Flatiron 3M bouzouki, 1982, acoustic. $1,750.
Here's a flattop, acoustic octave mandolin/bouzouki from Flatiron, the little mandolin maker that could. Old Flatiron "pancake" instruments like this one are highly sought after for their durability, playability, surprising volume, and pleasing tone. This particular example was built in Bozeman, Montana, before Gibson acquired the Flatiron company. Secondhand Flatiron mandolins are still around, but in diminishing numbers; the mandolas and bouzoukis are somewhat harder to come by.
     Reportedly this bouzouki was purchased new but almost never played. So it looks better than I did at 40 years of age. It's very clean—not perfect, but has no finish checking and almost no wear—and sounds truly wonderful, as many Flatirons do. It has a teardrop body shape with flat top and back, solid spruce top, highly flamed maple back and rims, and 24-fret ebony fretboard with pearl dot inlays. The ebony nut is 1-7/16" wide, and the scale length is 23-5/8". Mahogany neck with center strip, ebony bridge, half herringbone top trim and herringbone soundhole rosette. Nickel tuners and kidney-bean tailpiece. Neck is straight, action is low and comfortable. Serial number 8211159. Original hardshell case. See more photos, call 425/772-0231, or for more information. $1,750 plus shipping.