Over the years, I've picked up some beautiful instruments for next to nothing, and the people who sold them to me thought they were taking advantage of ME. Many years ago, I was home visiting my family in Wisconsin and some friend of my father's called and asked if I wanted to buy a mandola. I said, sure (not knowing what a mandola was, exactly.) I asked him how much he wanted for it and he said $8. It had a couple of broken strings on it. Came with a case. When he brought it by the house, and I opened the case, it was in perfect condition... an old Lyon and Healy flatback. I guess he saw how excited I was so when I asked him how much he wanted for it, he saw his opening and hesitantly said, $10. I told him it was a deal. He went home figuring he'd suckered a dumb college kid out of $2. And I have a beautiful mandola.
Another time, many years later, I saw an add in the newspaper that said old banjo, $20. (Inflation.) I called the guy up and asked him what kind of a banjo it was. He said, "wait a minute" I'll go see. He came back and said, "It doesn't have a name on it." The I asked the critical question.."How many strings does it have?" And he said, "Wait a minute, I'll go see." When he came back he said, "It has five strings, but one doesn't go all the way up the neck." No wonder he only wanted $20! I asked him where he got it, and he said some guy gave it to him many years ago, and he didn't know where it came from. He had always meant to learn to play it and never did, and he sick of having it around. Ever the obliging one, I said I'd take it, sight unseen. The reason it doesn't have a name on it is that the neck is hand-made... beautiful maple and walnut. The guy was happy, but not as happy as I was.
You seem much nicer than me.
When I have more information on the ukelele exhibit, I'll post it on this thread..