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Author Topic: 1930's Collegian archtop  (Read 310 times)

Offline rnajlis

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1930's Collegian archtop
« on: July 23, 2017, 07:19:00 PM »
I have a 1930's Washburn Collegian archtop guitar made by Tonk Bros.

I am looking for more information on it, as well as considering selling it, as I don't play much guitar.

I would appreciate any information you might have.  Also, if you are interested in purchasing it, feel free to let me know.

Thank you,
Robert










Offline Tony Raven

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Re: 1930's Collegian archtop
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2017, 09:12:29 PM »
Very little info to be had. That was the period when the brands "Washburn," "Tonk Bros.," "Lyon & Healy," & "Regal" were almost interchangeable.

I've seen the roundhole archtops go past for $700-$1,000. Pretty good guitars, really, & often either played to death or left in an attic for 50 years. Even a well-kept example generally needs a neck re-set, maybe a bridge lift& reglue as well.

Here's all that Blue Book offers --
Quote
Steel string guitars were introduced around 1930. ... Archtop models appeared in the early to mid-1930s. Models include the 5250 Archtop Collegian, 5255 Archtop Superb, 5258 Archtop Deluxe, 5259 Archtop Super Deluxe, 5242 Collegian Super Auditorium, 5248 Superb Extra Super Auditorium, and 5243 Aristocrat Super Auditorium.
All guitars were 52xx models. In that era, the last two digits roughly indicate relative prices; the more desirable guitars are usually easy to spot as they have large inlay work (often extensive). As you can see from the above list, your 5242 is numerically the lowest for archtops (though there may have been a 5240 &/or 5241), & has just a bare minimum of ordinary dots.

The tailpiece has been replaced, & likely the bridge assembly. However, this tells me that the guitar was probably cared for & stored properly. A "played in" guitar will always sound better than an identical instrument that was played briefly then stuck in a closet.
M1SDL; XB-400 (natural), XB-400 (burg), XB-500 (teal); X-10, X-33; D46CESP, WCSD30SCE; BT-3, BT-4, BT-6, JB-80; WS-4; WI-66V; Lyon LCT24; OS Autoharps

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Offline rnajlis

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Re: 1930's Collegian archtop
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2017, 09:40:08 PM »
Thank you very much for the information.
It is definitely a very good sounding instrument.  It is a players instrument.  A collector might enjoy it, but also might find it a bit worn and, well played  :)


Offline MarkD

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Re: 1930's Collegian archtop
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2017, 09:35:51 AM »
Robert

Nice guitar - likely from 1937 based on the serial number and this model is shown in the Tonk Bros catalogs from that year as well as in the 1939 catalog.  The catalog describes it as having an "eastern spruce top, finely arched" and a Honduras mahogany back, also "arched".  I believe this was referring to a pressed top and back, not carved, as was noted for the higher end models. This model was priced at $25 while the top of the line carved archtop model 5248 was more than 2 times higher, priced  at $57.50.  It looks to me like the bridge and tail piece could indeed be original to me - it also came with a "professional model guardplate" celluloid pickguard.  Like most of the mid to budget price range archtops from the 30's and 40's, this one is likely valued in the $700 - $1,500 range.  Sometimes the original tuners are worth as much or more than the guitar itself as they were often the same tuners found on similar vintage Martin and Gibson models. 

Markd
 

Offline ship of fools

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Re: 1930's Collegian archtop
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2017, 07:10:49 PM »
Hey Tony actually its an original bridge and tailpiece also it is missing a pickguard
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 07:36:59 AM by ship of fools »
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Offline rnajlis

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Re: 1930's Collegian archtop
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2017, 09:28:37 PM »
Thank you for all of the information!

Interesting to find that the tuners are worth so much.  I guess I would consider selling them separately.  Ideally I would like to sell to someone who would play it, as it is a nice player and sounds great.  Also, since it seems aside from the missing pickguard it is original equipment, it would be nice to keep it together as original. 

Offline Tony Raven

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Re: 1930's Collegian archtop
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2017, 02:16:41 PM »
Just because the bridge looks the same doesn't mean it's original. I'm unable to see that photo, but I thought  the original tailpiece didn't have the acorn nuts. Here, try one that doesn't require Photobastard...

https://books.google.com/books?id=E8Iai8gr3jEC&pg=PA48&lpg=PA48&dq=washburn+5240+collegian&source=bl&ots=vj9FASierI&sig=27xAR-Z2hIGSWWVghy_qjKD6RSw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiTpaiQk6_VAhWj4IMKHVwECU0Q6AEINzAD#v=onepage&q=washburn%205240%20collegian&f=false

Yah, certainly the tuners drive up value for the restoration market.

But I'll stand by my opinion that the guitars, while overall good, don't have enough demand to justify most "book" valuations. Firstly, there's simply less demand for F-hole guitars & archtop guitars.

While well-maintained, this guitar is not anywhere near Mint. And ANY instrument is "guilty 'til proved innocent," ESPECIALLY acoustic, MOST especially OLD acoustics: until it's been checked out (for a fee) by a skilled luthier, any sane buyer will NOT go to the high end of the "value" range. Can anyone tell by the photos whether the neck -- no trussrod, remember :o -- is bowed or twisted...?

And there's further inflation: 1938-1940, a few Washburn-branded 52xx guitars were actually built by Gibson, including the 5242, of which Gruhn says there were no more than 50. It's probably NOT one of those, but the rumor starts going around that SOME Washies are Gibson, & pretty soon everyone's saying ALL Washies are Gibson ::) & prices get an undeserved bump upward.

Here's a (non-Gibson) 5242 listed for $895... AFTER a full structural restoration --
http://www.vintagecustomguitars.com/Vintage-1930s-Washburn-5242-Collegian-Archtop-Hollowbody-Acoustic-Jazz-Guitar-for-sale_891.html

With original case (even in bad shape), I'd say it'll fetch maybe $400, tops.
M1SDL; XB-400 (natural), XB-400 (burg), XB-500 (teal); X-10, X-33; D46CESP, WCSD30SCE; BT-3, BT-4, BT-6, JB-80; WS-4; WI-66V; Lyon LCT24; OS Autoharps

resident troublemaker: http://forum.frugalguitarist.com/

Offline rnajlis

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Re: 1930's Collegian archtop
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2017, 04:25:50 PM »
Well, there certainly seems to be a range of opinions on price.  I am not in a rush to sell it, so we will see what happens.  it is a very good guitar and I do appreciate vintage instruments.  As far as I know the guitar is all original, but not the case.  It is even missing its original pickguard :)

Thank you for all the information and follow-up, I do appreciate it.