Well, technically, one is by luthiers unknown. This first one is a new décacorde specimen. Needing restoration, it is still in remarkable condition, with a beautiful Brazilian rosewood back. The German owner was preparing to sell it (and probably has by now) and trying to ascertain if it was an authentic Lacôte. According to expert James Westbrook, if it doesn’t have the “Lacôte, Paris” mark on the headplate, then it is not a Lacôte, period. I sense that other curators and experts might differ on this issue, and I’d love to know what’s going on with all these décacordes. Perhaps when the Marlats finish their long-awaited monograph on Lacôte, we’ll find out.
I would’ve killed to get this for the collection (or just to have one in the States!), but it was beyond my means.
Another collector in the States was a bit luckier. My friend Len Verrett, of EarlyRomanticGuitar.com, just snagged an amazing, authentic Lacôte heptacorde, found in an obscure shop in Vermont. What a treasure!
It’s especially important, as it is an ultra-rare pre-1850’s heptacorde – in fact, quite possibly the earliest Lacôte 7-string (all-original, unmodified) known. This is a major score for Len, and for historians of Lacôte and “early romantic” guitars. It is of course much more of their world than ours, as it is only a harp guitar by a small technicality of definition – what I jokingly (but not inaccurately) refer to as a “meets minimum requirements harp guitar.”
See Len’s write-up here: Lacote Heptacorde, Circa 1836-1839
Congrats, my friend!
For Further Reading:
Harp Guitar of the Month Double Feature:
A Unique Lacôte Décacorde
Lacôte/Coste Heptacorde, 18(5)5