This guitar has come into my possession. It needs some work done to it and I will be going to Malcolm for some restoration on it and I can’t wait to see the results.
After extensive searching I have established that this is a Hofner 457/S/E1 archtop and part of this series http://www.hofner-vintage.com/hofner-vintage-457.html
To date it, I followed the instructions found here http://www.vintagehofner.co.uk/factfiles/bodydate/bodydate.html and using this method established that the body of the guitar was made on 13th May 1959.
This is tremendously exciting.
…but as I said, there needs to be a ton of work done on it – I can see the following problems with it already:
neck binding crumbling/cracking and coming away from side of neck
veneer on headstock coming away
rusted switches and electronics (though it does make a sound when plugged in!)
missing tuner peg
cracked scratchplate has come away from bracket
broken strap pin
but amazingly, given this guitar hasn’t even been in a case for god knows how long the main body is in tremendous shape with some honest wear and no major breaks/cracks or dings.