Auction Item ’64 Harmony StratotoneWinning Bid $211.56
I found this old Harmony Stratotone on eBay in the late ’90s. The top’s original tobacco sunburst finish had been stripped off, and the bare maple underneath was lightly sprayed with lacquer—although the finish on the back and sides was intact. This particular instrument had some extra screw holes, was missing its original selector switch, and bore numerous other battle scars, so I knew serious collectors wouldn’t pay top dollar for it. I was mainly interested in buying a good playing and good-sounding guitar at a cheapo price.
The bidding stayed low for the first six days, but on day seven it went up to $188. I didn’t want to go much past $200, so I waited until the last ten seconds and bid $211.56. Unbeknownst to me, another party had bid $211.50, and I ended up winning by just six cents! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve won auctions by only a few cents in the last 60 seconds of heated bidding.
To my surprise, the guitar was shipped in its original chipboard case, which probably added at least another $50 to its value. These guitars are known for their rootsy sound—derived from the retro-sounding DeArmond pickups—making them great for rockabilly, blues, and country. They’re also lightweight, and the lightly lacquered top on this example allows it to breath more easily, adding to the quality of the tone.
Visit Will Ray at willray.biz, or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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