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Thread: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

  1. #51

    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    Just an observation, but it seems they sell quicker at $20 than they do at $165,000

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  3. #52
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    [ I got a call from an older dealer about a month back, I had bought a Loar and a 26 Fern from him a few years back. He wanted to know if I need a another Loar, I told him I had 5 and wasn't in the market. He ask me what I thought he should give for it, so he could make some money on it. I told him if I was buying I wouldn't want to have over about 90k in it. He in turn ask would I give that for it, to which I told him no. The price has come down considerable, the millennials could care less about one. All antiques are declining in price because of this.
    I went to Tuts house several years back and looked at the A5 Loar. I begged him to price it. He told me a fellow in California owned it and it wasn't for sale. Owning that would be a feather in your cap.

  4. #53
    rock in rŰle Paul Statman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Just an observation, but it seems they sell quicker at $20 than they do at $165,000
    Good catch, there, Jeff.

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  6. #54
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    Quote Originally Posted by shylock3 View Post
    [ I got a call from an older dealer about a month back, I had bought a Loar and a 26 Fern from him a few years back. He wanted to know if I need a another Loar, I told him I had 5 and wasn't in the market. He ask me what I thought he should give for it, so he could make some money on it. I told him if I was buying I wouldn't want to have over about 90k in it. He in turn ask would I give that for it, to which I told him no. The price has come down considerable, the millennials could care less about one. All antiques are declining in price because of this.
    I went to Tuts house several years back and looked at the A5 Loar. I begged him to price it. He told me a fellow in California owned it and it wasn't for sale. Owning that would be a feather in your cap.
    "All antiques are declining in price because of this."

    No exactly the case. Certainly many stringed instruments have gone down considerably, including Loars, but many antiques have remained strong and have increased in value. Southern furniture, like I collect, isn't one of those though. UGH!
    Linksmaker

  7. #55
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    Agree. Many collectibles are going up, up, up. One area I have noticed is old Universal monster movie poster from the 30's. I've seen some priced more than this Loar and it's just an old piece of paper. I get a few collector magazines sent to "high rollers", (not me) and I am shocked at some of the prices on antiques and collectibles from the 40's,50's and 60's.

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  9. #56
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    Whatever I collect begins to decline the minute I decide I think I want to share the bounty! The thing we used to say in the jewelry business when someone would come in and ask”Is gold up or down?” The answer is always “Yep!” Fluid markets are always going to be just that!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    Whatever I collect begins to decline the minute I decide I think I want to share the bounty! The thing we used to say in the jewelry business when someone would come in and ask”Is gold up or down?” The answer is always “Yep!” Fluid markets are always going to be just that!
    Sounds like we go after the same kind of stuff. Only my friends buy stuff that increase in price. I love jewelry (or at least my wife does) and the only advice I give people paying retail for jewelry is buy it because you like it, not because you think you will ever get your money back out of it! Most jewelry (if you are lucky) is about worth half of what you paid for it as soon as you leave the store.
    Linksmaker

  11. #58

    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    I'm an auctioneer and have an auction gallery, but also love fretted instruments. It makes me sad to see flippers who are only into it for the "quick" return regardless of what they may find.
    Certainly have never come across a Loar, but if I did, I would tell the seller what they had and offer to sell for them at a fair commission. What do they say about the stock market? Bulls make money, Bears make money and Hogs get slaughtered.
    " Give me some words I can dance to and a melody that rhymes" - Steve Goodman

