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Thread: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

  1. #1
    Registered User David Smith's Avatar
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    Default Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    Over the past 2 months I have noticed what appears to be a lot of Ellis mandolins on the market, many from the 2005-2006 batch years. Now I know these things run in cycles and I vividly remember last year how it seemed folks were selling off Gibson F5G's like crazy, but Ellis is a bit different. So I was wondering if all the very positive comments made here and elsewhere about Tom Ellis' work and sound has created a prime market or if some other reason may be the cause? I have also seen the prices drop from the initial flurry of activity to the most recent. When the Ellis sell off first began a few months back the asking prices for a 2005 were over or at $9k, then they started to drop to $8.5k, and the most recent post has a 2005-2006 @ $8k. The trend is going nicely for anyone in the market for a great Ellis. Any thoughts?
    "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to leave alone."

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    I think it is impossible to generalize any market wisdom based on our observed trends in the Classifieds or our own unscientific observations.

    When a particular quality mandolin cannot be found for sale used, many conclude that it is so highly prized that nobody wants to part with them.

    When a particular quality mandolin seems abundantly available used, many conclude that it is so highly prized that the demand is creating a market.


    When you cut a blueberry muffin in half, the number of blueberries on each side will not be the same. I am not sure that means anything.
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    Registered User Dan Margolis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    I still own my 2010 Ellis A Special, with no plans to sell. However, I do think that these things run in cycles as you said. Before I bought mine, there was lots of buzz on the Cafe about Ellis. That definitely influenced me. Although expensive (to me), the Ellis A style was presented as somewhat of a bargain compared to some of the other great brands out there - I'm thinking of Heiden, Nugget, Dude, and, of course, Gilchrist. I'm not saying that Ellis is equal to those brands. I've never played any of them so I have no idea.

    Once you have such an instrument in your hands you can play it all you want and then perhaps wonder: is there something more glorious out there? And if so, should I sell this great mandolin and put the money towards something perhaps even greater? There is a fair amount of mandolin flipping out there, and there's no reason to assume that it ends at the higher price points. Plus, most of us know that the yearning for something new is often stronger than the satisfaction of owning a thing.

    My Ellis is more than enough mandolin for me. If I were to ever sell, it would be to downscale, not upscale.
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  6. #4

    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    like marriages? 7 years and you want a change?
    i have noticed "trends".
    coinkydink methinks.
    i remember a few Brentrups all at once.
    then nuggets.

    i dont think it means anything

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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    I said this before and I was criticized and accused of being a conspiracy theorist but I will say it again.... Whenever there is a solid thread on any brand of mandolin, all of a sudden they pop up like crazy in the classifieds..

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  9. #6

    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    You can observe the same phenomenon with buses.
    Last edited by OldSausage; Jan-30-2015 at 1:53pm.

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    Registered User Atlanta Mando Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    I would make a couple of comments about this. One, IMO, we are in a bit of a weak market for selling high dollar mandolins. Prices have been coming down a little across the board for used mandolins. Not a ton, but some, and across many brands. I think this is partly because there are so many great makers now pumping out instruments that the market is a little saturated with awesome, well made instruments. Second, Ellis has been a hot brand, and has had a pretty good output of instruments in the last few years. So you get those together and you see more of his mandolins for sale right now and prices are down a little for his and really most top builders. This is all just my opinion obviously. And...I want one so I look at every one that comes up with lust in my eyes. Those are great mandolins!!!

  12. #8
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    When you cut a blueberry muffin in half, the number of blueberries on each side will not be the same. I am not sure that means anything.
    Yup, and this just goes to show that all generalizations are false. Sometimes, each half winds up with the same number of blueberries. Go figure.

    Oh, and when a particular mandolin brand seldom shows up in the classifieds, it's obviously because few people ever buy them. And when a lot of a particular brand of mandolin show up in the classifieds, it's because owners are dumping them. Isn't this kind of market wisdom wonderful? It explains so many things! Next, let's explain the Stock Exchange...

