Re: 1936 Gibson F4
Depression-era F-4's are rarities, as (1) Gibson built fewer mandolins in the '30's, and (2) the focus shifted to the f-hole models (F-5, F-7, F-10, F-12). In the mid-'30's, Gibson stopped putting binding around the headstock and replaced the fancy headstock inlays with a plain diamond. Prices I've seen range from $5K (Boston Craigslist) to $6.5K (Denver Folklore Center). This seems to be slightly under 1920's models, more comparable to 'teens (pre-Loar) prices. The F-4 was discontinued early in WWII.
I've been a tiny bit skeptical about the "Loar era" designation for models that Loar never signed. Are they really better built than ones before or after? While a late-'30's F-4 won't have as nice inlay as an earlier model, and of course won't have Handel tuners, I think an opinion as to its sound and playability could only be arrived at by a hands-on comparison. And, since it's hard to find several F-4's in one place, such comparisons are difficult to accomplish.
Elderly currently has two 1920 F-4's for sale for under $5K. There's a 1919 here for just under $6K.
Without knowing the price of the '37, hard to say where it would fit in this price hierarchy. I would venture to say that the large majority of F-4's going on the market predate this one by 15 years or more. The oval-hole, F-style instrument was definitely on its way out in Gibson's estimation at the time it was made. For that reason, and without playing it, I'd say it's marginally less attractive than an early '20's F-4, despite its rarity. But that subjective opinion says nothing of its acoustic value. It is still a quality instrument, the top oval-hole mandolin Gibson made, and, depending on its price and condition, could be a very good acquisition.
Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
Natl Triolian Dobro mando
Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
Stradolin Vega banjolin
Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
Flatiron 3K OM