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Thread: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

  1. #51

    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    NOTE - THIS WRITER IS THE CONSIGNOR OF THE GIBSON H-5 MANDOLA, SIGNED BY LLOYD LOAR (LOT 327) & THE GIBSON H-2 MANDOLA (LOT 328), BOTH OF WHICH ARE BEING AUCTIONED BY SKINNER THIS COMING SUN., NOV. 19 AT NOON.

    Good day, everyone. In reviewing this thread, I noted several instances in which the writers were, as danb put it, “looking for a bit of insight on this H5.” All things considered, I thought that such inquiries were not unreasonable. Accordingly, let’s see what I can to alleviate some of your anxiety about the provenance of these instruments.

    Joseph Rybka was my paternal grandfather’s brother, making him my Great Uncle Joseph. He was born in Blazown, Poland, on March 4, 1893, emigrated to the United States, arriving in the port of New York on June 25, 1913. He moved to L.A., and at some point moved to Portland, Oregon. In 1922, Joseph began organizing his orchestra, whose correct name is the “Rybka Imperial Plectrum Orchestra.” I have two wanted ads from 1922 issues of The Oregon Daily Journal. One ad indicated: “Mandolin and guitar players, join Prof. Rybka’s orchestra now organizing. No expense to you.” The other said: “HIGH class mandolin orchestra wants more mandolia and guitar players, no expense, instruments furnished.” According to a 1923 issue of Music Trades, “This orchestra, which is the only one of its kind on the Pacific Coast, uses the finest of Gibson instruments,…” Another interesting fact about Joseph’s orchestra is that Rudy Cipolla (who, as I’m sure you know, was a prominent mandolin player) was also a member.

    My understanding is that upon Joseph’s passing, all his instruments were distributed among Rybka family members. Ultimately, my Dad ended up with the two mandolas, and I inherited them from him. In other words, I literally grew up with the mandolas. There wasn’t a time in my life that I can remember, when the mandolas were not in my home, and I am 60 years of age.

    I will try to provide some additional information over the next day or two. Thank you. Jim Rybka

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  3. #52
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    This is one of the best reasons to be associated with this forum!
    Thank you Mr. Rybka for so kindly offering this information.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  4. #53
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    Hello Mr. Rybka,

    Fascinating history of your family and these instruments. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Have you considered writing this up and placing it in the case of each instrument? I am sure the purchasers will want to know this history, and I believe the written history should stay with the instruments for the benefit of future generations.

    What a wonderful family legacy. Do you play, or have you considered learning? As you can see, it is something that many of us enjoy immensely.

    Best wishes,

    Bob
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  5. #54
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    Yes, I hope you'll make copies of this info available to whoever buys the instruments.

    There were various mandolin clubs and orchestras in Seattle in the early 20th century, so the claim about Great-Uncle Joe's orchestra being "the only one of its kind on the Pacific Coast" shouldn't be taken too literally. Gibson had contracts with music teachers all over the country: Gibson provided the sheet music and the teachers recruited orchestra members and sold them the instruments.

    In the 1980s and 1990s Ken Culver directed Portland's Mandophonic Orchestra; after Ken left town the group went dormant for a few years. Now it's back as the Oregon Mandolin Orchestra and going strong.
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  6. #55
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    But, there was ONLY one bearing the name Rybka!

    Way to steal thunder there Marty!
    Timothy F. Lewis
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  7. #56
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    But, there was ONLY one bearing the name Rybka!
    Oh, well if THAT's what he meant ... then sure.
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  8. #57
    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    Thank you James, very interesting to hear from you and thanks for sharing.
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  10. #58
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    I have a feeling there will be more Loars to surface in the future. Even Post Loar F-5's up to the 40's. seems like every year for awhile now there is a handful or so that come out of the woodwork. Loars and F-5's. It's so Kool that they are found and integrated "with some $$" back into playing again. That's when History comes to life once again.

  11. #59

    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    Sold! For $43,050.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #60
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    I think the listed sale price includes the premium, right? Divide that amount by 123% and you get a nice even $35,000. Quite a bargain.
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    Wow that is a bargain 35G for a Loar H-5 that was in a known orchestra! Did anyone see the 24 Virzi F-4 in the same auction, In a rectangular green Loar case! I saw it too late or I would've bid, It went for around 7G? Case alone can go for that!

