Bill- what's 3261? That runs in a series with a couple oddballs. F2 #3263 was mine.. & A4 #3264 was a friend's. Both had no inlaid pickguards (or raised ones.. far too early).
Seems to be a good thread for unusual things.. I'll just leave this here!
No sign of color fade from green (checked inside pocket and under a couple spots where no sun damage could be). Theories.. chemical change in the dye or original lemon yellow case. Everything else is so clean and near-pristine, I'm thinking original lemon yellow case.
Odd case color? Don't assume all vintage mandolins have their original cases. We've seen many outlive the life of their original case by many decades. Some cases just crumbled after 60 years. Climate conditions play a big party in how they stood the test of time. I would explain the orange case color as either a sample sent to Gibson as a one off or it was made by Geib for another company like Bacon/Vega/LyonHealy and found it's way to a Gibson.
Here's a late 20's Geib & Shaefer case for a Ludwig Banjo. They clearly used gold plush for other companies. I'm not aware of any proven prewar Gibson cases with gold plush.I would explain the orange case color as either a sample sent to Gibson as a one off or it was made by Geib for another company like Bacon/Vega/LyonHealy and found it's way to a Gibson.
What a historical letter that is! Note the cable address GIBMANDLIN. 10 chars. The grand daddy to email, txt.
Thanks for sharing that.
And so... ref 83660, Gibson is saying that they built this mandolin in '28, and were specific enough to say August 27 !!! Where do we know there are records that are that specific for a date of build ??
The implication is that there were at one time, but they have all either been destroyed or lost ??
In any case, ref to the Archive, how does that mesh with the "traditional" date of build stated as '25 ?
All things lumped together, this immediate change after Loar left is now looking more like a gradual change over the years. The actual serial number progressions came to a screaching halt compared to the 1920-1923 production numbers.
I don't think they completed an F5 on one day and shipped it out the next. Shipping records would also have exact dates while FON are more general dates like the month of July in 1923. It appears they were sitting on quite a few F5s in various stages of completion waiting on orders that seldom came in. Dave Apollon was their biggest F5 customer and he got his free for the endorsement. Walter K. Bauer who played first mandolin in Loar's Gibsonions told me that after Lloyd left things went to pot at Gibson in the mandolin department. He said he got a 30's F5 and the tuners fell apart in a few months. He mentioned how they got heavier in weight and on the finish and were using cheaper woods. He switched to Vega after that.
I guess we can surmize that the Gibson personal in charge of customer relations/questions was no better in 1947 then they are today. I think you are right in it's all they had in 1947. While Joe has not found any proof we have long heard about the fire that destroyed a lot of the Gibson factory and records in the mid 30's. Do any build records with FON exsist from the 20's and 30's for the F5s?
Long time vintage dealers like Harry West and Benny Cain is where I heard about the fire. One thing for sure , the F5 and other instruments sure went through some major changes starting around late 1934. While the banjos were considered to get better in the mid to late 30's as well as some mighty fine jumbo guitars not so with the F5.
I had conjectured a lot of this a few years ago and posted my thoughts here a few times. What I'm seeing is that while it may have lingered on longer than I thought, I bet Loar was not the only key employee to go from the mandolin dept. The flowerpot unsigned mandolins of 11985, most surely were assembled and finished in Nov/Dec 24, my reasoning being that the last batch of F5's was signed Dec 1st. If Loar was still active there in Dec, they would have at least a small batch well under way. My thought was always that they were hanging in the drying room to cure over the holidays. The ferns with low numbers like we are discussing, finish not withstanding, I ask the question. Do these mandolins have ivoroid binding and mitered point protectors. The pictures of this mandolin do not show me that it does. I like to see it in person
Tom H. Ellis
Curiously, white celluloid (or whatever one chooses to call it) first showed up late in the Feb 18, 1924 batch on front bount pegheads and the fingerboards with the hump in the florida.
79824 Bill Camp Signed March 31, 1924, Fern Loar, but has a Nov/early Dec serial number
75945 depicting earlier perhead with white
73670 "unsigned" with white celluloid, not-humped florida but white binding and gold parts. Also has the flat spotted scroll contour seen on well post Loar "Ferns"
I am not sure I understand the previous question... but, I have never seen a Fern Loar that did not have white body binding. That also holds true for this F5 we are discussing. All Fern Loars, and this Fern have the white binding under varnish that has yellowed, so they do not appear the stark white of post Loar Ferns.
The white will show through on the common wear spots, where the varnish has been removed.
Excellent examples, Darryl -- thank you!
Can't tell from these photos if the ivory points are dovetailed into the bindings, as that feature is usually only visible from the tail side of each point. They always appear flush on the neck side.
Ken is 100% correct about the FernsLoar body binding being white. I left the case slightly open because as he says, some of them appear to be ivoroid but likely are not.
Another fine detail is that white started appearing as the inner white line on the body binding with the outer being ivoroid in ealy 1924 at about the same time as the peghead white appeared.
As alluded to about the peghead binding on Fern Loars, yes, some (maybe not all) do have ivoroid binding. This generally sets them apart from the prototypical fern of the 83xxx 84xxx genre
I present some related details from 73755, the July 9 1923 Fern Loar as examples of why I believe it does NOT belong to the March 31, 1924 batch, after those are some typical fern Loar shots (those actually came from Mr. Ken) Edit: The top row is 76779 and the bottom is 73755
Another unique item about Fern Loars are the tailpiece covers. They appear to be platinum. I have not seen one that was not.
I think the peghead binding is the same as the body binding, but is yellowed under the varnish. I did a close examination of mine a minute ago, and I believe this to be the case. The protector points are dovetailed, just as Bill says, visible from the underside only.
The body binding of the Fern in this thread, is white. I played it several times, and recall it clearly. I loved it!
This may really rock the boat, but, I believe the Fern Loar at Gruhn's inherited that Fern some time after it was made. I think that's a circa 1926 overlay added for whatever reason, be it damage or whatever. I do not think it left the factory that way.
Any opinions on that?