Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    8

    Default Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    I have a friend wanting to post her Gibson for sale. Have no idea on appraised value. Any suggestions on where to begin from reliable source?

  2. #2
    Better late than never walt33's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    240

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    Try Mandolin Bros. in New York:
    http://www.mandoweb.com/Services/Page.aspx?ServicesID=2

    You can ship it, take it in, or send them photos if you're too far away.

    Walt

  3. #3
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    9,324

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    You can post photos here and the Gibson nuts will offer their opinions for free. Appraisals by Mandolin Bros. or Gruhn will come at a price.

    If you have the model and serial number and a general description, that's a start, even if you don't have photos.

    If a dealer appraises an instrument at, say, $2500, that accounts for the dealer (a) being able to get the mandolin a lot of exposure by hanging it in his/her shop; and (b) taking a commission (usually 20-25%) and giving you the rest. It takes a lot of luck for an individual to sell an instrument at its full appraisal price, because an individual can't get as much exposure as a dealer can.

    Are you in THIS Washington or THAT Washington?
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson Rigel Thormahlen Andersen Old Wave Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    2,209

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    If you post a photograph and particulars on this forum there are scads of people here that can give you a pretty rough estimate of it's value and a few people that can give you an accurate estimate of it's value and all for free.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    Thanks Martin - I'm in "THIS" Washington, near you! Got some photos from her today and the S/N. She's out of state but wanting to sell as she has no musical interest. Look for my post here in the near future. I have my own AO but it has too much sentimental family value to ever let go - and I like playing too much.

  6. #6
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    9,324

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    Well, in that case I can recommend a couple of local shops where you can likely get a professional appraisal. But post it here first and we'll all take a stab.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson Rigel Thormahlen Andersen Old Wave Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    OK, so I finally got some photos of this Gibson mandolin and posting here. Sorry for the bad quality, particularly of the S/N. I'll have that for you tomorrow:


    http://www.kodakgallery.com/gallery/...hotos-_-Sharee

  8. #8
    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1996
    Location
    Norfolk, England
    Posts
    5,688

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    AUSCFAN, you've got yourself a 1925 Gibson snakehead A or A1 model there. Looks pretty nice- that's a desirable age for one. I'd guess retail value in the current market is about $2900 (Assuming there are no cracks and that the back is in good shape too!).

    As others have pointed out, selling to a dealer you should reasonably expect them to take a bite out of the retail price to cover their overheads and to keep in business. Sometimes they sell well on the classifieds here on the cafe (which are free), and sometimes they can go better (or worse!) on ebay. All depends on the day really.

    Give it a whirl here on the classifieds, be ready to accept an offer, and also offer a couple days trial period for your buyer so they can eyeball it themselves too. It's customary here to offer a weekend to try it out if the buyer pays return shipping if they decide to pass.

    Other things you should check..
    - does it have the original mandolin case with it?
    - check carefully for cracks that follow the grain lines.. the "spiderweb" on top is just standard aging of the lacquer topcoat
    - don't clean or polish it, many of these products can damage the finish

    Good luck with the sale
    The Mandolin Archive
    my CDs
    "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead"

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    No. California
    Posts
    563

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    I'm not sure about Dan's call of the year, because I had trouble reading the serial number in your photo. It looks like it's 87 _ _ _, which would put it in the late '20's. Check out this link for a better guesstimate:

    http://www.mandolinarchive.com/perl/...l?post-loar:7:

    Also, the finish looked pretty seriously cracked, but I don't know enough about those mandos' value to tell if Dan took that into account in his appraisal.

    Your friend might check Elderly's or Mandolin Brother's current inventory to see if they have anything similar. That would give her a sense of what they are going for in the stores. As mrmando mentioned, if those mandos are on consignment, their owners are willing to take 75-80% of what the store price is. If she decides to list it on the Cafe, she'll probably want to list it for 90% of what the stores ask, and then hope to sell it for 90% of that, which could put her a little ahead of what she'd get from selling it on consignment.
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

  10. #10
    Registered User 8ch(pl)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suburb of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
    Posts
    2,169

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    Lovely Old Gibson A. Snakehead, Blackface. Looks like all original Hardware. Just about the most collectable non Loar-signed A. I saw one like this in Mandolin Brothers about Ten Years ago for $3200. Gibson stopped making the Snakehead about 1926 or so and went back to the paddlehead Headstock style.

    Dan is probably right with his value, I would think at least $2500. I was in email contact with a guy who had one of these in an ebay auction. he asked me if he should stop the sale to take an offer of $1300. That's when I told him about the one in Mandolin Brothers. He kept the auction open and made over $2100. His mother had bought it in a yard sale in New Jersey for $45.

  11. #11
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    5,885
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    This is a really interesting thread. I have a couple of questions I'll ask out of simple curiosity (and they might help the potential seller as well):

    * Would it make sense (from a purely cost/benefit standpoint) to take the mandolin to a good, reputable shoppe and have a full work-up done on it (set-up, check frets, etc.) before selling? IOW, will the work-up add more potential sales value to the mandolin than it will cost?

    * If the seller doesn't plan on having any work done on the mandolin before selling it, would it be beneficial to either substantially relieve the string tension (leaving the bridge in place), or to completely remove the strings (being careful to not damage or lose the bridge)? If string relief is a good idea, which option is better: greatly reduce the string tension & keep the bridge on, or completely remove the strings?

    I hope that the seller ends-up happy with what she gets for the mandolin, and I hope that the new owner will cherish this vintage beauty, and bring her back to life with hours of joyous playing!

