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Thread: Anyone recognize this no name mandolin?

  1. #1

    Default Anyone recognize this no name mandolin?

    Looking for any info on this mandolin. It plays pretty well. No name on it but it has a "Made In USA" stamp on the inside. I am assuming it's a Sears brand from the construction and design but I haven't found any with this exact stamp. The screws on the tuning pegs used to be nails but i replaced them when they were pulling out. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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  2. #2
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone recognize this no name mandolin?

    Looks like a Stella. At least I've seen photos of Stella's with that white pickguard on the flat top.

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  3. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone recognize this no name mandolin?

    I'm thinking Stella as well, when Stella was a line of Harmony-made instruments. If you can think of a "budget manufacturer" having a "budget line," that was Harmony's Stella catalog.

    Harmony did build extensively for Sears Roebuck; in the vintage of this instrument, their normal Sears brand was "Silvertone." However, Sears did sell some totally unlabeled instruments -- my brother had a Sears acoustic guitar, with just a "Made in USA" stamp inside the soundhole, no other ID on it.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Anyone recognize this no name mandolin?

    Yes; I've seen Harmony-labeled instruments looking nearly identical except for slightly differently shaped headstock. Late 60s or early 70's. I have a nearly matching Harmony, I think stamped ~'71.

    From what I've noticed, Harmony-labeled models appear both in solid spruce-topped and hardwood-topped versions. As far as I've seen, the Stella/off-label versions always have hardwood tops like this one.
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  5. #5
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone recognize this no name mandolin?

    Spruce top:

    Birch top:

    Stella was originally a brand from Oscar Schmidt, who produced a very similar mandolin, often (like this one) with birch top.

    Schmidt Stella with black top (probably birch):

    Schmidt also had a fancier line called the Sovereign:

    But sometimes sold the same instruments with the name Stella on them. This one has a Potemkin koa top and plain birch back and sides:

    What's in a name?

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  7. #6

    Default Re: Anyone recognize this no name mandolin?

    You find MADE IN USA stamped into parlour guitars made by United Guitar Corporation and this company took over the Jersey City works of Oscar Schmidt. Indeed, some of its guitars definitely have stylistic similarities to late 1930s OS instruments- the "open book" headstock, for example on its more expensive models. I cannot say for sure that it was made by United but it does not look like a Harmony made instrument and is definitely not a Kay. Furthermore, the less expensive parlour guitars from United had their tuners and tailpieces nailed into the instrument- as you mention was the case with this mandolin.I would doubt that it is Regal, so that leaves United which stamped its instruments with the USA made mark- which the other makers never did. I have lost count of the number of United parlour guitars I have seen on ebay that are being sold as either a Kay or Harmony product. Jake Wildwood has some of the company's guitars on his website in his museum section but not under United. Here is one sold by Wards- the others have various brand names:
    Last edited by NickR; Jun-14-2018 at 4:08am. Reason: Extra info added:

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