This 19th century Martin guitar is more than a little interesting.
A Martin 2-40 guitar is a very scarce model. A total of only thirteen were made between 1863 and 1883. The ledger books are missing from 1884 to 1898 but it is known four were ordered by C. A. Zoebisch & Sons between 1892 and 1893 (Martin's two biggest sales years in the 1890's). Production of this model probably averaged one or two per year after 1884 so total production was in the range of 35 to 40 instruments. None were made after 1898.
The guitar is dated 1877 under the top which is very interesting since only one 2-40 was sold that year. On May 7, 1877 a 2-40 guitar was shipped to a Charles H. Loag. This sale is very unusual since almost all Martin guitars were sold through C. A. Zoebisch and Son in New York at the time.
The guitar was sold to Loag, with case, for $63. The retail price for a 2-40 in the 1870's was $84 so Loag received a 25% discount. This identifies Loag as a music teacher because that was the discount Martin allowed to teachers, while dealers received a 50% discount. Loag bought at least seven guitars from Martin from between 1864 and 1890 but made no purchases after 1898. Loag usually purchased 5-20 and 2-20 models, likely for his students. The 2-40 he bought in 1877 was the fanciest one he ordered. Loag was also a music arranger and he was credited as such on at least one piece of sheet music.
Still, it was unusual that Martin sold to Loag directly. However, Loag's correspondence with Martin, in the Martin archives, indicates he was a friend of C. F. Martin Jr. and C. F. Hartman so this may explain the special treatment.
Charles H. Loag (1838-1908) lived in Lancaster City PA.
Photos courtesy of Vintz Huang.