The Capritaurus/Folk Roots dulcimers definitely hold an important place in 20th-century dulcimer history. The dulcimer boom in 1970s Santa Cruz centered around the Ruggs's shop, and many of the players from that period who are still kicking around and making music rave about what a phenomenal player Michael Rugg was and what a fine luthier Howard was. And the dulcimers were innovative, using bigger boxes and perhaps some more bracing to get more volume. At some point business was so busy that they split in two, with Michael Rugg taking over Capritaurus and handling the custom market and Howard Rugg & Steve Jackel running Folk Roots geared to mass production.
Folk Roots dulcimers show up on Craig's List fairly often, at least out here in California. I have one that has been on semi-permanent loan to one of the members of my local dulcimer group (who hasn't show up recently, so maybe she took off with my dulcimer!). That dulcimer sounds very good, but you have to get it off you lap. If you strum a chord on your lap and lift it up, you can hear a huge difference in volume and tone. I point this out because if you check out the sound you will want to make sure you can hear it when it's at its best.
As I said, Howard Rugg's big innovation in instrument design was mainly using big boxes for a lot of volume. However, since then (that was 40 years ago!) other luthiers have picked up on those principles and also make really loud dulcimers. If you have heard a Modern Mountain Dulcimer or a Blue Lion or a Gallier or a Beede dulcimer, I don't think your jaw will drop when you hear an old Capritaurus or Folk Roots. The industry has caught up to that old design. However, Howard Rugg is back in business now, having revived Capritaurus a few years ago and is now making really fine looking instruments one-at-a-time. I would agree with Rob that you can find Folk Roots dulcimers for $100 so you shouldn't spend more than that.
Howard is a member here, so if you have questions about what a model number means or what kind of wood was involved, he can probably tell you.
Dusty T., Northern California
As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
updated by @dusty-turtle: 01/16/17 12:40:35PM