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mrmando
Apr-07-2009, 4:45pm
The good news: the seller wants only $3K for a 1920 F4.
The bad news: it's in Cairo, Egypt, or so says the Craigslist ad (http://cairo.craigslist.org/msg/1103910538.html).

I am betting it's a scam. Anyone recognize the photos?

Chris Keth
Apr-07-2009, 5:51pm
Sketchy but possible. Instruments have a way of getting around. I have a friend who has a 000 size Martin he bought off the street in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I think it cost him $40 or $50 and he since has had it authenticated by Martin people.

barney 59
Apr-07-2009, 6:22pm
For what city/area was this listed? I mean do you usually check out the Cairo listings? It's a good price but not a great price and the location sucks. If the price was a little better---(I know where there is an f4 of the same vintage available from a reliable and safe source for $3900)--like maybe $2000 --then a vacation to Egypt might be appealing to someone or even me and this would be a nice time of year to go. I guess if someone thinks these are maybe worth $7000 like I've seen them advertised on occasion the difference would pay for the trip. Maybe you should write back and find out the scoop----it could be an American student or a CIA man or something living in Cairo. An F4 in Cairo is not that weird- I've been there and it's an enormous cosmopolitan city with a large international population and everything that is is there some place. Probably not alot of bluegrass there but I'll bet there is some. Lots of bagpipes as I remember. The seller would have to have a really convincing story to get me to send a check. I would think that it's a rarer item there than here and why not try to sell it there?

jim simpson
Apr-07-2009, 7:21pm
Why is the asking price in US dollars?

JEStanek
Apr-07-2009, 8:30pm
Using modern technology they should be able to detect if there is an A2 hidden underneath it...

That's (http://uk.reuters.com/article/stageNews/idUKTRE52U0VN20090331)pretty funny, Eddie! Tip of the hat to you, sir.

Jamie

jim_n_virginia
Apr-07-2009, 10:10pm
I've been to Cairo and there there are a lot of Americans and Europeans living there. It is entirely possible that an F-4 is there.

But the cost of shipping it back here would be pretty costly not including the danger of damage from shipping.

I probably wouldn't buy it unless they used Paypal and Paypal held the money (they will do it up to 21 days) until I got the mando and inspected it and gave the OK to pay.

Zigeuner
Apr-07-2009, 11:21pm
Travel to Egypt for a vacation to buy such an instrument might be a consideration if one had sufficient loose change, along with proper shots and a passport. LOL. I'm wondering, though, about the issue of the CITES treaty and whether there might be some certification required. I know that the back and sides are not built from Brazilian Rosewood but I wonder whether there are any other woods in that mandolin that could require certification that the wood was pre-CITES? ( CITES went into effect 1 July 1975 )

For example, it could be a problem if it has a Honduras mahogany neck. That's covered and it's likely that CITES covers ebony, as well.

Besides a couple of vintage Gibson mandolins, I have several Martin guitars from the 1960's built from mahogany and Brazilian Rosewood. Although I bought the Martins new, I have no written certification that the wood was pre-CITES. Theoretically, if I were to travel to Europe or Asia with one of my instruments, or try to bring one back into the U.S., I could lose it to some zealous customs inspector.

CITES doesn't prevent import or export of listed items unless they were harvested afer CITES went into effect. The problem is proving when your instrument was built. Sure, we all know that an F-5 with a certain serial number was built in a certain year, but it could be difficult to prove on a moment's notice.

It's just food for thought. :confused:

http://www.cites.org/

Chris Keth
Apr-08-2009, 12:02am
Travel to Egypt for a vacation to buy such an instrument might be a consideration if one had sufficient loose change, along with proper shots and a passport. LOL. I'm wondering, though, about the issue of the CITES treaty and whether there might be some certification required. I know that the back and sides are not built from Brazilian Rosewood but I wonder whether there are any other woods in that mandolin that could require certification that the wood was pre-CITES? ( CITES went into effect 1 July 1975 )

For example, it could be a problem if it has a Honduras mahogany neck. That's covered and it's likely that CITES covers ebony, as well.

Besides a couple of vintage Gibson mandolins, I have several Martin guitars from the 1960's built from mahogany and Brazilian Rosewood. Although I bought the Martins new, I have no written certification that the wood was pre-CITES. Theoretically, if I were to travel to Europe or Asia with one of my instruments, or try to bring one back into the U.S., I could lose it to some zealous customs inspector.

CITES doesn't prevent import or export of listed items unless they were harvested afer CITES went into effect. The problem is proving when your instrument was built. Sure, we all know that an F-5 with a certain serial number was built in a certain year, but it could be difficult to prove on a moment's notice.