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  14. #9
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    Oh, sausage, you are the one aren't you!
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    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Atlanta Mando Mike View Post
    I would make a couple of comments about this. One, IMO, we are in a bit of a weak market for selling high dollar mandolins. Prices have been coming down a little across the board for used mandolins. Not a ton, but some, and across many brands.
    As I recall, the general rule of thumb around here is that a used mandolin is reasonably priced at 2/3 to 3/4 of its new price. Given that a new Ellis F5 goes for around $11,500, that would suggest that the reasonable range for a used Ellis should be between roughly $7,600 and $8,600. So even if this is a weak market, I would think that used Ellis F5s that are selling in the $8,000 to $9,000 range are still a bit above average in terms of resale value. (Of course, that 2/3 to 3/4 rule of thumb may or may not be applicable to higher-end mandolins, but as a basis of comparison, it's worth looking at.)

    Second, Ellis has been a hot brand, and has had a pretty good output of instruments in the last few years. So you get those together and you see more of his mandolins for sale right now and prices are down a little for his and really most top builders.
    I don't know Tom's actual production numbers, but based on my observation here, he has only been making about 18 Ellis mandolins per year over the last year or so (the Pava line seems to be much more active in terms of output). I do agree Ellis is a "hot brand", but it's a very small market for that kind of price.

    My guess is that this is just a random couple of sellers who happen to be moving their Ellis mandolins at the same time. No larger pattern at play. But I could be wrong.

    I do admit to having to fight the urge to buy 'em all.

  17. #11

    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    Got the Deja Vu feeling reading this thread.
    This one might be the reason:http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...highlight=DUFF
    Different brand, similar questions.

  18. #12
    Registered User Atlanta Mando Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    I found an add for #112 made in 2007 (at Carters right now) and Redflag got his in December 2014 and it is #322. Rough math is 201 mandolins over 7 years puts it close to 30 mandolins a year. This would make sense with a 4 person crew and getting finishing done out of the shop-even with the Pava's going out you need some volume to support that many folks. This in no way is meant to belittle or diminish Ellis mandolins. I love them and want one big time. But he is already to #322 vs. Gilchrist at #700 and Steve has been steadily building since 1979. Ellis has higher output with good automation where it is needed and a 4 person crew. Smart

  19. #13

    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobin View Post
    As I recall, the general rule of thumb around here is that a used mandolin is reasonably priced at 2/3 to 3/4 of its new price. Given that a new Ellis F5 goes for around $11,500, that would suggest that the reasonable range for a used Ellis should be between roughly $7,600 and $8,600. So even if this is a weak market, I would think that used Ellis F5s that are selling in the $8,000 to $9,000 range are still a bit above average in terms of resale value. (Of course, that 2/3 to 3/4 rule of thumb may or may not be applicable to higher-end mandolins, but as a basis of comparison, it's worth looking at.)



    I don't know Tom's actual production numbers, but based on my observation here, he has only been making about 18 Ellis mandolins per year over the last year or so (the Pava line seems to be much more active in terms of output). I do agree Ellis is a "hot brand", but it's a very small market for that kind of price.

    My guess is that this is just a random couple of sellers who happen to be moving their Ellis mandolins at the same time. No larger pattern at play. But I could be wrong.

    I do admit to having to fight the urge to buy 'em all.
    well, as one who not so long ago grabbed an E,

    I passed on several that were 8k and above, because, I too think 2/3 is about right for a used instrument currently and readily available new, with warrant and no issues, hassles, etc

    my opinion only based on several ads and inquires, but E owners are , relatively well heeled, and many are not in need of selling, and perhaps too, they are currently more popular than other boutique builders in that price range. As such , perhaps, those owners are not as financially motivated. thus the higher prices.???

  20. #14
    Registered User Atlanta Mando Mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    This is all speculation, I may be dead wrong about his production!!!!

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    Registered User David Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    Got the Deja Vu feeling reading this thread.
    This one might be the reason:http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...highlight=DUFF
    Different brand, similar questions.
    Alas, there is nothing new under the sun.
    "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to leave alone."

  22. #16
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    I got to meet with Tom back in the summer at the NAMM show. He said that he was producing about 12 mandolins
    a year at this time. These mandolins sit at a price point almost in a category of their own and they probably should be fetching
    13-15K new due to their quality IMHO. The mentality of a used one going for 2/3 of new I think can be used for lower end instruments but not for higher end Instruments. If so I will offer the next Gilchrist/Dude that comes up for sale $13000 for their
    $20K mandolin.
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  23. #17
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    I really don't think any correlation or inference can be made between an instrument's quality and how many of them show up on classifieds here. Things do move in cycles; I can still remember a little while back, a new Sam Bush listing would pop up at least once a week, and prices were all over the place. And don't forget that we are approaching tax time this time of year.

