What was the price of a Selmer guitar in the 1930's?

in History Posts: 4
I was wondering, does anybody know how much a Selmer costed in those prewar days?
I asked myself this about Fenders, Gibsons and Epiphones and was able to find the info online. It's interesting to know how they were priced in their original production time frame.

While this is my main question I also wonder about other things connected it. When and how was it that Django bought his first Selmer?, when did he strike a deal with Selmer?, and what about the rest of the quintette? And other guitars he owned? I know after becoming famous he would use a lot and borrow frequently, but maybe before he became famous he had a single guitar.

It's my first post here, nice forum!
(I'm not sure if I was supposed to post this on the gear subforum)


  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira M & JWC D hole
    Posts: 922
    The prices are listed in the R F Charles book along with a description of Django's "endorsement" deal with Selmer. I'll check later and post what I find.
    always learning
  • François RAVEZFrançois RAVEZ FranceProdigy
    Posts: 294
    For the unlucky fellows who do not own this precious book, a Selmer guitar costed :

    £17.70 net pro price in february 1933in London (page 85 of french edition)
    £21 net pro price (list price £28) later (p 86 of french edition)
    665 french francs in 1936 (page 104 of french edition)
    1800 french francs in december 1938 (page 124 of french edition)


    François RAVEZ
  • wimwim ChicagoModerator Barault #503 replica
    Posts: 1,459
    Mind you, £20 then is equivalent of about £1000 today .. isn't inflation a terrible thing?
  • TourneraiTournerai
    Posts: 4
    Thanks! what's pro price? 665 to 1800 francs in two years! boom! I guess it was getting hyped in the forums :D
    According to 665 francs in 1936 were about 2462.5 francs of 1999. That would be 400 US dollars according to the same source, am I reading this right? Minimum hourly wage (SMIC) was 40 francs in 1999, so a aselmer would be 60 hours worth? It would also be worth 383 kg of bread (844 lbs). Mmmhhh
    In fact with the 1938 price we get 4665 francs of 1999, mor than double, that makes a bit more sense, 757 US dollars, 116 hours and... 1610 kg of bread? french wikipedia is crazy.

    The UK values look better, a 1000 GBP today are 1680 USD, closer to what I expected.

  • François RAVEZFrançois RAVEZ FranceProdigy
    Posts: 294
    I suppose that the pro price is the price for the professional musicians who did not had to pay VAT or something like that.
    In fact 665 francs is the price advertized in a 1936 magazine. The amount of 1800 francs in 1938 is the price found on a real invoice and paid for a guitar specially ordered and probably with more or less options not included in the regular model bought from a music store.
    On the other end the first Maccaferri guitars did not sell very well, they could have been proposed sometimes at a reduced price.
    In 1935 for 665 francs you could also buy 3 basic bicycles or 2 good bicycles. However in the 30's a worker only earned a few francs per day. So instead of 60 hours I would rather say that several monthes of work were necessary to buy a Selmer.



  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira M & JWC D hole
    Posts: 922
    Thanks for that Francois I got stuck in hospital yesterday so I couldn't get that cost infromation as I said I would. Tounerai was asking about Django's deal with Selmer, from what I remember the book states that Django would effectively be loaned a guitar of his choice but he had to return it if he wanted another. As far as I know the other members of the group had to buy their own. This raises an interesting thought that some Selmers in circulation may have been played by Django, returned and then sold on ?
    always learning
Sign In or Register to comment.
Home  |  Forum  |  Blog  |  Contact  |  206-528-9873
The Premier Gypsy Jazz Marketplace
Banner Adverts
Sell Your Guitar
© 2024, all rights reserved worldwide.
Software: Kryptronic eCommerce, Copyright 1999-2024 Kryptronic, Inc. Exec Time: 0.019063 Seconds Memory Usage: 1.008919 Megabytes