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Thread: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

  1. #1

    Default Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    I'm in an interesting situation and am looking to see what others think about it. I recently purchased a 1916 Gibson F2 off Craigslist. When I showed it to my band, our banjo player said "that mandolin does not belong to you!" Here's why he would make this statement.

    Where I live there was a local musician by the name of Dan Ison. He was a true picking talent. He played many instruments including the mandolin. In fact he played the very mandolin I purchased off Craigslist. In 2002 he left the area and his family unexpectedly and rumor has it he hocked the mandolin. Well, he came back a couple years later with his tail between his legs and indeed no longer had the mandolin. Sadly Dan took his life in 2008. I had the pleasure of playing in a few groups with him over the years.
    Anyway, as it turns out the mandolin was owned not by Dan but a collector here in my town and was loaned to Dan to play. The fellow I purchased it from bought if from the pawn shop where Dan hocked it.

    My banjo player says I am not the rightful owner. Is he right? I paid good money and bought it in good faith and had no idea of it's checkered past. I believe I own it. Am I right?

    Input appreciated.

  2. #2
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    First off, it was a banjo player who told you it doesn't belong to you, lol! Nothing in your story indicates to me that you are not the owner. You'll have to post a photo or so and let us know condition, etc. We are geeks that way.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

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    Scroll Lock Austin Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    Interesting story. I'm not sure how a court of law would rule on this (and I am no lawyer), but I imagine that as far as the law goes, it might also differ a bit from state to state.

    To me, it would all depend on the arrangement between Dan and the collector. If there was a signed agreement, then the mandolin might truly belong to him. You would go after the person you purchased it from, who in turn would need to try and recoup his losses from the pawn shop. The pawn shop would be the loser, unless they could collect from Dan's estate.

    But if all the collector did not have any documents supporting his claim, then it would be up to you how you wanted to handle it, and you've already stated your position on the matter.

    Think of it this way: If someone steals your car, and I buy it in good faith from the thief, or even a second owner, it doesn't mean that it's not your car.
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

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    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskamando View Post
    My banjo player says I am not the rightful owner. Is he right? I paid good money and bought it in good faith and had no idea of it's checkered past. I believe I own it. Am I right?
    Your good faith, unfortunately, does not cancel out someone else's bad faith. This isn't to say you've done anything wrong at all. You're one of the victims here, if this is indeed the collector's mandolin that was hocked by Dan.

    You may want to get in touch with the collector who this belonged to, and see how he wants to handle it. Surely he would understand your predicament. But now that others know you have it, it's possible that word may get back to the collector anyway. So you might want to get on top of this before you get a nasty surprise, say, from the police who might just take it from you as stolen property, leaving you on your own to try to recoup your losses.

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    Registered User Dale Pauline's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    I wonder if the collector ever brought any charges or complaints against Dan? I worked in a pawn shop a number of years ago and every item brought in for sale or pawn was listed along with any serial number and a copy of the pawn ticket was given to the local sheriff's department weekly. If an item was found to be stolen a police officer would come down and pick up the item. The shop was the loser.
    Cheers,
    Dale

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    Registered User jmp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    I would talk to a lawyer. Hate to say it but the collector may have a claim, especially if he could show that by selling the loaned item it was "stolen"...since you've been informed of the circumstances worse case you could be charged with "Possession of stolen goods"

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    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    Interesting situation. Talk with a lawyer.
    Bill
    IM(NS)HO

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    Registered User Marvino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    Is this the mandolin?





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    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    the collector may not have reported it stolen. as far as they know. dan has the instrument.

  15. #10

    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    Interesting story. From my years working at a vintage guitar store, sometimes these situations do happen, and sometimes they get complicated. Legally, I think the mandolin is yours. I agree with Dale, that if the mandolin was reported stolen, it would have shown up in a police report when the mandolin was pawned. OTOH, the collector may never have reported it stolen or missing. If he does not have a police report on file, then again, the mandolin is legally yours. It would take a police report with the serial number to prove the mandolin was his, and of course, the report would have to have been filed years ago back when Dan had possession of it. Again, this would only occur if the collector had an issue with Dan playing it, which apparently he did not.

