View Full Version : Were the Loars the only mandolins that were signed?

Apr-28-2010, 11:04am
I got a call from a lady yesterday asking if I could help her find a mandolin for her son to play. She said she already had one mandolin that she inherited from her dad and she gave that to one of her sons but needed another mandolin for her other son to play now. I could tell she didn't know much about mandolins so I started at the beginning with the basics. She then said, "I wanted to get him a Gibson because that's what my Dad had but when I looked them up online they are REALLY expensive". Hmmm.....

Long story short is I found out her Dad bought this mandolin a long time ago... sometime between the late 20's and 40's. She said her son took it to a music store and they appraised it at $20,000 a year or so ago. I then told her about Ferns and Loars and told her to look for a signature inside that said Lloyd Loar. She said, "Well, there is a signature inside but I don't know what it says". I ended the conversation with , "Don't sell that mandolin... it may be worth a lot more than $20,000 and someone may have been trying to get a good deal".
So guys... of the old Gibsons, how many were signed? Were Fern's signed? Also.... $20,000 seems like an odd value for a vintage Gibson. I would think if it's a Fern or a Loar it would be at least $80,000 or if it's a F4 or something else it would be worth less than $10k. Any thoughts?

Apr-28-2010, 11:15am
Orville Gibson signed some instruments- $20k would be appropriate for one of those perhaps?

Apr-28-2010, 11:22am
Maybe someone was comparing it a new Gibson MM or DMM and didn't even know what it was. Can't tell a thing without a photo I guess...

Matt the Mead Maker
Apr-28-2010, 11:37am
I've played a signed Charlie Darrington. Not sure who else may have signed at Gibson. Obviously, that's outside the date range of this mando but other builders do/have signed.

Gary Hedrick
Apr-28-2010, 12:08pm
If it's from the 40's or earlier and is a Gibson F style and "signed" then it's a Lloyd......or else a very unusual Fern etc ....
If you want to help this poor lady then find out asap ......20k is likely a game.....why not 2k....I don't know but I doubt that's it's a signed Leo Dumbrowski , shop foreman signed F5.......LOL......

Apr-28-2010, 5:45pm
The only prewar signed mandolins were the F5s made from late 1922 to Dec. 1924. However there are those fake Loars.
While the story sounds believeable there could be cogs in it not being a signed Loar. Her saying she could not make out the signature sounds suspect as Lloyd's signature is very easy to read. And then there is the date on the same label which is also very easy to read and she does not mention a date. Too many red flags on this one. Photos is the only way to get more information from this group of experts. And I would doubt any music stores estimate that was free. I've seen pawn shops value a Gibson 60's A50 at $20,000.

Apr-28-2010, 6:01pm
Yeah, probably not anything REALLY special but I'm going to try and get a look at it and... who knows, I might be suprised.

Patrick Gunning
Apr-28-2010, 6:05pm
Go forth and get us the scoop. This sounds possibly promising...

Gary Hedrick
Apr-28-2010, 8:12pm
Just remember it wasn't that long ago that a lady walked into a music shop in Clovis, CA with a Loar that she had been using as a wall decoration. So stuff does happen