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20th c. Unique Antonio Cerrito Archtop Guitar

Lot 0091
20th c. Unique Antonio Cerrito Archtop Guitar

Extremely rare 20th-century archtop guitar built by the master craftsman Antonio Cerrito. This is the only known hand built Antonio Cerrito archtop guitar currently believed to be in existence.It is a beautiful example from the workshops of the New York City Italian Guild.

This Cerrito archtop has 6 strings, arched top and back and hollow body. Three pegs at the top, with F holes similar to members of the violin family. Handcrafted with solid wood painted black on the top, back and sides- wood left unpainted only lacquered above the string and soundhole area of the body. Guitar is in good condition with some scratching and wear. Original finish. Tailpiece has been replaced.

In New York City, the first quarter of the 20th century saw the emergence of small guitar workshops founded by Italian immigrants such as J. Neptuno, R. Ciani, J. Bini, and others. Often called the Italian Guild, these luthiers produced work of excellent quality. This archtop was built by one of these luthiers, the revered Antonio Cerrito. Cerrito, considered one of the greatest influences on John D'Angelico, was a master guitar maker who worked during the early 1900s, into the 1940s.

John DÂ’Angelico went on to become one of the most highly regarded guitar makers of the early 1900Â’s. Cerrito's design style can be seen reflected in D'Angelico's guitars. This archtop was the predecessor for many of the exquisite guitars used today by many of the world's greatest performers.

Born in 1905 in New York to an Italian-American family, and was apprenticed in 1914 to his great-uncle, Raphael Ciani, who made violins, mandolins, and flat top guitars. D'Angelico took over as supervisor of Ciani's shop when he died. In 1932, he began working on his own designs in his own workshop in New York.He was highly influenced by Cerrito.

The consignor of this guitar acquired this guitar directly from Jim Fisch (author along with L.B.Fred of Epiphone The House of Strathopoulo) collection. This guitar was the inspiration for a book Fisch was working on before he passed away. The book was going to highlight the work of the lesser-known individual guitar craftsmen of the 20c. He was convinced that the Antonio Cerrito was a special order that was made by the Oscar Schmidt company.

The original t.p. and pick guard were of the type found on guitars from the Oscar Schmidt factory. More importantly, the finish was the exact type of sunburst found on Oscar Schmidt guitars from this period. This guitar was built as a custom order through the Oscar Schmidt company. They, of course, called upon their best luthier (subcontracted through the unofficial Italian Guild of N.Y.C.)and commissioned Antonio Cerrito to hand build the guitar.

Click here to view video of the guitar being played


Good condition. Some wear.

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20th c. Unique Antonio Cerrito Archtop Guitar

Estimate $50,000 - $60,000Dec 2, 2017
65 East 93rd Street
New York, NY 10128
United States
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