It's just food for thought. :confused:

http://www.cites.org/

Surely you could send the serial number to the manufacturer and they could send you a certification letter to keep in the case that it was made on such and such a date.

barney 59
Apr-08-2009, 2:12am
I've heard something about some varieties of mahogany possibly being listed as a category ll CITES item but I don't think that there is anything else on that mandolin that is banned--That is a really good question though --(what mahogany rules are and how does that affect old Gibson mandolins?)it would however be eligible for an import certificate---so what is the rule for importing a preban something that was manufactured in the U.S. into the U.S? So you travel out of the U.S. with your 1965 d-28 into Mexico and it's not questioned or if it is-- it's Mexico and you bribe the customs inspector --then you come home with the guitar you left with which is an American made instrument- how does that work? I don't think it's the age of the material anyway I think that it's the age of manufacture. 100 year old Brazilian on a 2009 instrument makes it 2009 Brazilian and some items like Brazilian and ivory actually date prior to the ratification of the treaty. I think that if you have a preban something that is when you can get a certificate and if it's not preban you can't get a certificate or it's really really hard. Hillary Clinton can probably move her Henderson around pretty easily though.

Capt. E
Apr-08-2009, 8:57am
I would really wonder about the condition coming from a desert enviornment. Has it been kept under proper humidity levels? I have heard so many horror stories of what the desert can do to an instrument.

UncleNorm
Apr-08-2009, 11:29am
Interesting the chat about condition and other "problems" getting an instrument from that part of the world. The prime question seemed to be about a possible scam. Here's my take..... The stated serial no. is from 1920. 1920 F-4 mandolins would not have had aluminium saddles, and aluminium saddles sat on an ebony adjustable bridge base. The pictures show a "one" piece bridge, no adjustable wheels, and NO aluminium saddle. Looks like a scam to me.

jimbob
Apr-08-2009, 11:33am
there's a bunch of expats in Egypt. You could get it back to the sates pretty cheap if you were plugged into a good network of expats form the US working over there.

Zigeuner
Apr-08-2009, 12:00pm
I've heard something about some varieties of mahogany possibly being listed as a category ll CITES item but I don't think that there is anything else on that mandolin that is banned--That is a really good question though --(what mahogany rules are and how does that affect old Gibson mandolins?)it would however be eligible for an import certificate---so what is the rule for importing a preban something that was manufactured in the U.S. into the U.S? So you travel out of the U.S. with your 1965 d-28 into Mexico and it's not questioned or if it is-- it's Mexico and you bribe the customs inspector --then you come home with the guitar you left with which is an American made instrument- how does that work? I don't think it's the age of the material anyway I think that it's the age of manufacture. 100 year old Brazilian on a 2009 instrument makes it 2009 Brazilian and some items like Brazilian and ivory actually date prior to the ratification of the treaty. I think that if you have a preban something that is when you can get a certificate and if it's not preban you can't get a certificate or it's really really hard. Hillary Clinton can probably move her Henderson around pretty easily though.


The issue on your 2009 Martin guitar example is whether the wood was harvested after CITES. Martin still builds high-end guitars wit pre-CITES wood and provides certification.

Beyond that, without certification, say on the F-5 in Egypt, it would be a matter of proving that your wood was pre-CITES. My point was that it could be extremely difficult to prove that in a hurry at a customs inspection center absent a certification. That could also be difficult to get if you were buying an instrument in Egypt.

I took my Topcon camera and some lenses to Europe in 1976 and foolishly in my ignorance, I failed to make a customs declaration before I left. That is a certificate identifying the camera and lenses by serial number. When I returned I almost lost the items at a customs inspection because I had failed to declare them. The issue was resolved when the inspector, who was a nice fellow, carefully examined the items with a 10X eye loupe, looking for wear markes that would show that the camera was used. Fortunately, he let me through.

When he was looking at the camera, I asked him was he was doing. Without looking up, he said, "Oh I'm trying to decide whether to confiscate your camera, lenses and bag". I said..."Oh (gulp)".

I just raised the CITES issue for fun. It's a real problem though, and it could cause great difficulty for musicians with vintage instrments that they carry with them for performances around the world.

Hillary has a Henderson you say? Heck, I knew she was a loose woman but I never thought she was a biker. I wonder if she has any tatts.....I learn somthing new every day. LOL.

Zigeuner
Apr-08-2009, 12:13pm
Surely you could send the serial number to the manufacturer and they could send you a certification letter to keep in the case that it was made on such and such a date.


