Vega Classic Lute
In the 1950s and '60s, Arthur Godfrey was one of the most popular figures on TV -- so much so that he singlehandedly powered the market for ukuleles. Godfrey's personal uke was specially made for him by the Vega company. It was an oversized baritone model ((12 1/8" wide, 21" scale) with classical guitar-style fan bracing under the top.
In 1965, a Godfrey fan from Houston began searching for a uke like Godfrey's. He already had a Vega baritone, but it was different from Godfrey's, so he wrote the Gibson company. Gibson told him that Godfrey's was a Vega and even gave him Vega's address. An ensuing letter from Vega revealed that the Godfrey model was called a Classic Lute. One instrument had been made for Godfrey and a second one was still at the factory as a backup. The second one, however, had some finish checking on the back. For this reason Vega offered it at a reduced price.
This instrument, inv. #UK0869, is that second Godfrey uke -- officially the Vega Classic Lute. The back and sides are of Brazilian rosewood. It comes with letters from Gibson, to Vega and from Vega. In exceptionally fine condition, with original hard case, it is priced at $2,500
This instrument is SOLD
For further appreciation...
UK0869 Vega classic lute (baritone uke), early 1960's, EXF, beautiful Brazilian rosewood back and sides, according to 1965 letter from Vega this is the only duplicate of the special one they made for Arthur Godfrey, larger than standard baritone uke (12 1/8" wide, 21" scale), OHC......$2500