Hi all! Tho I have been a fan of the site for years, this is my first post. I have a friend who recently purchased a bowl back with a label inside from the Ditson Co., Boston, Phila, New York. The words "The Conquest Mandolin" also appear but no info such as date, patent, etc.. I currently have the mandolin at my house and will get some digi pics to post for you. In the meantime, I'll say that this instrument plays nicely and has a quiet, airy tone...nothing like my F5 for sure! It has a rather unique pickguard which appears to be tortoise with wood and pearl a/o abalone inlayed into it. Simple dot inlays on the fretboard. No inlay on the headstock. I believe the machines are original and the buttons may be ivory??? If they are plastic, there is absolutely NO SEAM to be seen to suggest molded plastic. There is also a rather clumsy, hinged tailpiece. At first, I thought "who would put such a clunker on such a small instrument?" until I picked it up to play it and discovered that the tailpiece doubles as a rather comfortable armrest! It (the tailpiece) appears to missing a latch device that would have prevented from opening accidently)...much like the latch button found on some purses. It is definitely NOT a delicate little clamshell like those found on similar instruments.
So-until I can get some pics posted, I am open to your speculation about how old this instrument may be. I am more familiar with the C.F.matin/Ditson partnership than other Ditson products (i.e. other instruments, sheet music, etc.).
Glad to be hooked up to the Cafe and looking forward to spending even more time here!
Thanks to everyone.