more to the value than being a lefty, imho.
    Last edited by dreadnut; 07-11-2019 at 01:57 PM.
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  4. #4
    Thanks. I was kinda figuring they wouldn’t be too different from righties. I think there are/were 200 rights made.

    The thing that sticks in the back of my mind is I was offered $10k for it back in ‘91-2. But, had just spent 6 months reacquiring if from a friend I had traded it to. It was and still is the guitar “I’d never sell” after going through the trouble to get it back. But, there’s quite a delta between that 30 year old offer from a motivated buyer and what’s currently on reverb.

    Insurance should be cheaper at least. But, I hope not to make a claim in any case.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator chazmo's Avatar
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    Dibble, highly unlikely you'd get anywhere near $10K on the open market. It's just me talking, but I think that expectation would be way off. $10K was quite an offer, though, especially back in early '90s...

    I've said this many times before, but we are only the caretakers of these fine instruments. Most of them, properly treated, will outlive us and certainly outlive their usefulness to us during our lifetimes. Plan ahead and think about what you want to do with this.
    Guilds:
    1967 MK-VI Artist Special (Hoboken - Jacobs restoration 2018) - "The Mark"
    12ers:
    1994 JF-30-12Bld (Westerly),
    2006 F-512 (Tacoma),
    2010 F-212XL STD (New Hartford) - "Connie"
    2014 Orpheum 12 OOO SHRW (New Hartford)

    Other 12ers:
    1970 Martin D-12-20
    1980 Ibanez AW-75 (Series I)
    1984 Taylor 655

  6. #6
    As a collector who's bought and sold hundreds of guitars I can give you a few observations about value in general:

    1) The guitar market is not what it was 10-20 years ago. Not even close.

    2) Rarity alone means nothing. I have a Guild electric that's 1 of 20 (Nightbird DX) that probably wouldn't fetch more than an average Guild electric. Probably less.

    3) Desirability is fleeting. This is a hard thing to quantify as it is a little bit of a moving target. I have a guitar that's roughly 1 of 200 (X100 Bladerunner). 10 years ago they were selling for absolutely crazy money. Today, not so much. People still list them for crazy money and they just sit.

    4) Luck plays a huge part. I've listed expensive guitars (Gibson Historic Les Pauls) for very good prices and they've sat for a month with dealers lowballing me left and right. A month after listing the right buyer comes along and snatches it at the BIN price and is thrilled.

    It all comes down to the right buyer coming along at the right time, and is therefore hard to quantify.

    If you want to see what people will pay, put it on eBay with a $0 start and a very high reserve. Be advised, though, that I've seen this get different results from one month/year to the next.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member adorshki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreadnut View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dibble View Post
    I have a prototype lefty F45CE from ‘83-84? Can’t remember the exact date. But, I bought it new.
    Welcome, I see this is your first post here at LTG.
    Second that!
    I bought my F65ce new, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by dreadnut View Post
    I am in the process of helping my friend evaluate the 27 leftie guitars her husband had, and I'm finding that they are mostly worth the same as their right-handed counterparts, generally speaking.
    Actually I'm kind of surprised they're even getting valued at the same as "rightys" because the potential market is so much smaller.
    Quote Originally Posted by dreadnut View Post
    The rarity of the model will contribute more to the value than being a lefty, imho.
    Desirability is trumping rarity in this case, and in fact F45ce's aren't even all that rare, although a lefty may be.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dibble View Post
    There’s a bit of a story behind how there’s only one of these. Suffice to say, there wasn’t even supposed to be one. But, based on a promise and a preorder someone at my local music shop back in the day twisted Guild’s arm in to producing a lefty version of what was supposed to be a limited run of a right-handed guitar.
    Dibble why do you even think it's a prototype? Does it have a label with an s/n?
    If so then it's most likely a standard production guitar.
    Typically Guild would build in minimum batches and increments of 6, it was their first "economy of scale" break.
    Yes they were extremely flexible about accepting orders for "specials" and "one-offs", but that normally just meant a non-standard detail on an otherwise standard guitar that was still easily accomplished without fabricating special tooling or build methods.
    I don't think special ordering in the normal sense was necessary here.
    Guild frequently had a note that left hand versions of most models were available for a price adder.
    See the note at the bottom left hand of this price list for example:
    http://www.westerlyguildguitars.com/files/86PL1.jpg
    All it really needed for one of those (F45ce) was to reverse the top and back on the rim and brace and build the top with left-hand bracing and bridge and correct orientation of headstock logo and tuners.
    No big deal, really, although it wouldn't surprise me if your dealer needed to wait for it to get built at that stage, because it was first year for F45ce.
    Also helps explain the extra cost since they required more handling to construct.
    I could be all wet but the story smells of dealer fabrication to justify the wait and "sticker shock", to me.
    I'd be willing to bet they probably just had to wait until Guild had at least 2 or 3 orders for lefties before building the batch.
    I don't think this was supposed to be a "limited run of a right-handed guitar", either.
    I think they were ready to build as many as the market wanted and keeping their fingers crossed they'd come up with a winner.
    It was a pretty revolutionary design for the times.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dibble View Post
    I think there are/were 200 rights made.
    Granted we know the s/n charts are rife with errors especially during the late '80's period, but SN chart indicates at least 839 of 'em built between '83 and '89, and leftys would be included there.
    If anything I'd expect there to be more than what's shown there:
    http://guildguitars.com/wp-content/u...your_guild.pdf
    Not only that, they developed variants and renames of the model so the basic platform (Arched back Maple body Grand Auditorium size Cutaway A/E) shows up as F35, F45 and F65ce from 90-92 and then got longer scale length and more variations including 'hog and rosewood bodies as F47ce's.
    F45ce did have a unique 24-fret "shortscale" neck though, and later variations on the platform were not exactly the same, getting long-scale necks in the early-to-mid-90's for example, so it is unique in some details.
    But the point is Guild developed a number of variants on the basic outline so even after the F45ce was discontinued an interested buyer could quite likely find an even more desirable substitute in the line.
    They did after all develop the variations in response to demand.