    On the OTHER other hand, it sounds like the story is legit and well-known in your area. So, from a moral perspective (not a legal one) you might want to contact the collector and get his take on it. Sometimes you can "undo" the deal and get your money back from the guy who you got it from, and he can get his money back from the pawn shop, etc. Of course, you will be out a nice mandolin and whoever profited from the sale, would be out their profit (probably the guy who bought it from the pawn shop). Even without the serial number, it is probably the only old F2 within a 1000 miles of where you live.

    OR, move to another country and enjoy your mandolin!

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    Registered User fentonjames's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    so all this happened around 2002. it is now 2015. statute of limitations. it's yours.


    1935 Gibson A-1 Wide mandolin
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  18. #12

    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    Without knowing the laws in your state, it's pretty hard to say just who the legal owner is, or if you are technically in possession of stolen property.

    If the mandolin was truly lent to Dan by this collector, the original crime was committed when Dan presented it as his property to the pawn shop. According to your account, that happened 13 years ago.

    Over the last 13 years, if the 'collector' noticed the absence of his mandolin, did he report it as stolen? If so, I believe the statute of limitations (whatever it may be, depending on the value of the instrument) would begin at the time of the police report or discovery of the crime. Or, had the collector even realized that his mandolin is missing?
    In my state, I believe that even if the original statute of limitations had run out, a new crime was committed when the mandolin changed hands via the Craigslist sale.

    I have no idea what a lawyer's advice would be in this case.

    The right thing, painful as it may be, would be to contact this 'collector' and tell him what you've told us. Maybe he'll put it on permanent loan to you. Maybe you'll be left empty handed.

    It's a tough situation all the way around. I wish you the best.

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    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    I repeat, talk with an attorney. All the "legal" advice above is worth what you paid for it.
    Bill
    IM(NS)HO

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    Registered User Jackgaryk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    "Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide"

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  23. #15

    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    If indeed this is the collectors mandolin---the banjo player may be wrong about that,it might just be a lookalike. If the collector has any documentation such as he has the serial number or whatever then morally the mandolin is his,in my opinion. If it had been mine and I came across it ,no matter how much time had passed, I would consider it still mine! I'd bet you would too! Legally? I don't know, but my guess is it is his. I have a friend that purchased a '58 Les Paul in what seemed like a legitimate transaction. My friend put it up on ebay and within a day or two the police showed up at his door. It was stolen in Michigan(my friend is in California) more than a decade before and the owner had an ebay search going for his stolen guitar. When it showed up he recognized it immediately and called the authorities. The guitar was deemed the rightful property of the original owner. Did I mention that my friend is a lawyer?
    A great story of a guitar that was found in the bushes in Georgia. A few years later he takes it to a luthier friend to have it set up to give to his son. The luthier recognized it as a very nice classical guitar but since he didn't know know much about classical guitars he contacted some experts in NYC. He describes the guitar and the experts say "Yes we are really familiar with that guitar, it was Andre Segovia's origin Hauser that was stolen along with a BMW that belonged to a collector in Georgia a few years ago!" Needless to say the guitar ended up going back to the rightful owner!
    I had my '47 Chevy pickup stolen once. A couple of years later "Son of a b..." there it was parked on the street so I just took it and everything in it when I went!

  24. #16
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    Without knowing the laws in your state, it's pretty hard to say just who the legal owner is, or if you are technically in possession of stolen property.

    If the mandolin was truly lent to Dan by this collector, the original crime was committed when Dan presented it as his property to the pawn shop. According to your account, that happened 13 years ago.

    Over the last 13 years, if the 'collector' noticed the absence of his mandolin, did he report it as stolen? If so, I believe the statute of limitations (whatever it may be, depending on the value of the instrument) would begin at the time of the police report or discovery of the crime. Or, had the collector even realized that his mandolin is missing?
    In my state, I believe that even if the original statute of limitations had run out, a new crime was committed when the mandolin changed hands via the Craigslist sale.

