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harmonist34
Aug-14-2011, 8:52pm
So I know the FON is the only way to get the date on Gibsons of this era, but I'm having two problems:

1. It's really hard to make out
2. What I think it says, 413, doesn't seem like it could be right

If these started in '35, that smudged first mark could be an A, which would make sense. But it just seems smaller than the numbers, so my first thought was that it was just a smudge from the edge of the stamp.

Anybody with better eyes than me want to make a guess? I'll update the info in my classifieds listing if there's anything conclusive.

Thanks!

Andrew

http://www.guitarmatch.com/images/gb5/gb5m.jpg

MikeEdgerton
Aug-14-2011, 9:14pm
They were available from 1934 to 1936 according to Gruhn.

Masterbilt
Aug-15-2011, 12:16am
Maybe a 3-digit number plus a letter "B" at the end - "441B"?
According to Joe Spann's book a suffix "B" would indicate 1936 (441B is not listed).

Joe Spann
Aug-15-2011, 5:45am
Hello Andrew,

From the evidence given by Gibson catalogs, factory records and observed instruments it is my opinion that Gibson produced batches of A-Century mandolins in 1933, 1934, 1936 and 1937. This model also appeared in the 1935 catalogs and price lists, but I haven't yet seen a confirmed 1935 batch. It's likely that one will eventually turn up.

As you already know, the A-Century model did not receive a serial number. The best way of determining a production date is by examination of the Factory Order Number (FON). However, like many of the head-block, ink-stamped FONs, yours is blurred.

My personal interpretation of what I see in your photo of the headblock is FON "1413". This batch does not appear in my book, but in the 1934 chart I do see batch 1412, which was a group of L-Century guitars. Therefore, I believe your mandolin was produced in 1934 and is from a previously unknown batch 1413.

Joe

Vernon Hughes
Aug-15-2011, 6:10am
Looks like 4418 to me.

harmonist34
Aug-15-2011, 7:22am
Thanks for the replies, all!

I guess it doesn't much matter, but seems like 1413 ('34) is at least fairly likely. I'll go with that for now.

Thanks!
Andrew

mandobassman
Aug-15-2011, 8:03am
I agree with vhughes2000. I think it looks like either 4418 or 4413. Did they use 4 digits on FON's?