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Thread: Makers getting Top Dollar

  1. #1

    Default Makers getting Top Dollar

    For many of us, a top level mandolin is something we spend years or even a lifetime saving and yearning for. Here's a short list of the global individual luthiers, producing in small quantities, who are currently getting 10K or more for their new top level mandolins and who have established themselves as producing instruments of consistently high quality. Please feel free to add any that I may have missed.

    John Monteleone - $45,000
    Mike Kemnitzer (Nugget) - $25,000 - 30,000
    Steve Gilchrist - $22,000 - 25,000
    Lynn Dudenbostel - $22,000 - 25,000
    Don Macrostie (Red Diamond) - $15,000 - 20,000
    Hans Brentrup (just stopped mfg.) - $15,000 - 20,000
    Michael Heiden - $17,000 - 20,000
    Tom Ellis - $12,000 - 14,000
    Bill Collings (MF5V Custom) - $11,000 - 13,000
    Corrado Giacomel J5 - $12,500
    Jonathan McLanahan - $11,000 - 14,000

    And here's a short list of maker's that are deceased, but continue to bring high prices. Again, happy to get input here from others.

    Lloyd Loar Signed Gibson F5 - $75,000 - 200,000
    D'Angelico - $20,000 - 35,000
    D'Aquisto - $15,000 - 25,000
    John Zeidler (Carrara) - $18,000 - 25,000

    Happy Picking,
    D

  2. #2

    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    Cool list! The mention of D'Angelico makes me wonder what the market might have been had the bluegrassers embraced the D'Angelico mandolins.........

  3. #3
    working for the mando.... Bluetickhound's Avatar
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    I can name (but won't...) at LEAST 10 builders who don't get that kind of scratch for their instruments but whose work is every bit as good as any of the above mentioned builders....
    "A creative man is driven by the the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others."

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  5. #4
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    A lot of that pricing is "ambitious"....I know Carter's for example is pushing Heiden prices but I dunno, are they really selling retail for those prices in today's market?
    1994 Gibson F5L made by Bruce Weber's team


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  6. #5
    Registered User Mark Seale's Avatar
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    I'd be curious to see the same list and what their instruments bring on the secondary market. I think that is most telling for realized and retained value. While Monteleone may publish (and get) a price of $45k for a new grand artist mandolin, there are several available now under $20k. Seems almost a bargain...

    And, I'm familiar with instruments from everyone on that list except for McLanahan. I had no idea his prices were in that market. Where do Bill Halsey and Gail Hester's fall?

  7. #6
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    McLanahan builds out of an actual shed, and Macrostie builds out of and old barn like structure. So you're telling me there's a chance.....

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    Registered User Drew Streip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    I'd suggest Bob Altman - $19,000 for a F5 Loar Series, and a 2008 is at Carter for $11.5K

    http://www.altmanguitars.com/mandframe.html

    And Jamie Wiens - Starting at $10,500 for an F5, as of January 2017

    http://wiensmandolins.com/acquiring-a-wiens-mandolin/

    I have never played one by either builder, but I know (from a purely player's perspective) that they are highly regarded.
    Last edited by Drew Streip; Mar-14-2017 at 1:01pm. Reason: typo

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  10. #8
    working for the mando.... Bluetickhound's Avatar
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    Is McClanahan still building out of that shed? I love watching his YouTube videos (Hey Everybody!!) and in his latest clips it looks like he has a much bigger shop now. He has posted here in the past, maybe he'll drop in and let us know.
    "A creative man is driven by the the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others."

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  11. #9
    Registered User Bill Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    Michael Lewis website lists his base price for an f-5 at $9,000 and his "Archive F model (Loar Style)" at $15,000.
    I think those have been at that price for several years now.
    Bill Snyder

  12. #10
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    All I can say is: WOW you're a blessed individual if you have the monetary resources to afford such a mandolin.

  13. #11
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    What is Troy Harris asking these days?

    Sometimes people ask more than $10K for mandolins by deceased builders like Givens, Hutto, Paganoni.

    Stanley, Apitius, Clark, Mowry, Kimble, Miller, Duff ... all under $10K and looking like bargains.
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  14. #12

    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    Although his prices don't hit 10K right now, One luthier who came to mind that I wanted to include is that Oliver Apitius. His new Yorkville Jazz models are $7,800 without any customization, and about $8,500 with a Calton or Hoffee.

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  16. #13

    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    Will Kimble should probably be added... there's a vintage F from 2002 at the Music Emporium for $8,500. I'd imagine a new one would be right around 10-11 based on that.

    A. Lawrence Smart was also missed in the list. He's charging $9,900 for his F5 right now, and $15,000 for a Mandocello.

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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    Randy Wood should be on the list.

  19. #15

    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    Added Smart & Kimble based on recent sales

    John Monteleone - $45,000
    Mike Kemnitzer (Nugget) - $25,000 - 30,000
    Steve Gilchrist - $22,000 - 25,000
    Lynn Dudenbostel - $22,000 - 25,000
    Don Macrostie (Red Diamond) - $15,000 - 20,000
    Hans Brentrup (just stopped mfg.) - $15,000 - 20,000
    Michael Heiden - $17,000 - 20,000
    Tom Ellis - $12,000 - 14,000
    Bill Collings (MF5V Custom) - $11,000 - 13,000
    Corrado Giacomel J5 - $12,500
    Jonathan McLanahan - $11,000 - 14,000
    A. L. Smart - $9,500 - 15,000
    Will Kimble $9,000 - 11,000

    And here's a short list of maker's that are deceased, but continue to bring high prices. Again, happy to get input here from others.