  12. #59
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    I have an update on this attic find Loar. Everybody was shocked to learn that this instrument was purchased at a flea market two years ago for $25. That story is true, sadly. This morning I received a phone call from the son of the probable former owner of that instrument. This probable owner purchased the instrument in San Jose in the 1950s, from the original owner. He went on to play with Jerry Garcia long before the Grateful Dead came about. He played in a band called The Hart Valley Drifters. I am just gathering information at the moment but it appears the owner had some troubles in his life that led to the loss of his storage unit. That may have happened as long ago as the 1980s, but that is not 100% known. Nobody knows how it ended up at the San Jose flea market two years ago but nonetheless it did. The son of the owner called me this morning with a few questions. He’s going to visit the mandolin Wednesday where it sits with its current owner. I hope in someway to help facilitate it getting back into the family of the gentleman who lost it in the storage unit. There doesn’t appear to be any Illegal activity, or illegal purchase that took place. It only appears that there have been several sad episodes that led to this mandolin leaving the family. I will try to give more updates as I receive them.
    Last edited by testore; Jan-27-2020 at 5:51pm.
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    Thanks for the info Gary, unfortunately I doubt he'll get it back! And at 165 in two+ years and no takers it'll stay there for a long while! What a bummer!

  15. #61
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    The mans son knows he has no legal position in regard to ownership. He’s hoping to make a settlement that would be fair to the current owner too. Hard spot to be in. I feel for the family.
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    I agree Gary and their price these days is out there! "why its still sitting over two years later!" Maybe 10-15 years ago when all were 250K or about?

  18. #63
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    The mans son knows he has no legal position in regard to ownership. Heís hoping to make a settlement that would be fair to the current owner too. Hard spot to be in. I feel for the family.
    vesselmandolins.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    When I was on the hunt for a nice Loar I was seriously looking into this one, "but at 165 I thought tht was a bit too much!" but I'm thrilled with the one I was able to get, now I'm thinking if I can unload a bunch of my goods I'll be going after a very worn/played in one, some repairs don't bother me at all. Mine is very clean with Virzi so I'd like one without the Virzi-one ripped out may be fine? So if anyone knows of a beat one message me here or my private email and I have some mighty fine old Ferns "a monster 1926 and a 34 Fern that's surprisingly one of the better 30's F-5's-way better than the loads I've played!"and rare Gibson's from the 20's and 30's! I'll throw in a bunch of extra goods depending on what I find?
    Its a shame that the original owners family lost this Loar and for 25 bucks! I wonder if it was in a storage unit and they defaulted on their monthly rent?

  20. #65
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    This story is heartbreaking to me.

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  22. #66
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    That's why I hate those storage units shows on TV. Somebody may have been sick and couldn't pay at the time, or passed away and family members didnt know about it, or just fell on hard times....but it sucks to see somebody make money at other peoples expense.

  23. #67

    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
    That's why I hate those storage units shows on TV. Somebody may have been sick and couldn't pay at the time, or passed away and family members didnt know about it, or just fell on hard times....but it sucks to see somebody make money at other peoples expense.
    Life probably got in the way or it wasn't important at the time, they might have been elderly or not playing anymore, etc. Who knows? As far as making money goes, NOBODY has made money unless you count the person who sold it for $25, and I don't call that making money. It hasn't sold in two years at the other figure, so that is just POTENTIAL money and you can't pay bills with potential money...........well, I guess you could call JG Wentworth.........!

    But, I know what you are saying about the vulture mentality -- it doesn't sit well with me, either.

    On a brighter note, I work at a repair shop and people are always bringing their old guitars, etc., that they sold off or lost 35+ years ago and had a chance to buy back and boy are they happy campers! Sure, it's gonna cost you more than you sold it for in 1982, but the point it is -- IT IS STILL AVAILABLE!

    That's how I see this situation with the Fern Loar. The AMAZING thing is that BECAUSE of the greed, the silver lining is that it is still available! That is an opportunity for the original owner's son, IMHO. Worse would be if it was in the hands of a new happy owner who doesn't want to sell........

    And, sometimes it doesn't come down to just money. Maybe the son can offer property, vehicles, instruments, or other items that could make the sale happen. That happens all the time in the rare record world. Rarely does somebody just plop down the cash.....

    I hope he gets it back! In a sense, I wish it was a $5K instrument rather than a signed Loar. That would make it easier to get back, but then it wouldn't be as good of a story, would it?
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; Jan-28-2020 at 1:27pm.

