Country Chatter

Roy Acuff’s Fiddle Anonymously Donated to Goodwill Store

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There have been many stories about folks who go to thrift stores and stumble upon an item and later find that it is a priceless antique. That may have been the case if the folks at the Goodwill of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas didn’t realize what they had.

The North Oak Goodwill store in Kansas City, MO received an anonymous donation of what has turned out to be one of Country Music Hall of Fame member Roy Acuff’s personal fiddles.

“We recognized right away that it was something special and we now have it up for auction,” stated Gary Raines of the Goodwill e-commerce division. “We have no information on the owner. They just donated it and moved on. … The certificate of authenticity and other paperwork are copies but we are confident that it’s the real thing.”

Acuff’s fiddles were made by his uncle, Evart Acuff, who numbered each one. A sticker inside says the fiddle, No. 19, was handmade in August 1945 in Maryville, Tenn. (although the sticker says “Merryville”).

The fiddle is now being auctioned by Goodwill at shopgoodwill.com, which has more photos and other details of the instrument, including the fact that it was made of applewood from a tree on a family farm. As of noon Thursday, the high bid was $8,002. The auction is open until 11pm (CT) on Saturday.

Acuff, a native of Maynardville, Tenn., first became famous as the singer and fiddler for the Crazy Tennesseans, who later became the Smoky Mountain Boys. Some of their biggest hits included “The Great Speckled Bird,” “Wabash Cannonball,” and “Night Train to Memphis.” Later hits included “I’ll Forgive You But I Can’t Forget,” “The Waltz of the Wind” and “Tennessee Waltz.”

He was also a regular performer on the Grand Ole Opry and starred in the 1940 film “Grand Ole Opry.” In 1942, he and Fred Rose formed Acuff-Rose Music, which became the most powerful publishing firm in country music. He was awarded a National Medal of Arts and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He was the first living inductee in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1962. Acuff died at the age of 89 in November 1992.

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