    I love that platform to death, so I've examined its evolution as much as I can through the available resources which are scarce for that period.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dibble View Post
    I’ve tried to have this thing appraised for insurance purposes. But, even the appraisers scratch their heads at the notion of a one-of-one.
    As well they should.
    Appraisal's based on selling price history and condition.
    Rarity actually has nothing to do with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dibble View Post
    It has to be worth more than the righty prototypes. But, by how much???
    I hate to burst your bubble but I've presented all the factors I'm aware of that make that assumption invalid except for one more:
    Prototypes are not intrinsically valuable simply for being prototypes.
    In fact as prototypes they could well be built to less than standard production quality standards, since there are many kinds of prototypes:
    Feasibility studies and aesthetic studies are 2 that come to mind.
    A "first article" prototype, one built using actual planned production methods would have the most value, but even then normally only if it was of something that later became monstrously popular and iconic, like maybe the first Ford Mustang.
    F45ce's just ain't there even if I personally love 'em to death.
    My only gripe with 'em is the 1-5/8 nut width, and I actually have a running campaign here to try to encourage new owners Cordoba Music Group to bring the platform back.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dibble View Post
    Any guild fanatics have a guess?
    If it has a label with an s/n on it, use this chart to date it:
    http://guildguitars.com/wp-content/u...your_guild.pdf
    Then look at listings for the model on the internet and/or the Vintage Guitar Blue Book.
    I'm suspecting maybe $1000.00 tops for immaculate condition to somebody who's been looking for a lefty version for years.
    Hope this all came out in the spirit in which it was offered, sincerely, no snark intended, and we LOVE pics around here!
    I just might see something that confirms your belief that it's a prototype, and we have a certain grandmaster around here, Hans Moust, who knows a whole lot more than I do, too!
    Last edited by adorshki; 07-12-2019 at 03:39 PM.
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    All bought new!

  8. #8
    ^ Yeah, what he said! ^
    Last edited by The Guilds of Grot; 07-11-2019 at 07:18 PM.

  9. #9
    When I sold my F45ce last year, it was in the $650 range for one in good condition. Condition goes for a lot, as well as demand. Does a one off lefty warrant an upcharge? Depends on the lefty market (which, being a righty, I can’t comment on.) While a great guitar, it’s not a model that’s in high demand, right or left. The electronics are good, but outdated.

    I am supremely astonished that you got an offer of 10K.
    Chris

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  10. #10
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    Welcome.

    Lots of Good Advice Already.

    The "prototype" story is worthy of investigation. We have seen a lot of stories where a local shop owner told a buyer that something Guild was rare or unusual but the actual story was not quite the way it was told.

    As a rule of thumb I would say that any Guild that actually sells for $5,000 or more involves both an extraordinary instrument in excellent conditional and a highly motivated buyer.

    Motivated Guild buyers are generally not interested in rarity or uniqueness although all the folks looking for a DV73 or similar will be the exception.

    I tend to agree with dreadnut - the price of a left hand model and an equivalent, and similar condition, right hand model will be very close. While the number of left handed instruments is lower (making them rare) the number of left handed buyers as also lower, reducing the demand.

    So for insurance purposes maybe add $200-$500 as a cushion to the value of a RH model and be prepared for the possibility that it will never be able to be replaced if an insurance claim is made?
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuball48 View Post
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