  24. #68
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    Iím not sure that greed has anything to do with this story. What I heard from the son yesterday is that his father had a series of bad choices or unfortunate events happen. He hasnít seen his dad since he was 8. Iím not sure how old the son is but Iím guessing late 40ís. He canít find his father, nor has he found a death certificate. Itís a very sad story. One that I hope can end happily for everyone involved.
    As for the current owner, he paid a very fair wholesale price for the mandolin. His asking price is fair, if you consider the prices of other Loars currently available. This one is a very fine mandolin. If greed is motivating this then every other Loar seller could be called greedy. I donít see it that way.
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  26. #69

    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    Thanks for clarifying, I missed that part of the story. OK, the guy who bought it for $25 sold it to the current owner, who is a vintage dealer. So, the guy who bought it for $25 did make a profit. Now the vintage dealer wants to make his profit. Not greed, just doing business.

    I agree, "greed" is a poor word choice, in this case. I should have said "asking top retail" or something like that. My point being the fact it was priced as such is why it is still available, as are others at various vintage dealers. Being available means he may be able to get it back -- a good thing.

  27. #70
    Registered User testore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    Jeff, I hope you didn’t hear a harsh tone in my reply, none intended. I know the current owner a little and we have some mutual friends. I’d be very surprised if he wouldn’t be willing to find some wiggle room for this mandolin to find its way back home. There’s no crime in making profit, even in this sad situation. He’s been out his money for 2 years. That money in a good mutual fund would have done pretty well in that time. Hopefully there’s a way to get a deal done.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Jeff, I hope you didnít hear a harsh tone in my reply, none intended. I know the current owner a little and we have some mutual friends. Iíd be very surprised if he wouldnít be willing to find some wiggle room for this mandolin to find its way back home. Thereís no crime in making profit, even in this sad situation. Heís been out his money for 2 years. That money in a good mutual fund would have done pretty well in that time. Hopefully thereís a way to get a deal done.
    vesselmandolins.blogspot.com

  28. #71

    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    No, I wasn't offended. I think it is a fascinating story. I've been a flea market guy for most of my adult life and while I've never found a Loar, it is quite common, actually, to find things for $5 that are worth $100 and sometimes things for $50 that are worth $3000, especially if you can think outside the box.

    Everybody likes a bargain. The reason it is hard to find a bargain is because it involves someone being misinformed as to the value. Today, with the internet, it is very easy to find an items value in a few minutes, if not seconds. That assumes everyone is trying to get top dollar for their items. Some people just price stuff cheap to get rid of it -- another strategy. But, it is safe to say if an item has a high value eventually someone will price it for the going rate. The guy who bought it for $25 was smart and went for the quick money by wholesaling it to a dealer, IMHO.

    It goes without saying to get the top money, you have to be willing to wait for the right buyer. Sometimes that takes years.

    The "probable former owner" addition to the story is great and adds a moral dilemma.......great stuff!

  29. #72

    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    Just for fun I googled "Hart Valley Drifters" and, lo and behold, there are a bunch of photos from 1962 online -- thanks to the Grateful Dead connection. Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter were in this band. Supposedly they only did one gig and did one recording -- I'm no expert, this is from doing 5 minutes "research" online -- if anyone has more info, feel free to correct this. Sure enough, there is someone playing an an F5 mandolin in some of the photos, but not all. Could be the flea market Loar, hard to say from old blurry pictures. Some of the names of the band members are unknown, at least in some of the photos I saw. There is another 1963 photo of Jerry's wedding that shows Robert Hunter playing an F5 mandolin and the photo credits this group as "The Wildwood Boys." On Jerry's website there is another mandolin player credited with the Wildwood Boys as Ken Frankel. I googled Ken Frankel and his website lists the Hart Valley Drifters members as Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter, David Nelson, Ken Frankel, and Norm van Maastricht.

    Again, this is a cool connection, IMHO. There may have been other band members, who knows? I don't know if a Dead-related pedigree would make the mandolin any easier to sell or not? It seems many Loars offered for sale have similar celebrity pedigrees -- and they languish on the current market.

