I once found a rikki ram sitar(a top indian builder) and a funky but great sounding fifties greek bouzouki in a pawn shop for $280, I sold the rikki ram sitar for $500, and fast. I found a decent hybrid baroque lute at a pawn shop in Toronto for around $300, sold it to a friend for a practice lute. many Yamaha red label guitars,
my best finds have been on craigslist or kijiji. a few on ebay.
best deal ever, ? a 1750s gaglianno fiddle which was priced at $1500, with a 1953 appraisal for $750, but I didn't buy it. it was a nice old lady and I took her to an expert who got her $20,000 less commission from an orchestra player. it was the right thing to do but year later I was flat broke and occasionally had a few regrets.
there were two sharks trying to get her down to $300, they were furious with me, but they were there first and wouldn't ay her the cheap price of $1500.