This is a Martin S1 Mahogany Soprano Ukulele dated circa 1932-36 in "very good" condition. The tuning pegs have been replaced, but all else is original.
Ukuleles were in highest production from 1916 to the 1930's, though still manufactured in quantity until 1965. Production quantities during some periods were as great as Martin guitars. Martin ukes are considered to be the best for craftsmenship and sound. The Koa wood models are more collectible than mahagony models. The fancier style 5 models are worth more than plainer styles 0 to 3. All sizes are collectible.
The first Martin ukes, built in 1916, have serial numbers ranging from one to less than 200. Ukes made after 1916 do not have serial numbers and must be dated by specification changes.
Ukes have the Martin stamp on the back of the peghead until 1935. Peghead decals do not appear in catalog photos till after WWII.
Martin Style 1 Uke specs:
Introduced in 1918, the first Martin uke model made. Discontinued in 1965.
Introduced in 1918,
First 200 or so ukes serial numbered, thereafter without.
Rosewood outer body binding with inner black/white.
12 fret rosewood fingerboard with bar frets.
Earliest examples with boxwood bridge saddle and nut.
C.F.Martin & Co. on back of headstock.
Small dot inlays.
Rosewood friction pegs.
1920: Koa wood 1K available
1927: Patent pegs
1932: Decal logo on front of headstock
1934: T frets, dark plastic binding
1942: Style 1K last listed
1965: Style 1 last listed and discontinued.
Made circa 1918 by the Rettburg & Lange Company who built the famous Paramount banjos. The instrument is all quality. It has a nice, heavy-duty hard maple rim with fancy veneers, flamed-maple 5-piece neck with bound dyed-hardwood (two vertical laminates of pearwood for strength), 21″ scale fretboard, and detailed multi-layer headstock veneer. The inlay positions are fanciful, symmetrical decorations made up of impressionistic birds and flourishes of flora. The back of the rim is plain blonde maple and so is the dowel. It features the standard square wooden (maple) dowel that is stamped with the serial number, and the usual tensioner device where the neck joins the body on the inside of the rim. The heel is pearwood capped and bordered by maple and dark wood; and this dark-light-dark motif continues down the wooden interior dowel. Tuners are original 4 un-geared machine heads with grained ivoroid buttons and an adjustment screw for tension. The serial number on this instrument is 6538. The original hardshell case is included.