    If you're in the market for an Ellis, I guess now's the time to buy

  24. #18
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Bradley View Post
    .....These mandolins sit at a price point almost in a category of their own and they probably should be fetching 13-15K new due to their quality IMHO. The mentality of a used one going for 2/3 of new I think can be used for lower end instruments but not for higher end Instruments. If so I will offer the next Gilchrist/Dude that comes up for sale $13000 for their
    $20K mandolin.
    It's all about supply and demand. Why are there are a handful of Ellis madness for sale right now? Apparently a handful of Ellis owners needed money or have MAS. Simple as that.

  25. #19

    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    David asked above:
    [[ Any thoughts? ]]

    It's tax payin' time again!

  26. #20
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    Tom Ellis's mandolins are up there with the very finest being made today. I'd been a fan of Ellis mandolins years before i even thought of buying any brand of mandolin. My recently acquired used "A" style is incredibly good & far better (IMHO) than a couple of much more expensive mandolins that i had the chance to play last year. I tend to agree with Shaun's remark that folks simply decide that the cash is more important than the instrument at 'a given point' & so they decide to part with it. Other owners of mandolins have found that they're not playing them enough to warrant keeping them. I sold a superb Gold Star re-issue banjo 9 years ago for that very reason. Mandolin had taken over & i was hardly touching my banjos at all,in fact nothing's changed much on that front. Instruments come onto the market for all sorts of reasons & some folks will happily find their dream instrument available at a price they can afford,
    Ivan
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    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    Who was building custom mandolins that were among the best, most respected, most expensive ones made back in the 1960's, 1970's, or 1980's ? What do those go for today? Why don't we hear about them ?
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    Who was building custom mandolins that were among the best, most respected, most expensive ones made back in the 1960's, 1970's, or 1980's ? What do those go for today? Why don't we hear about them ?
    We do.

    There were few builders in the 60's, but by the 70's there were a number of 'names' at work: Randy Wood is certainly among the best known from that era. Bob Givens is another. Both of these get regular mention here. There were other active builders making quality instruments too, from the early 70's onwards including Unicorn (Rolfe Gerhardt) and Stiver.
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    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    Interesting. But seems most of those I've seen for sale here have been from 2000 and later. I've seen a few from those builders from the 1990's. I dont recall seeing any from those builders from the 60's, 70's or even 80's in the few years I've been here.

    Most from those builders for sale that I've seen are from more recent. And, were Woods, Stivers, Givens truly as expensive and respected back then as say an Ellis or Red Diamond is today ? And, back in the 60's or 70's was there anything in the ball park of a Gilchrest in terms of expense ?

    My guess is those mentioned above were the young chaps back then, not the master luthiers of that era that they are now.

    So who were the master luthiers of those 30 years (60-90) ?

    Where are those mandolins now ?
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    Astro, this is something I've pointed out many times. It was a mandolin desert in the 60s and 70s. There was demand for good mandolins but it was small in comparison to the guitar market. Gibson made 2-3 F-5's a year, usually on custom order but never matched the tone of the 20s mandolins.
    This gave rise to the individual builder market with the affor mentioned names and others like Tom Morgan, Bob Shue, Bob White, John Paganoni, Marion Kirk and John Hutto to mention a few. By the mid 70s Steve Gilchrist, John Monteleone, Rolfe Gehrhart, Mike Kemnitzer AND Tom Ellis were getting in the game.
    The high priced mandolin phenom happened when the supply of some of those great mandolins was short of the demand and there were some folks who had the $ to get what they wanted.
    Last edited by Jim Hilburn; Jan-31-2015 at 9:46am.

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  33. #25
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lots of Ellis Mandolins for sale

    That makes since Jim. And I remembered someone else pointing this out before (you).

    Also

    (1)master luthiers today probably produce a lot more mandos per year than their predecessors thanks to CNC and modern technology. And (2) As you said the master luthiers of that era were all too busy making guitars rather than mandolins because that was where they could make a living then. Seems only recently you see top luthiers switching from guitar to mando and I remember one top luthier who recently said he switched entirely from guitar to mandolin because right now the profit per hour is higher with mandos.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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