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Thread: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

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    Default Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    it was left to me by my grandfather. This item will be mounted in my office. I am not looking for value - looking to just know the brand / year. Thanks for any help.
    Grandpa was from Calabrese, Italy became a citizen in 1900. i have his certificate and immigration papers to mount in the office too. thanks to all who help.Click image for larger version. 

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    additional info, 42 straves , 17 frets, 8 strings

  2. #2
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    I couldn't begin to guess at the maker or year of manufacture. But it looks like it was a very high quality, detailed, ornate instrument! The inlay work is more complex than typically seen on older bowlbacks. And the carving at the heel of the neck is very tastefully done. Your grandpa had good taste in mandolins.

    I'm curious about the tuners, though. I can't say I've ever seen one with the plates on the front of the peg head. Typically those would be screwed to the underside, with the tuning pegs coming through 8 drilled holes in the peg head to just protrude through the top. This gives it strength to hold the string tension by utilizing the strength of the wood. But judging by the photo of the back of the peg head, there were never any holes there, and the entire tuning machine assembly is just screwed to the top of the peg head. So unless this mandolin was re-done by someone incorrectly at a later point and the back was covered up with veneer or something, it would seem that these tuners were always mounted this way. It looks rather bizarre, although I admit I'm not that well-versed in bowlbacks. Maybe some of our resident experts have seen this type of tuner setup before.

    Can you post another photo of the peg head at more of a side angle to the tuners, so we can see how the tuning posts look from a shallower angle? I'm very curious about this.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobin View Post
    I couldn't begin to guess at the maker or year of manufacture. But it looks like it was a very high quality, detailed, ornate instrument! The inlay work is more complex than typically seen on older bowlbacks. And the carving at the heel of the neck is very tastefully done. Your grandpa had good taste in mandolins.

    I'm curious about the tuners, though. I can't say I've ever seen one with the plates on the front of the peg head. Typically those would be screwed to the underside, with the tuning pegs coming through 8 drilled holes in the peg head to just protrude through the top. This gives it strength to hold the string tension by utilizing the strength of the wood. But judging by the photo of the back of the peg head, there were never any holes there, and the entire tuning machine assembly is just screwed to the top of the peg head. So unless this mandolin was re-done by someone incorrectly at a later point and the back was covered up with veneer or something, it would seem that these tuners were always mounted this way. It looks rather bizarre, although I admit I'm not that well-versed in bowlbacks. Maybe some of our resident experts have seen this type of tuner setup before.

    Can you post another photo of the peg head at more of a side angle to the tuners, so we can see how the tuning posts look from a shallower angle? I'm very curious about this.

    Thanks for the initial thoughts, I have added some more pictures of the tuning peg head. I really thank you for taking time to review this mandolin.

  4. #4
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    The tailpiece on this mandolin was made by Waverly in New York City so you can assume it was built in the US. The amount of pearl inlay, the number of stays on the back, and the engraving on the tuner plates would indicate that it was a more expensive instrument when it was purchased. Some of that inlay is stock inlay sold by jobbers to builders and some was obviously custom cut. As far as who built the mandolin, barring a catalog page that's going to be a guess at best unless someone sees something here that I don't. It was built between 1900 and 1920. The tuner plates on the front of the headstock are unusual but not unseen. Wymann of Philadelphia used those tuners and a water transfer decal to mark their instruments. This has some of the characteristics of their bowlback mandolins.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Thanks for the peg head photos. It makes more sense now.

    Good call on Weymann, Mike. Could very well be one of theirs.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    The tailpiece on this mandolin was made by Waverly in New York City so you can assume it was built in the US. The amount of pearl inlay, the number of stays on the back, and the engraving on the tuner plates would indicate that it was a more expensive instrument when it was purchased. Some of that inlay is stock inlay sold by jobbers to builders and some was obviously custom cut. As far as who built the mandolin, barring a catalog page that's going to be a guess at best unless someone sees something here that I don't. It was built between 1900 and 1920. The tuner plates on the front of the headstock are unusual but not unseen. Wymann of Philadelphia used those tuners and a water transfer decal to mark their instruments. This has some of the characteristics of their bowlback mandolins.
    Thanks Mike, when you say water transfer decal to mark their instruments, where would this appear on the mandolin?

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Usually on the back of the headstock.

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...-Bowlback-info
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Does Weymann have a catalog dating back. ?

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    Registered User fentonjames's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Google image search weymann bowlback. A lot of very similar ones pop up. Not exact, but very similar, with the same tuners.

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    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Beautiful mandolin. I would agree Weymann is a good possibility as to the maker. Again, american made of high quality. It looks as if it would even be playable. Most of these old bowl-backs have neck bows etc and it is hard to find a truly playable example. In general, few "neapolitan" mandolins are worth a great deal, but make sure the string tension is low when you mount it and it is kept in a stable environment,
    40% humidity is ideal. Someone may want to try and play it one day.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Would this be a "Inlaid Mother Of Pearl 8-string Bowl Back Mandolin" is there such a thing and who makes them?
    . or maybe a thornward?

    Thanks

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Certainly is a pretty mandolin and to my eye the bling is well done without overwhelming the instrument.

    I would recommend going slow on the Weymann attribution simply on the type and location of the tuners. These were not the sole propriety of Weymann--Martin used these as well on their short lived G series, for instance, though this is by no means a Martin.

    The shape of the bowl does not look like Weymann at all and the headstock shape is very much like that used by Lyon and Healy on their Washburns and other bowlbacks.

    I realize that that headstock shape was used by others, so it is equally projective to base an attribution soley on that. Still, I'd be as inclined to think fancy L+H as I would anyone else at this point.

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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    Certainly is a pretty mandolin and to my eye the bling is well done without overwhelming the instrument.

    I would recommend going slow on the Weymann attribution simply on the type and location of the tuners. These were not the sole propriety of Weymann--Martin used these as well on their short lived G series, for instance, though this is by no means a Martin.

    The shape of the bowl does not look like Weymann at all and the headstock shape is very much like that used by Lyon and Healy on their Washburns and other bowlbacks.

    I realize that that headstock shape was used by others, so it is equally projective to base an attribution soley on that. Still, I'd be as inclined to think fancy L+H as I would anyone else at this point.

    Mick


    Mick, thanks kindly for your input, I am very interested in identifying this mandolin. your input I hope triggers other to speak out......thanks again.

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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Beautiful instrument - I'd love to string it with some ultralight strings and see how it sounds...... No idea who made it however. Is that a label piece in the sound hole or a flash reflection?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Quote Originally Posted by LadysSolo View Post
    Beautiful instrument - I'd love to string it with some ultralight strings and see how it sounds...... No idea who made it however. Is that a label piece in the sound hole or a flash reflection?

    No sorry, no label......thanks for the response

  16. #16

    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Got a PM from the owner -- checked this out asking RE if it's a Weymann -- certainly not a Weymann. It looks Boston-made -- Cole, Fairbanks -- guesses. The headstock shape, style of the inlay, etc. -- the inlay looks like it's done by the same middle-eastern craftsmen working in Boston at the time who're responsible for the crazy 1890s banjos that use the same style.

    I've seen "narrow" Weymann bowls and "fat" Weymann bowls, but none that look like this at all. Also, almost all Weymann bowls have no binding at the soundhole and rounded-down edges on the soundhole... which is a place to start from, anyway.

    Cool mando!

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    The shape of the bowl does not look like Weymann at all and the headstock shape is very much like that used by Lyon and Healy on their Washburns and other bowlbacks.

    I realize that that headstock shape was used by others, so it is equally projective to base an attribution soley on that. Still, I'd be as inclined to think fancy L+H as I would anyone else at this point.
    I am leaning toward Mick's assessment. L&H made lots of pretty fancy pearl-lined mandolins as a "white label" for retail stores to put their own labels in.

    As far as ID from pearlwork that Jake mentions, I hesitate to use pearl pieces as ID since many were provided by the same supplier to multiple makers. The real artwork on pearlwork on upper-end Boston banjos was the engraving and not the pearl cutting. This one does not seem to have any engraving that I can see.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    I have owned this unlabelled pearl-bordered mandolin for quite a few years. Altho the tuners are different the headstock and the pickguard shape is very similar to the OP's. Similar style (tho not the same elements) of fanciful inlay also IMHO from the pearl suppliers. The ivoroid border on the neck collar looks somewhat similar tho not exact.

    Of course, I am not 100% sure either of it maker but it seems pretty close to many features of L&H/Washburn mandolins of the early part of the last century.

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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    From the deepest darkest cobwebbed depths of my brain came a flash that said ACME.
    I am still half asleep so maybe some more flashes will come in a while. Maybe they wont but Acme I seem to remember was the top of the line side brand for one of the big makers. American.

    Ok,,, I am a little more awake now and I definitely claim this mandolin to be an ACME brand mandolin.
    Let the flames begin.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Atetone: you may be right. The ones I have in my files do resemble the OP's somewhat tho the headstock is different. Actually there is the possibility that these were made for SS Stewart by L&H so a few of us could be right at the same time. Mike Holmes says Acme was a Sears brand probably made by SS Stewart but I think that Stewart might have had their mandolins made by other shops like George Bauer and maybe L&H.

    Here is an Acme headstock and a full shot. All of the ones I have in my files are similarly shaped headstocks.

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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Jim do any of the ones that you have in your files have labels?
    The giveaway to me is the unusual style of the inlays and the carving of the neck heel.
    They are both very distinctive traits of the ACME.
    iI seem to remember that there were at least 2 model variations of the Acme.
    Both were very fancy with lots of ribs but one of them had a model name on it rather than a model number.
    Maybe they both had model names instead of numbers but for sure one variation did.
    The variations were cosmetic only with the build of the mandolin the same for all models.
    The one that I am trying to remember the name of was super fancy.
    I have been keeping my eye out for one for forever just in case one popped up.
    Like most bowlbacks they dont command much money so I was hoping to find one fairly inexpensive.
    It has been years since I had researched them and none ever popped up so my memory is really fuzzy about the details.

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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Oh,,, I just remembered,,, one of them was called "The Professional"

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    The one I posted is an Acme Professional. Here is the label and a pic of the label and some of the back with the neck heel. I think now you are correct about this. Take a look at the overlay at the back of the headstock. That is also like the OP's as well as the presence of the carving.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    For comparison, here is a George Bauer mandolin with similar features. The pickguard is differently-shaped but the headstock and carving are present. atetone, I think you nailed it.
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    Default Re: Please help identifing this mandolin - Thanks Antonio

    Jim it is a good thing that you have all of those files.
    My file is in my head and it is not exactly in top notch condition.
    It takes a while to retrieve the information.

    So I think it is nailed as being an ACME and it looks like it was made by Bauer.
    I didnt remember the Bauer part of the equation but I knew it was a side branch of one of the big makers.
    So are we confirming that it was a Bauer product or does this just lead to the old game of "did Bauer make it or did they subcontract it out to someone else"?
    It has an awful lot of ribs. Did Bauer build any others with this quantity of ribs?
    Somehow it is nagging me that they didn't but I might be wrong about that.
    I know that years ago I had this nailed right down to a T exactly who made it but now I cant remember.

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