I have bought a Swedish "Holy grail" Levin parlor with Brazilian rosewood and real ivory bindings. It's a really rare guitar, I haven't even seen one on a photo with rosewood before. I had a similar one done 5 years ago, but it had mahogany in the bottom and sides. It's a light build made for gut strings.

These top of the line parlors don't have serial numbers. My guitar have a Levin stamp on the neck block, the mahogany one was totally unmarked. They were special guitars ordered by rich customers who didn't want any numbers on top of the head (maybe they wanted to tell their friends that it was a real American made guitar!). From the details I guess that this one is really old, around 1900-1905. Levin was founded 1900. But it CAN be as recent as around 1925.

The only datable thing on the guitar is the original tuners. They are USA made. Maybe someone have seen one like it before and know the date they were made?

The guitar

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Nice find Roger!

She looks in remarkably good condition - except for the back crack.  But I am sure that you can sort that out. 

Sorry - I can't provide any information on the tuners.  I just thought I would admire the guitar!  The tuners are not fitted tight against the sides of the headstock.  Could be that they are not the originals and have been replaced at some stage?



Yes, she is beautiful! The guitar needs a neck reset, the top has caved in a bit around the soundhole due to a very light bracing and steel strings. The sides and bottom have 4-5 cracks in the rosewood. Other than that in good condition.

I'm pretty sure the tuners are original. There is only one set of screw holes and USA made tuners are common on early Levin guitars. Herman Carlsson Levin worked as an instrument maker in New York from 1890 until he started the Levin factory in Gothenburg Sweden 1900. Levin's guitars follows the American tradition and not the European, but the guitars were made of local woods like European spruce, birch and walnut. Fancy woods like mahogany and in very rare occasions as in this case rosewood are not common.

Tuners?  I'd say 1900-1920 or thereabouts.   After 1925, expect left-hand spiral worms.


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