    Thanks;
    Ed

  12. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    20,913

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    I would say the finish would knock down the value some but $2000-2500 seems in the right ballpark while taking that into account.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook

    Playing lately:
    Ca. 1923 Washburn (L&H) Pro A -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- 1904 Embergher Type 3 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo

  13. #13
    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1996
    Location
    Norfolk, England
    Posts
    5,688

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    I think it's just standard lacquer crazing with lots of dust and debris in the crazing lines. My guess is also flash making that burst out. When I photograph those period ones I normally have to take some precautions to not overflash them or let the light shine too much out of the crazing..
    The Mandolin Archive
    my CDs
    "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead"

  14. #14
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    20,913

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    Dan: you might be right about that. I usually don;t use flash but like to photograph outdoors on an overcast day. Still there is more crazing than on my similar model '23 black face A.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook

    Playing lately:
    Ca. 1923 Washburn (L&H) Pro A -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- 1904 Embergher Type 3 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    OK, the serial number is 80770 after talking to my friend. To answer/respond to several questions:
    1) Yes, I flashed the camera and the spiderweb cracks in the finish aren't as defined as the flash makes it look. 2) We relieved the string tension so that's in pretty good shape. 3) Nothing has been done to clean it up other than a dry dust cloth 4) Has the OHSC with it, and it's in "just OK" condition. 5) She probably won't be putting any money into restoration before sale, and 6) I'm not in favor of the e-Bay route for her - would rather it go on Classifieds here. Thanks for all your comments - keep watching this thread and I'll let you know when it's going to be listed.

  16. #16
    Registered User 8ch(pl)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suburb of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
    Posts
    2,169

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    The crazing is a good indication of original finish.

  17. #17
    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1996
    Location
    Norfolk, England
    Posts
    5,688

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by 8ch(pl) View Post
    The crazing is a good indication of original finish.
    yessir. It all looks kosher to me. Best of luck with the sale
    The Mandolin Archive
    my CDs
    "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead"

  18. #18
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    9,324

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Fast Eddie View Post
    * Would it make sense (from a purely cost/benefit standpoint) to take the mandolin to a good, reputable shoppe and have a full work-up done on it (set-up, check frets, etc.) before selling? IOW, will the work-up add more potential sales value to the mandolin than it will cost?
    Well, sometimes it will. Depends on what problems, if any, are found during the setup. You'd want to make sure the transverse brace is good and tight (and have it reglued if it's not), and then make sure the bridge is properly placed so that the mandolin plays well.

    Players who want to try out an instrument locally will expect to be able to play it, and will be inclined to pay less for it if it's not playable. When shipping long distance, though, players may be more inclined to buy a mandolin "as is."

    I had an old A2 (not snakehead) and traded it to a Cafe member in needs-work condition. This kept his costs down, and he was able to barter with a shop to get the setup work done. It's a good thing he did that, because the brace popped right off the top upon inspection! It also had a bridge that was seriously out of whack, but now it's fixed up and reportedly sounds wonderful. I might have been able to charge more if I'd had the work done myself, but then I would have had to find another buyer.

    If your shop inspection reveals other sorts of problems (need refret, loose binding, open seams, etc.), you may reach a point of diminishing returns. A refretted instrument isn't as valuable as one with original frets, so you may not be able to recover the cost of a fret job when you sell the instrument.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson Rigel Thormahlen Andersen Old Wave Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  19. #19
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    9,324

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    By way of comparison, here's another snakehead for sale in Washington state.

    It's not all original, despite what the seller says: the original pickguard has been replaced with some sort of clear plastic stick-on thingy. And he's trying to sell it for the full appraised value of $3500 (pretty robust sum if you ask me), which doesn't account for dealer's commissions and the other stuff I mentioned earlier. I predict he will be a long time trying to sell it at that price.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson Rigel Thormahlen Andersen Old Wave Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  20. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    No. California
    Posts
    563

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by AUSCFAN View Post
    OK, the serial number is 80770 after talking to my friend.
    In that case, she has a late 1924/early 1925, according to this reference:

    http://www.mandolinarchive.com/perl/...s.pl?post-loar

    They have photos of 80773 and 80774, with some limited info about both of those.
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

  21. #21
    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1996
    Location
    Norfolk, England
    Posts
    5,688

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    Yes, the serial matches up with expectations. I'd say '25, with the usual caveats about which serial matches up to when. Build date, finish/hardsware date, ship date can vary by quite a bit.

    Long-winded
    The convention is to treat the loar labels as the "Date" of those mandolins, and extrapolate the others nearby from them. Loars signed in '24 might not have shipped from gibson until a couple years later by some indications.. but what's really important? The snakeheads have a deserved reputation for sounding good compared to other A models, and this is clearly a snakehead. My experience with 2 recent late '24 or early '25 ones is indeed that they are nice sounding mandolins.
    The Mandolin Archive
    my CDs
    "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead"

  22. #22
    Registered User jim_n_virginia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    North East Carolina
    Posts
    3,515

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    oh man a 1925 Snakehead! COOL! I was expecting a paddle head ore something. What a nice mandolin! Does she have the original case with it? That'll fetch her a even better price!

  23. #23
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    Thanks Jim. Yes, OHSC is included, although it's not in the best of condition. Even have a few old strings/wrappers in the case that I told my friend to hang onto. She's thinking this over as we speak and as I stated before I'll probably help her list it here, where someone who can appreciate it's worth can take a shot at buying first.

  24. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Need help appraising old Gibson A Mandolin

    OK, my friend finally posted her mandolin in the Cafe Classifieds, ad number 47764. It's a real deal but you should check out the mandolin first. She's not had any work done on it. She's had several inquiries and/or calls on it already.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •