Mark Twain's 1835 Martin Guitar Valued at Over $15 million

Mark Twain, the literary legend who left us with invaluable amazing stories, has left us his Martin 2 ½-17 guitar which is valued at over $15 Million.

Mark Twain's 1835 Martin

If you could travel back in time to 1835, when C.F. Martin Sr. created these Martin 2 1/2-17 guitars, this $15 Million dollar Martin Guitar will only cost you $10 - brand new. But since you can't, you'll just have to imagine the background story of this historic guitar.

Mark Twain bought the 1835 Martin guitar used, shortly after the Civil War started around 1861. The date of the guitar's creation coincided not only with his birth, but also with Haley's Comet's appearance. And to add a chill to that little bit of information, Twain's death also coincided with the re-appearance of the same comet, 75 years later.


Mark Twain "gigged" with his 1835 Martin extensively as a singer guitarist, bringing it along to his many travels. Like the main protagonist of his popular novel: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain traveled far and wide, often with only his 1835 Martin, paper and ink to accompany him.

Twain played his 1835 Martin guitar frequently for friends and fellow travelers. He entertained the miners of the infamous California's Gold Rush and the newspaper men of the Nevada Territories. He also rocked the joint with passengers aboard the clipper ship Ajax bound for the Hawaiian Islands. But as many guitarists would approve, Twain prefers to play his Martin guitar for the "willing women of the West."

Just before Twain died in 1910, the 1835 Martin guitar was entrusted to Colonel John Hancock III, who is the great grandson of American founding father John Hancock, who aside from being a U.S. Cavalryman and a horse breeder, he was a guitar collector. The guitar remained in the Hancock family for four generations until it was purchased by renowned guitar collector Hank Risan in the mid-nineties.

Risan then worked with UC Berkeley to authenticate the guitar and created the Mark Twain Project. The guitar came with it's original coffin case and had a genuine shipping label dated 1866, with "Mr. M. Twain, New York." written on it by the hands of the legendary novel writer himself. Risan also found an unpublished poem written by Mark Twain entitled "Genius". Risan then established the online exhibition "The Private Life of Mark Twain" at the Museum of Modern Instruments (MoMI) with both the guitar and poem showcased.

Now that is a little story you can brag to your non guitar toting friends about.

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Date change

Twain must have bought it at the beginning of the American Civil War if it was 1861. The war lasted until 1865.


Thank you for the information, I adjusted the part accordingly: "Mark Twain bought the 1835 Martin guitar used, shortly after the Civil War started around 1861."


Would Mr. Twain have tagged his guitar "M. Twain"? Or "S. Clemens"?

Mark Twains martin guitar

It's not the guitar thats famous, it's the picker that made it famous

2-1/2-17 Martin of Mark Twain

What makes the guitar so valuable? Is it Twain, is it age, or is it condition? I have one of same age
but in perfect condition. I mean perfect.
$15,000.000 for a guitar that has been used hard seems to me to be a pipe dream. No insult intended.
Any answers would be appreciated.
Best wishes,
George Clark

well what i red about it.

well what i red about it. theres only made 2 that kind of guitars EXACTLY.
so it means your guitar looks similiar but maker of the guitar is different and theres more of those guitars u have awailable than that one.
and also its used by Mark Twain who has written many books etc.

all of those 3 things matters ofc.

Your guitar is valuable sure.
its same age and if u can prove the age and find the maker of the guitar its value might rice from what u think of it or get lower depending how many peaces exists and who used it.
BUT its not that unique like that one.
only 2 copies of that guitar ever existed in the world from that exact maker of the guitar.
and also what i studied like a second from internet if the facts are correct "the maker of the guitar in that age was making the FINEST guitars in the world"

Sure im not professional at all i just use my brains to figure this stuff out and find some knowledge from internet.
and only telling my opinion. (and hopefully the facts are right what i digged out)

But if your guitar is rly that old u should make a value check for it by professional and find out who made it and how many of them has been made if possible.

Can't be an 1835 2 1/2 17.

Can't be an 1835 2 1/2 17. Martin didn't begin making them until 1856.

1856? No. CF Martin started

1856? No. CF Martin started making guitars in 1833.

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