Hi guys first post here, trying to identify my grandpas parlor guitar. I know it's an Oliver Ditson from I think around 1916-1930. There's no serial number or anything on the guitar I know of. The only brand is the label inside the sound hole. It's not in the best condition but it still looks pretty good. Any information would be appreciated and any pricing would be appreciated also. I am looking to sell this guitar.

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Looks like the one that sold last month on eBay?  Value depends on condition. A good description and lots of photos are the best sales tools.

Hi Ian .. It looks like a pretty clean student grade guitar from the first quarter of the 20th century.  Can you post a pic of the tuners and the back and sides wood?  Tom

Don't have a close up of the tuner but I can take one tomorrow, thanks!


Another of the headstock


Looks to be faux finished (painted) birch, with a decal strip down the back.  I'm thinking Haynes in Boston, student model.  Tom

Thanks, did you see the first picture on the thread? Is it not an Oliver Ditson?

It's quite similar to a Ditson Model 261, although I recall the few I've seen having herringbone purfling...

Best wishes,


Thanks for the insight guys! Any idea on value?

Yes, it is labeled Ditson, but Ditson was actually a sheet music seller and jobber of guitars.  He jobbed out the manufacture of guitars to Haynes (Bay State) in Boston (who became a partner, and morphed into Vega) and others.  That marketing tool was pretty common in those days ... A small number of shops made a large number of guitars with many different labels.  Martin even made some Ditson branded guitars, which was a first for them .. well, maybe the few Wanamaker branded Martins from '09 or so were first.

I guess the most famous or common example are the guitars marketed by Sears ...Sears never actually made guitars, just put a label in guitars made for them by others.

There are a lot of convoluted stories out their when you begin to study the history guitar brands.


Ah I see, that's really interesting, I had no clue. I really appreciate all the info!

Ian, have you strung this up (set up) to check out the action and sound? That would certainly help with the evaluation. Nice looking guitar. 


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