Seems like a fairly high price for what appears to be at best a decent production model from one of the big US manufacturer's around the turn of the 20th C., my hunch from Chicago, but there are a number of options. # Todd, the business was quite incestuous back then and a lot of instruments were made by the big houses (Lyon and Healy, Oscar Schmidt, for instance) and sold under other labels, often by the local music store - perhaps even Strait if they had been around back then. #Often labels came loose, or the instruments were sold with no labels at all. # L+H produced a huge number of bowlback mandolins at a range of price points to cover the market. #Some of their second line or unlabeled mandolins were of as high a quality as some in their premium line, Washburn. #The number of staves in the bowl and the added MOP decoration and binding might have originally put it in the price range of the mid level Washburns, but was probably marketed to the large number of mandolin 'orchestras' sprouting around the US at that time. #The guess of 100s of K production is not off the mark and they regularly show up for auction on ebay, rarely fetching $275. #The fact that the case appears in at least functional condition is a blessing, as the instrument looks it quite fair cosmetic condition.
Martin, Strait Music is a venerable Austin instrument vendor, from pianos to tin whistles, (and hardy survivor of numerous floods.) Well stocked generalists, #I wouldn't expect them to have much experience with mandolins, old or new. #It may be quite true that they have never seen one this old. #That would probably be true of most people. #It is quite old. #Which in and of itself isn't saying all too much. You have to be careful with those folks from Austin, though, they can be quite tricky.
G3-P2. #Breathing easier for a few days.....?
Ever tried, ever failed, no matter. Try again, fail again, fail better.--Samuel Beckett