Well sure you could do that. I guess you would be in Egypt by that time and you could maybe use Fed Ex for your communications to the Gibson company. You could just wait until you get a response. Heck, I bet that would be really really quick. Then once you have the certificate, I guess it would be sufficient for the customs people, maybe, possibly, perhaps.......:)

And, of course, we all know how carefully Gibson keeps track of the woods that they use and all of their serial numbers.....especially on their vintage instruments. (ahem). For example, I have a Gibson Parlor guitar (LG 3/4) that I think was built in 1940 or maybe 1947 or maybe 1949. I've had three different opinions on it. Problem is, there's no serial number. It does have an FON number but I don't think all of the digits are there. I wonder if Gibson keeps track of those? LOL. The body is built of solid Honduras mahogany and is clearly (to me) pre-CITES but absent a serial number or an expansive appraisal, I doubt I could prove it.


Oh well.........:whistling:

mrmando
Apr-09-2009, 1:50am
Norm -- the one-piece bridge is correct for 1920. The adjustable bridges with aluminum saddles came just a little later. The earliest F4 in the Mandolin Archive with an aluminum saddle is 66832, which would be mid-1921.

Even if this instrument had a replacement bridge, which it doesn't, that would be no reason to say the ad was a scam. It is very common for bridges to be replaced. There are several 1920 F4s pictured in the Archive, but only one of them still has the original bridge.

To address CITES concerns, I would print out the PDF serial number list from Gibson's Web site, which is published by Gibson and bears the Gibson logo, and show it to the customs agent to prove that the instrument was assembled pre-CITES.

I should add that I've flown to and from Europe several times with instruments and never had anyone bat an eye. Seems to me I did buy a pair of small Moroccan clay drums overseas and take them home, but I've never tried to import anything bigger.

I've tried to contact the seller of the Cairo F4 and so far haven't heard anything back.

UncleNorm
Apr-09-2009, 8:05am
Martin...the picture of the advertised mando shows a one-piece ebony only bridge, and that is appropriate for a 1920. Agreed. The narrative of the ad implies the "original" bridge has an aluminium saddle. The narrative and the picture don't agree?

mrmando
Apr-09-2009, 12:12pm
Ah. So they don't. The seller copped an F4 description from somewhere online, and doesn't know what a "saddle" is. That could indicate a scam, or just a seller who isn't very knowledgeable.

A scammer can often succeed in creating a reasonably convincing ad, but the problems surface in the e-mail communication, of which I've had none so far...

mrmando
Apr-09-2009, 3:17pm
Whaddaya know, the Craigslist description of this 1920 F4 was lifted verbatim from this eBay description of a 1921 F4 (http://cgi.ebay.com/GIBSON-1921-F-4-MANDOLIN-in-Original-Fine-Condition-_W0QQitemZ220385767512QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxZ2009032 8?IMSfp=TL090328158002r34826), although the photos are different.

I would have a ton of questions about this one. Not for the faint of heart...

Goodin
Apr-10-2009, 12:09pm
I would almost bet this is a scam. Here is why I think so:

1. Price is too good to be true.
2. It is in a foreign country and doesn't list anything about dealing locally
3. The pictures don't look like they are in Egypt.

Possibilities after communication starts:

4. Wants a wire transfer, Escrow, money order, partial payment upfront, or other Nigerian type scams.
5. bad english (grammar, punctuation, etc.)
6. Wont give their full name or contact information
7. Gives false information (Do a Google search, call the phone number).
8. Your instinct tells you it is a scam...it probably is!!!!

I would be EXTREMELY weary of this deal.

barney 59
Apr-10-2009, 2:54pm
It probably is a scam but unless there was a picture of the pyramids in the background what does a picture taken in Egypt look like? I would also expect someone in a foreign country to have bad english- seeing that I wouldn't have any of their language, good or bad. Sometimes on one of these things I get in touch with the seller and tell them that I will be in their city on a particular day or I am already in their city(it's online what do they know) and ask if I can come by and look at the instrument and that if I want it I'm prepared to pay cash. The usual response if it is a scam is no response at all. I always communicate with the seller everytime I am seriously considering going for an item just to feel it out. I got a Larson guitar once that I was sure was a scam because it really was too good to be true. I saw it for what it was and apparently no one else did which is really rare on e-bay. The same happened on a listed Wurlitzer that was in reality a Koa Martin 0-18. This happens at best once a year of looking everyday.
I know,I've seen them -$7000 f-4's but I don't think that $3000 is an "unbelievably" good price--it's just a good price. There was just the other day,( it's gone now) an f-4 set up and in a reliable music store that I was able to put my hands on and play for $3900 and an e-bay item should never sell for any more than 2/3 to 3/4's of what I determine is ,through research, retail-(my personal rule) Vintage guitar bluebook only lists prices for excellent high or low and "excellent" to me means pretty close to "as new" unless it is an extremely rare item-- like a Loar or a 1930 000-45 Martin, a relatively common f-4 would not fall into that category. Sellers look up instruments before they list them, see the high prices and figure that that is what they have as well with maybe no expertise and not considering that these bluebook prices are not based on online auction prices but on sales and trades made by dealers and collectors, most of whom are there to stand behind their items. Buyers on online auctions often do the same and end up paying way to much ,like $7000 for an f-4. Auction items have a degree of risk built right into the transaction and the buyer should get a healthy premium for that. I've had some great deals but I've also been burned (usually as to condition). If you found an instrument say online from a reputable dealer you will always have a grace period to decide if you want it and it will always be honored ,guaranteed, and your only out postage and even that can de negotiated. Dealers also list a price on an instrument that is often considerably higher than maybe they will settle on, giving an illusion overall that values are higher than they actually are. Sometimes dealing with faustus666 or someone like that doesn't always turn out as planned. As it stands I wouldn't touch an auction like this one with a ten foot pole but if I wanted this particular mandolin I would certainly follow up on it no matter where it was and if I was convinced that it is legitimate I might jump in.

