Thank you for allowing me to post my research as the answer. I wish I
could have located a bit more for you and I shall keep an eye out
"just in case" I do.
Do enjoy your lap steel!
Answer reposted from above:
As you will see, your model is similar to the Chicagoan's and
resembles New Yorker's in some ways. But is distinctly different as
For a few examples:
"National lap steel "Chicago" model, early '40's. Excellent condition,
missing bridge cover. With original case. Make offer.
Note: Missing bridge cover will lower the value. Your seems to be
missing it as well. The $400 here seems to be on the high side of
asking prices for these models and it also includes the case.
And, a 1951 Chicagoan with case for $200:
"NATIONAL CHICAGOAN LAP STEEL GUITAR (c.1951)
EC except needs work (replace crumbling tuner buttons, clean
electronics, clean, restring and set up, etc. - sold AS-IS), grey
pearloid body with matching headstock, clear fingerboard with cream
backing and black musical note position markers, "G" clef on first
fret, ~23" scale, 1-15/16" nut width, screw-on jack cord connector,
Supro pickup with black screw-on pickup cover, volume and tone
controls, 3-on-a-plate Kluson Deluxe tuners with white plastic
buttons, headstock badge with blue "National" logo, with tweed OHSC
185U-203 .. $200.00 buy "
Note the serial number is obviously a different series than yours. I
don't believe this means that yours is significantly older than the
early 50's, however. Serial numbers must not have run consecutively.
You'll note the following model is newer, yet has a "T" serial number:
"NATIONAL CHICAGOAN LAP STEEL GUITAR (1958)
EC-, grey pearloid body with matching headstock, clear fingerboard
with cream backing and black musical note position markers, "G"clef on
first fret, screw-on jack cord connector (NO CABLE), Supro pickup with
black screw-on pickup cover, volume and tone controls, 3-on-a-plate
Kluson Deluxe tuners with cream tulip shaped buttons, brass finished
headstock badge with blue "National" logo, ~23" scale, 1-15/16" nut
width, with rough OHSC (SN:T2983)
185U-175 .. $300.00 buy "
Here is a similar model Serial # G20958 which was made in roughly 1960:
If we look at this as a trend, then the earlier letters alphabetically
are the newer model lap steels. This would put you in the early 60's.
Here's a 1959 model, for another example, and similar in style to yours:
We know it was made between 1932 and 1970:
"...After each side sued the other, they merged in 1932 to form the
National-Dobro company. Although resonator guitars were initially
well-received, the company quickly shifted its focus to the emerging
National made no DOBRO® guitars after World War II, but several of the
Dopyera brothers revived the spider-bridge resonator guitars under the
DB Original brand. Family members formed the Original Musical
Instrument company in 1967 and made resonator guitars under the Hound
Dog brand until 1970, when they finally reacquired the DOBRO® name..."
This page further refines the manufacturing dates:
"...National lap steels were made from 1935 until 1968, when the
company became bankrupt..."
And, as you mention, there is no zip on the registration card, so its
down to 1935-1963!
So, about the best we can pin this down is between the late '50s -
early 60's. As to value, as you will see, they sell between $200 and a
high of maybe $600 depending on condition, completeness and whether a
case is included or not.