All original (except white plastic tip missing from whammy bar). Gorgeous cherry red finish, white binding on every edge including the nicely chiseled f-holes. Just nifty.
España was a brand name used by Buegeleisen & Jacobson of New York City. This company imported instruments made overseas under its specifications (or meeting its specs) and marketed through various wholesalers or distributors in North America. In its position B&J did not have to care about neither manufacturing nor after-sale warranty, it was just a buy and sell business. Key to success was a long established fame (the company was founded in 1901 or so), a carefully selected product range and a clever marketing policy that focussed on a few proprietary trademarks.
As far as electric guitars are concerned Japanese-made instruments were sorted between the Winston (entry level) and Kent (medium to pretty good quality) brands, regardless of the actual manufacturers (Guyatone, Teisco, Kawai…).European guitars were gathered under the brandname España, first used in the years 1961-1967 for Swedish-made classical guitars supplied by Hagström (more about it). B&J and Hagström had been in relationship as soon as 1932, as Hagström just started production of accordions and was already looking for opportunities to export to the USA.
The name Espana was an obvious reply to the also N.Y.C.-based Hershman Musical Instruments Co. that was by then enjoying a huge success with acoustic guitars made in Gothenburg by Herman Carlsson AB (a.k.a. Levin) and sold in the U.S. under the fake Spanish name Goya. B&J took advantage of the high repute they had granted to Swedish-made guitars and choosed a name that sounded even more Spanish. Sales were soon buoyant, B&J complained they didn’t got enough of those guitars to satisfy demand, so instruments from Finland were also enlisted to enlarge the España section in the B&J catalog. There is no much doubt that Hagström helped to establish the link to this additional sourcing.
In the 60′s second half Buegeleisen & Jacobson also applied the España brand to ES-335 copies from Italy (made by Crucianelly) and Finland, the Finnish ones being distinguished by their glued-in neck and a crown logo. Other than that both ranges were pretty similar. Wether Italian or Finnish supplies were first to be imported in the U.S. ist still unclear. España electrics from Finland are more frequently shown in B&J catalogs and ads, but on the vintage market the Crucianelli versions are at least six times as many. In terms of specs they do not show any difference with those wearing a Élite, Crucianelli or Tonemaster logo.