mrmando
Apr-10-2009, 3:25pm
Egypt is a former British territory. Cairo is full of expatriates and has several English-language newspapers; it is quite possible for someone living there to have excellent English skills. I did hear back from the seller of this F4 and sent her several pointed questions; we'll see what happens. There are several F4s around the USA being offered in private sales that aren't moving at $5K. I agree that $3K is not "unbelievably" good given the difficulty of getting it from point A to point B and the great likelihood that it's a scam in the first place. I doubt I would end up buying this one, but I am going to check my couch cushions to see if there are any unexpired EgyptAir flight vouchers down there that I've forgotten about. I do have an acquaintance who went off to teach at a school in Cairo a few years ago; wonder if he's still there?

Goodin
Apr-10-2009, 4:03pm
My first impressions of the pics were that they were in somebody's front yard in Subarbanville, USA judging by the lawn it looks temperate, and not a dry climate like Ciaro... just my first impression.

I think that $3000 for an all original great condition like this one IS an unbelievable deal. I have kept a close eye on these F-4's lately and the cheapest asking price for a comparable F-4 was $4800 and it was snatched up quick.

Hey mrmando... Does this persons writing style in the emails match up with the listing? ...this ladies name isn't "Victoria" is it?

mrmando
Apr-10-2009, 4:07pm
I know who Victoria is; she lives here in the Seattle area...

As I mentioned above, the description of this mandolin was copied from an eBay ad. What I got via e-mail was a one-sentence reply, and no, it didn't sound like the same writer who did the description, but I wouldn't expect it to.

Goodin
Apr-10-2009, 4:30pm
Ok...the reason I ask is I'm looking into another mando in the UK that Im almost certain is a fraud by someone named Victoria in the Shetland Islands.

Goodin
Apr-10-2009, 4:31pm
...probably (hopefullY) not the same Victoria that you know in Seattle!

mrmando
Apr-10-2009, 4:44pm
No, different seller.

mandomania7923
Apr-13-2009, 10:38am
i emailed this lady this is my email to her


Is this still available? Would you ship to America? Thanks!

Her email back


Dear sir,

Thank you for your email, yes still available. I can prepare to shipment to America. If you interested to purchase please email back.

Best Regards
Dina Mita

My next email


Is there a reason you are selling so cheap?

her response


Dear sir,

Thank you for your email, this is reasonable price for this guitar in here. So how much u need for it ?

Best Regards

I don't understand the last email, but I wouldn't buy it. It just doesn't seem complete to me

mrmando
Apr-13-2009, 11:01am
I didn't get a reply to my followup questions. I have zero confidence in the seller at this point. If I were in Cairo and could go see the instrument, that might be different.

mrmando
Apr-13-2009, 5:28pm
Aha ... the Craigslist ad is a copy of this eBay ad (http://cgi.ebay.com/1920-GIBSON-F4-ORIGINAL-MANDOLIN-WITH-ORIGINAL-CASE_W0QQitemZ370187432816QQihZ024QQcategoryZ10179 QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem), which itself complicates things by lifting text from another ad.

Darryl Wolfe
Apr-14-2009, 10:32am
Now it's in California :disbelief: woops, did not see your link Martin
http://cgi.ebay.com/1920-GIBSON-F4-ORIGINAL-MANDOLIN-WITH-ORIGINAL-CASE_W0QQitemZ370187432816QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_De faultDomain_0?hash=item370187432816&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A2%7C65%3A10%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318

mrmando
Apr-14-2009, 5:06pm
Those mandolins sure get around, don't they?