How and if to add a 1 1/2 fret
Instruments- discuss specific features, luthiers, instrument problems & questions
UserNo4: Post your photos in a discussion in the General Group, probably.
You touched on, not off, a deeply philosophical debate (not a religious debate) There are indeed people who buy and collect truly old (pre-1960s), truly rare and collectible dulcimers because they are what they are: a piece of musical history. Those people look at their collection (and invite others to do so) as well as play them periodically -- in the manner intended by the original builder. They want to keep the old dulcimers original, not "tart them up" with all sorts of modern innovations like geared tuners, extra frets, etc.
Then there are others who would buy the Mona Lisa and paint a mustache on her just because they think it looks, cool and hip and modern.
My feeling is that if you like the looks of an old collectible dulcimer, but want it to have all the modern bells and whistles, you (and the dulcimer community as a whole) would be better served by finding one of the many fine dulcimer builders here or elsewhere, and have a replica of the old instrument made with all those "mod-cons" like built in acoustic pickups, geared tuners, extra frets, etc. The replica will probably cost the same or less as a collector's item, and being new construction will take the abuse of modern playing styles much better.