    I have no idea what a lawyer's advice would be in this case.

    The right thing, painful as it may be, would be to contact this 'collector' and tell him what you've told us. Maybe he'll put it on permanent loan to you. Maybe you'll be left empty handed.

    It's a tough situation all the way around. I wish you the best.


    I do not believe there is a statute of limitations pertains to retrieving stolen property. It's about the crime.

  25. #17

    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
    I do not believe there is a statute of limitations pertains to retrieving stolen property. It's about the crime.
    The police would come into the store where I worked (usually with the person who reported a guitar stolen) and if the serial number matched, the police gave the guitar to the person--end of story. One time I remember an owner found his guitar that was stolen over 20 years ago--and the police report was still on file. Doesn't appear to be a statute of limitations, in my experience. OTOH, with no police report and serial number previously filed, the owner couldn't get back his guitar. That happened a few times, also.

  26. #18
    Mindin' my own bizness BJ O'Day's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    I think the statute of limitations covers prosecution. I don't know if it elapses time for trying to recover stolen property.
    BJ

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    If something is loaned and not returned, is it not stolen? If it is not reported stolen, is it any less stolen? Wouldn't the owner (the one who loaned the mandolin) be the rightful owner in any case? Do we give up our right to our property if we don't sign a written contract when we loan it to someone? If I hand you an instrument to play (loan it to you) across a jam circle, do I need to have a signed contract specifying that it is mine and not yours? Otherwise, are you free to walk away with the instrument as your own? Take it to a pawn shop?

    I'm not a lawyer, so these are more than rhetorical questions. In other words, what does the law say? Would this be federal law, state law, local law?
    Surely, there are legal answers to these questions as well as moral answers, and hopefully the two will agree.

  28. #20

    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    On the other hand your banjo friend might not know the whole story. Maybe some arrangement happened between those guys that he doesn't know about and the thing isn't "stolen" at all!

  29. #21

    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    Good advise from above. Contact the collector and find out for sure. If it is actually his and there is an issue that can't be worked out you should see the advise of an attorney. If it was reported stolen did the collector have it insured and did he file a claim? If so it might be water under the bridge.
    Happened 13 years ago and one of the parties past away, seems a little muddy any way you look at it. To be you have done nothing wrong and agree that you would also be a victim if it is the same mandolin.
    Good luck and hope it turns out well.

    John - I had some items stolen out of my vehicle a couple of years ago. One item was a camera and was distinctive. I filed a report. I saw the same camera listed on craigslist less than a half mile from my house. I contacted s guy who took me to his friends house. I think the got an idea that something was up. Gave all the info to the police and he grilled me to prove it was mine, which I could. Never heard anything more from police???? Do something that valuable the collector needs to provide some proof that he owned that mandolin. Otherwise it would be he said he said and I think possession would be the owner.
    Last edited by Northwest Steve; Jun-30-2015 at 2:00pm.

  30. #22
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    If you are going to get along and play music with these people, you may need to do more than is required by the law. Sometimes being in the right is overrated.
    Indulge responsibly!

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  32. #23

    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
    I do not believe there is a statute of limitations pertains to retrieving stolen property. It's about the crime.
    BINGO! The pawn shop may no longer be under threat of prosecution. The current buyer and seller might be.

    (My post was in response to a previous post suggesting that the statute of limitations had run out. I should have made that clear)

  33. #24
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    How would you know the story behind this mandolin in the first place?

  34. #25
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    Default Re: Lost and found 1916 Gibson F2 - Need input

    Jeff said what I felt needed to be said. Music circles are tight knitted wherever you go, and even in large cities like Los Angeles and San Diego it's hard not to run into the same people time and time again. I don't really see a way to resolve this satisfactorily unless all parties are happy with the outcome, no matter what the law says. I'd say take the mandolin directly to the collector and talk it over.

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