    Keep in mind, this is just some quickie internet research I did that proves nothing. There is no way to know if the F5 in the photos is even a Gibson, let alone a signed Loar -- due to the quality of the pictures. And, as Testore stated previously, even if it was the flea market Loar it would not give the son of the probable former owner any legal claim.

    Interesting stuff!

    I should add that in the photos of the Hart Valley Drifters there seems to be quite a bit of instrument swapping going on. Jerry is usually pictured with banjo, but sometimes guitar. The mandolin player is also pictured playing fiddle, FWIW.....

    Also, please excuse my ignorance if the Hart Valley Drifters have been previously discussed on the Cafe.
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; Jan-30-2020 at 1:55pm.

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  31. #73
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    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    I have spoken to two former members of the Hart Valley Drifters and Worth Handley did in fact own a Loar. It’s been confirmed to my satisfaction. I just got off the phone with his son 5 minutes ago. He might add some better details here in the future.
    vesselmandolins.blogspot.com

  32. #74

    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    Greetings, my name is Grant Handley. It was my father, Worth Handley who played in the Hart Valley Drifters briefly in 1962. The flea market find, the $25 Loar F5 Fern, was his. An early photo of the band shows him playing it. My sister and I, the only surviving family, went to visit it last Thursday in San Jose. We hadn't seen it in 50 years. My sister doesn't play, but I play guitar. I know a couple of mando chords so I played it a little, although I was a little intimidated by it's preciousness. It was still in perfect tune, probably because of the previous player to try it tuned it. It had a sweet sound, surprising lingering sustain, even when strummed lightly, perhaps the Verzi was contributing to this. I'm no judge. There were several small clues in the case, and the case itself, that brought back some feelings.
    My father was a big bluegrass fan and his hero was Bill Monroe. He used to play BM records and play along and sing too. My guess is he met Garcia when we lived on Perry lane, in Palo Alto. Digging through pre Dead lore, it appears there was a "Perry lane" period, that coincides with the dates. My mother, who died last July, remembered going to 3 gigs, two in SF and one in San Carlos or San Mateo, she said, "they were rough". My parents got divorced in 1966, and my father soon left. He lived in the underworld of San Jose his whole life, determined to not be found. He lived in cars, had a room sometimes, bartered various skills to survive etc...Because of his "lifestyle choice" he couldn't keep the mandolin with him, so he had it in a storage locker. Somehow he either died or lost the storage locker, we still don't know, but he clearly lost possession of his prize piece. This explains the "time capsule" nature of it now, it hasn't been played since 1966. He told me as boy that his main mandolin
    (the Fern) was special because it was signed by Loar. He explained that the ones overseen by him were "special" and that this became recognized by players later on, including is hero, Monroe. And for all you hunters out there, check this: He had 2 Loars, the other one was in pieces with the back off in a box. Perhaps it was getting Verzi removal surgery or who knows, but it was most likely also in the storage locker he lost. Sadly, if the nice one was sold for $25, the one in pieces in a box may have been thrown away! But... it may be out there somewhere in SJ.
    As for my sister and I, we don't know what to do. We always missed our dad, wondered what ever happened to him, and finding his mandolin does mean to us that "something" happened. We also have to recognize that he seemingly had no interest in us, and made no effort to contact us for decades, in fact, never did. So we feel rather torn about it. We have so little of our family, the family itself is just my sister, her kids and me. We have no "heirlooms". It would be quite a stretch for us to buy it. To us, it seems like he didn't want us to have it, otherwise he would have given it to us. We still don't know what happened to him.
    I hope whoever gets it, loves it and Plays it. As I sat with it, it was clearly happy to get out of the case and be itself.

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  34. #75

    Default Re: Fern Loar F5 Attic Find

    Thanks for sharing your personal story, Grant. Heartbreaking, for sure, but an amazing story on so many levels. Best of luck to you and your sister.

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