  14. #62

    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    The estimate was 35-55k, for whatever that is worth...throughout most of the auction, the guitars were going for more than their estimates.... some for considerably more. The very pristine (cept for one errant pick mark) Loar H5 that is at Carters, has sat there for a couple of years at 105k.... H5's have a very limited playing public, so pretty much have to rely on collector market to realize their value. That said, I would have thought this Rybka would have fetched more than it did. The historical connection is so significant. There are so few Loars that we know really who the original owner was... and in this case not only do we know who it was, but he was a significant historical mando guy.
    John D

  15. #63
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    I tend to agree, the provenance is pretty cool but, it does not seem to have a huge impact on value all the time. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  16. #64

    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    Buyer paid $43,050, not $35K, for what it’s worth.
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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    Quote Originally Posted by BradKlein View Post
    Buyer paid $43,050, not $35K, for what it’s worth.
    Right, I'm guessing that means a $35K gavel price plus the 23% commission.
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  18. #66

    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    James Rybka had two mandolins from his uncle. This H5 Loar and an H2

    Both sold in the Skinner auction. This H5 is the gem of course, and now is the big brother of the “rybka” F 5 mandolin. Nice to see that we have great documentation to accompany these two Loars

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  20. #67
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    It was always big sibling, does this mean they have been reunited under the same roof?
    If so, that is really delightful!
    Group shot of the “meet”? If it was a homecoming I’m just minutes from the old homestead but, that old house ain’t what she used to be. But, they’re working on the chimney!
    Timothy F. Lewis
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  21. #68
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    It had to be most beat up H5 I've seen and I've seen a lot of them. Odd that it would show this much wear from only being in classical hands, assuming it's not really been played that much since original owner died. That should have had some effect on the price. And face it, a mandola is a very limited market. It was certaintly not in collector condition. Carter's H5 is his personal one and he really doesn't need to sell it. One on consignment would go for less. He had a pristine one with no Virzi a few years ago with last price around $90K if I remember. It did not sell and consignor took it back . Gruhn also had Bernie Leadon's H5 for sale a few years back in the $100K range and it did sell. It was the 2nd most beat up H5 I've seen.

  22. #69

    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    With ref to a recent thread concerning tortoise binding on a Loar war F2, I had mentioned that this Rybka mandola has similar binding , top and back. I fully expect that when ordered, a Virzi was requested. As this is an early Loar mandola, there was no Virzi originally installed. Therefore, the back was removed in the factory, the Virzi installed, the Jan7, Loar signature applied, and tortoise shell binding installed top and back.
    This would account for early build date from Spann, later signature, binding, which also shows in 25 photo, and evidence of Post build, preschool Virzi
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Dec-26-2017 at 7:26pm. Reason: Fixed an auto-correct typo

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  24. #70
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    Nice detective work!

  25. #71

    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    Gaaaa.
    I HATE auto spellcheck.

  26. #72
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    Quote Originally Posted by dilmando View Post
    Gaaaa.
    I HATE auto spellcheck.
    I believe I fixed it for you assuming that's really what you wanted to say.
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  27. #73
    Registered User Henry Eagle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    Quote Originally Posted by dilmando View Post
    With ref to a recent thread concerning tortoise binding on a Loar war F2, I had mentioned that this Rybka mandola has similar binding , top and back. I fully expect that when ordered, a Virzi was requested. As this is an early Loar mandola, there was no Virzi originally installed. Therefore, the back was removed in the factory, the Virzi installed, the Jan7, Loar signature applied, and tortoise shell binding installed top and back.
    This would account for early build date from Spann, later signature, binding, which also shows in 25 photo, and evidence of Post build, preschool Virzi
    I agree that Gibson took the back off to install the Virzi - and quite possibly the label. But since we have a flower pot, an early FON and a three-piece neck, I believe this H5 is probably just a very early example with 2-ply binding and unique (for style 5) pick guard, much like the the proto F5 #70281. Tortoise binding? Don't see any.
    Last edited by Henry Eagle; Dec-27-2017 at 8:29am.

  28. #74

    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    Quote Originally Posted by dilmando View Post
    With ref to a recent thread concerning tortoise binding on a Loar war F2, I had mentioned that this Rybka mandola has similar binding , top and back. I fully expect that when ordered, a Virzi was requested. As this is an early Loar mandola, there was no Virzi originally installed. Therefore, the back was removed in the factory, the Virzi installed, the Jan7, Loar signature applied, and tortoise shell binding installed top and back.
    This would account for early build date from Spann, later signature, binding, which also shows in 25 photo, and evidence of Post build, preschool Virzi
    I don’t see tortoise binding on this H5. I’m not sure what you mean.
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  29. #75

    Default Re: Undocumented Loar? Gibson Style H-5 Mandol

    I am traveling at the moment but will see the Rybka Mandola after the holidays...I will get some pics of the binding a post when I see it again
    John D

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