View Full Version : Old Gibson F-4, would like some info.

Feb-05-2014, 5:20pm
This used to be my late grandfather's, just curious on some info about it. Value, history, etc. Serial number is 50329. Thanks in advance.


Feb-05-2014, 5:59pm
50329 indicates a late 1918 ship date. This appears to have its original case (minus the handle) and hardware (minus the pickguard). Plectrum wear is the only damage I can see. Probably worth $5K or a little more, maybe $5500 max, although F4 prices seem to have softened a bit these days. If you intend to keep it, it's worth getting it appraised/insured, preferably through a specialized provider like Heritage or Clarion.

Feb-05-2014, 10:58pm
Thanks for the info! I have had it insured since it was passed to me.

Feb-05-2014, 11:01pm
Do you intend to play it or just keep it around?

If you're going to store it, make sure to take almost all the tension off the strings (they should be just tight enough to hold the bridge in place). It's also best if the temperature and humidity are as constant as possible.

Inside the instrument, stamped on the neck block, you should find the factory order number (usually 4 or 5 digits). This indicates the manufacture date, which can be the same year as the ship date but is sometimes a little earlier.

Feb-06-2014, 10:21am
Here's the F-4 as it appeared in Gibson's 1918 Catalog K:


Feb-06-2014, 1:53pm
I have no information about your specific mandolin to contribute to this thread, but I just wanted to say you're a lucky guy. I sure wish I had had a family member with one of these to pass down! I do have a baby grand piano purchased new by my great-grandmother in 1922, though, and there's something magical about enjoying music on an instrument that's been in the family for that long. I sure hope you take the time to enjoy this mandolin and learn to play it. What a fantastic piece of family history.

If you do decide to sell it, PLEASE include some history of your grandfather with it. Even non-family members can appreciate having the original owner's name to go with their mandolin.

As I'm sure you know, that mandolin is an investment piece. According to the image posted above, it sold new in 1918 for $110, plus $6 to $9 for the case. When we adjust for inflation over the last 96 years, it was the equivalent of about $1,800 in today's money. But they sell in the $5K-$6K range today, and I expect they'll only continue to go up in value. So enjoy it, but take care of it!

Feb-07-2014, 5:25pm
Wow thanks for all the info everyone!