Dealers of Original Period Guitars
The following shops have carried period guitars from time to time; check back every so often for new inventory.
General advice: Specialist luthiers always have inventory on hand. In terms of authenticity, quality of workmanship, and instrument quality, this is usually the best source of original guitars. Excellent instruments can be obtained for about the same price as a good new classical guitar. Of course rare labeled guitars (Stauffer, Lacote, etc.,) will be a lot more expensive and difficult to find, but the best value is often unlabeled or lesser-known makers. This is the recommended approach to buying guitars: buy it already restored, and pay a little extra for quality. Also, ask for a "Certificate of Authenticity" with your sale for later resale: such documentation from one of these specialists will add to the value. Remember, "cheap" guitars from other sources turn out not so cheap, when you find out the problems.
General music stores sometimes carry "vintage" guitars, and in some cases the price is less than a luthier, but often you don't really know what you're getting. These shops have much less expertise in early romantic classical guitars than specialty luthiers. However, occasionally you may find something, if you have access to a good guitar tech and know what to look for.
Disclaimer: The Editor of this web site, EarlyRomanticGuitar.COM, makes no endorsement of any items listed here for sale by third parties. This listing is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered a recommendation. My website is non-profit and I do not receive any compensation for these listings. These sites are listed for convenience and research purposes only. If you choose to engage in a business transaction with these vendors, be sure to conduct your own due diligence. If you run into a problem with these vendors, this web site and the editor is in no way responsible or liable. This web site is in no way affiliated with any vendor listed.
Now that the legal-ese is out of the way, I am always fascinated by photos of these guitars. Please email me if you find another shop that has one!
Early Romantic Guitar Home Page
Specialty Luthiers and Dealers
These are luthiers and dealers who specialize in 19th century guitar sales, restoration, or who usually have early guitar inventory:
David Jacques, Canada
David has an extensive set of credentials and is an expert in romantic and classical guitar. He typically has 15-30 high quality instruments for sale and has a full time luthier working on restorations. David has many excellent videos of him performing on historical instruments.
Bernhard Kresse, Germany
Kresse is a luthier specialized in restoration and reproductions of early 19th century guitars. Kresse has a good selection of period guitars that he will restore under a conservative restoration philosophy. Many instruments not shown on the site are also available; contact him for a current inventory. My duet partner and I have personally had guitars made by Bernhard Kresse and highly recommend his services.
The Guitar Workshop, Belgium
Kurt Decorte specializes in restoration, repair, and sales of original 19th century guitars. Many instruments not shown on the web site are also available; contact him for a current inventory.
Ian Watchorn, Australia
Ians pecializes in restoration, repair, reproduction, and sales of original 19th century guitars. Several instruments available at any one time, by inquiry.
Sinier de Ridder, France
High-quality, fully restored antique instruments. Great and interesting photos. Prices on request; reasonably priced compared to modern classical guitars. The guitars play and sound as nice as they look, they are fully restored and playable, and come with a nice certificate of authenticity.
Fine Antique and Classical Guitars
Web site of Erik Pierre Hofmann, luthier and romantic guitar expert.
Zavaleta's La Casa De Guitarras
High quality new and important historical instruments, with a solid inventory of Spanish guitars. The Collector Guitars section often carries romantic guitars and other vintage instruments.
EBAY Nearly every week, EBAY has new period guitars for sale, so check back occasionally. I can't help you with advice here; you will need to do your own homework. At any one time, there seems to be at least 1 or 2 available. To find them, type "antique guitar" or "parlor guitar" or "parlour guitar" in the Search field on the main page, and dig through the listings until you find one you like. Also try browsing to Antiques, Musical Instruments, then type "guitar" in the Search field.
Christie's and Sotheby's are two of the most established auction house firms. Check occasionally for Musical Instrument auctions, for example the November 2002 auctions had several early romantic guitars.
Interencheres - A French web site and auction that sometimes carries romantic guitars.
Generic Guitar Shops and Other Sources
These are music stores who might carry "vintage" guitars occasionally, but who may also typically sell other types of guitars.
Tony Bingham: Old Musical Instruments (web site) A dealer in London (not a luthier), "dealing in old and antique musical instruments, reference books and iconography, selling to museums, private collectors and musicians".
Jean Michel RENARD - Old Musical Instruments Lyres, guitars, other antique instruments.
Music Treasures Run by folks that sell only at certain times of the year when they visit their collection in Canada. Interesting photos on the web site.
Musurgia - New York String Service"Fine, Rare, and Peculiar Musical Instruments" - High end vintage classicals, including a few romantic guitars (Petit Jean, Lacote, other anonymous makers when I checked in the past).
Dartmouth Listing Classified ads of lutes and early guitars (Baroque guitar, Theorbo, etc.); sometimes there are also antique romantic guitars or replicas for sale. Here you are dealing with private individuals who have posted classified ads for free.
Grunh Guitars Occasionally carries romantic guitars, check back periodically.
Lorenzo Frignani Last time I checked, he did not want to sell any of his vintage guitars, but check back.
Soundpost, England Brian Cohen is a dealer with many years experience in rare and high end guitars including romantic guitars (Lacote, Panormo, etc.), not all of which are listed on the web site. Services include lutherie, sales and restoration.
Twelfth Fret A small selection of antique guitars.
Vintage Guitars on VintageandRare.com Occasionally carries romantic guitars under "classical guitar".
Vintage Instruments In the USA. The Historical Instruments section has additional inventory.
WILLIAM PETIT-FranceA small selection of romantic guitars.
The editor especially welcomes comments and ideas for this web site.
Please send an email to Len if you would like to contribute text, links, photos or information.
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