    Lloyd Loar Signed Gibson F5 - $75,000 - 200,000
    D'Angelico - $20,000 - 35,000
    D'Aquisto - $15,000 - 25,000
    John Zeidler (Carrara) - $18,000 - 25,000

  20. #16

    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    Quote Originally Posted by Denny Gies View Post
    Randy Wood should be on the list.
    Randy's new protoype is listed at $12,500 by Tony Williamson. Have recent sales regularly eclipsed 10K?

  21. #17
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    I am not sure where, but Jonathan McLanahan is now working out of a bigger shop. He was very gracious to offer me some pointers on rebuilding a 1915 F2... so I've kept in contact with him.... very humble guy.

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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    I'd like to say reading this list is inspiring as a builder. Instead, I find it depressing. Knowing how many hours I put into a mandolin and getting a fraction of these prices lets the wind out of one's sails. Perhaps one day?

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  24. #19

    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    Quote Originally Posted by sliebers View Post
    I'd like to say reading this list is inspiring as a builder. Instead, I find it depressing. Knowing how many hours I put into a mandolin and getting a fraction of these prices lets the wind out of one's sails. Perhaps one day?
    I look at it like the handful who make the big bucks are just now getting paid for all the years they worked for peanuts......

    but sure, it would be cool to know that you've got 10 orders and the next two years income is already taken care of.

  25. #20

    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    What is Troy Harris asking these days?

    Sometimes people ask more than $10K for mandolins by deceased builders like Givens, Hutto, Paganoni.

    Stanley, Apitius, Clark, Mowry, Kimble, Miller, Duff ... all under $10K and looking like bargains.
    Good call on Paganoni... I can find records at the $11,500 and $12,000 level. I'll include him in the deceased section.

    On RL Givens... I'm seeing only a few that are asking above 10K in the market, and don't see verifiable records of sales above 10K. Most of what's available are A styles, and they are in the 2K-6K range.

    Andrew Mowry is certainly on the bubble. His F5 retails for $8,200, Mandola $9,200, Octave is $11,000... but those are recent increases. For an F, he's not crossed the 10K threshold yet, where others on the list have with regularity. I think he'll be there soon, given the artists that are using his instruments, and the records they are making.

    I would also say Fletcher Brock is also on the bubble. His prices are in line with Mowry.

  26. #21
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    W

    Sometimes people ask more than $10K for mandolins by deceased builders like Givens, Hutto, Paganoni.
    Add the late great John Sullivan to that list...
    His F5s are going for 10K and up...

  27. #22
    working for the mando.... Bluetickhound's Avatar
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    Quote Originally Posted by sliebers View Post
    I'd like to say reading this list is inspiring as a builder. Instead, I find it depressing. Knowing how many hours I put into a mandolin and getting a fraction of these prices lets the wind out of one's sails. Perhaps one day?
    It doesn't move me one way or the other. I'm of the opinion that what folks get for their instruments is their business and more power to them if they can get top dollar. If I concern myself with building the very best instrument I can possibly build, the rest will take care of itself.
    "A creative man is driven by the the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others."

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  28. #23
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    Quote Originally Posted by dschonbrun View Post
    Randy's new protoype is listed at $12,500 by Tony Williamson.
    Really? Wow, I guess I'll hang on to mine, and maybe when the time comes I can afford to retire after all.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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  29. #24
    Registered User fscotte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    No one is stopping anyone from asking a high price for their mando builds. In fact, asking higher actually makes the thing seem more valuable. There's a thing about asking too low too. If you ask too little, people automatically think there must be a mistake somewhere, corners cut, or defects, or something fishy - it lowers the inherent "value" by asking too little.

    For instance, if I were to throw an Eastman in the classifieds and ask $8000 for it, everybody would scoff and laugh and wonder who lost their marbles. However, if I were to throw "The Bel" mandolin build #12 on there for $8000.. there would be NO laughing or scoffing. Maybe I wouldn't ever see a bite, but nobody would impugn the high price. Rather, people would say, never heard of that maker but it better sound good!

  30. #25
    Troy Shellhamer 9lbShellhamer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Makers getting Top Dollar

    I can only imagine how much this beloved site has driven up the value of our wonderful pieces of art/tools of the trade.

    I think the price distribution of high dollar to low dollar mandolins is pretty much accurate, and I think they are fairly priced up to a point.

    I love going to Carter and blind testing some 6000$ mandolins and comparing to $10k-$20k mandolins...

    I've played a $6000 A style that would compete easily with the highest dollar mandolins, and I don't jest, I bet in some blind tests my 2002 MT2 could easily beat out some $7000 mandolins.

    A lot of them are great and I love them all.

    I digress. I think this is a really cool list. I really do enjoy a lot of the aforementioned!
    *2002 Collings MT2
    *2016 Gibson F5 Custom
    *Martin D18

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