Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 26 to 39 of 39

Thread: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

  1. #26
    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Brookline, Massachusetts
    Posts
    949
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

    Quote Originally Posted by ToyonPete View Post
    I’m no expert, just a Calace owner, and it seems like a good price! Mine is a bit older, had been restored, and I paid a bit more.
    The eBay Calace I'm seeing, closest to the one we're discussing, is this one at 1600 Euros. I notice that's the middle of the range, which varies roughly from 20% to 200% of that price. That's a huge price range!

    There are a handful of top luthiers in Italy who restore these, and sell in the range similar to new Calace concert instruments (~3000 Euro range). But caveat emptor, because there are also restoration "experts" (in Italy and elsewhere) who do poor work, and sell at prices not too far below. Here in the US, you see unrestored Calace instruments in various levels of playability. I got one around $300 once. But I also paid around $3k in Italy for a properly-restored Calace, from a reputable luthier -- and it was worth every cent.

    Unfortunately there was a huge range of quality in the instruments to begin with, so it's hard to know what you're getting, unless there's a chance to line up several and compare. So how to tell the value of any one Calace instrument? who knows? Things are worth what people are willing to pay for them, and people can be unpredictable.
    Last edited by August Watters; Jun-05-2019 at 6:31am.

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to August Watters For This Useful Post:


  3. #27
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    22,053

    Default Re: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

    And finally some of the bowlback folks show up
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  4. The following members say thank you to MikeEdgerton for this post:


  5. #28

    Default Re: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

    Quote Originally Posted by August Watters View Post
    The eBay Calace I'm seeing, closest to the one we're discussing, is this one at 1600 Euros. I notice that's the middle of the range, which varies roughly from 20% to 200% of that price. That's a huge price range!

    There are a handful of top luthiers in Italy who restore these, and sell in the range similar to new Calace concert instruments (~3000 Euro range). But caveat emptor, because there are also restoration "experts" (in Italy and elsewhere) who do poor work, and sell at prices not too far below. Here in the US, you see unrestored Calace instruments in various levels of playability. I got one around $300 once. But I also paid around $3k in Italy for a properly-restored Calace, from a reputable luthier -- and it was worth every cent.

    Unfortunately there was a huge range of quality in the instruments to begin with, so it's hard to know what you're getting, unless there's a chance to line up several and compare. So how to tell the value of any one Calace instrument? who knows? Things are worth what people are willing to pay for them, and people can be unpredictable.
    Thanks a lot for your answer, really interesting! By the way, the instrument on ebay vic-victor was referring to is this one, which is really exactly my model, just three years younger.

    My Calace is playable and I think it sounds really good. Intonation is also very accurate.
    Compared to my other two bowlbacks (a "Sternberg Armin" and a "Mario Casella") it definitely sounds superior, especially when played loudly - it has more bass, more volume, more balance, less "nasality". Too bad I don't have another Calace to compare it to
    I like the Thomastik strings and their warm sound, but I have a feeling the tension may be a little too high. I read good things about the Dogal Calace Dolce strings, I'll try those out soon.

    The next thing I wanna get done is to sand down the bridge a little bit, or replace it right away. Since I noticed Calace is still in business - is it possible to get a bridge directly from them?

    At some point it'll need a refret. The upper frets are fine, but the frets in the lower positions are pretty worn. Then there's two small cracks I noticed on the soundboard.
    Some of the ribs (actually the fillings between the ribs) seem to have come loose. All in all, nothing a luthier couldn't fix. And after knowing an estimate market value and what I actually paid for the instrument, that'll be more than worth it I think.

    I know a few good luthiers where I live, one of them who restores old instruments and builds replicas of old instruments. I guess I'll take it there soon

  6. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Valbert For This Useful Post:


  7. #29

    Default Re: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

    Calace firm seldom reply to emails for some reason (probably being too busy building instruments for their Japanese partners), so very little chance they take any interest in making a bridge or any other small job (unless perhaps you walk in to their shop in Naples and persuade them really hard). Dogal Calace dolce is a very good choice. This is what those mandolins were designed for. The bridge you have on your Calace is not original (and neither on mine). They originally had shorter all ebony bridges. Good luck improving your Calace. They are very nice instruments.

  8. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to vic-victor For This Useful Post:


  9. #30
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    26,046

    Default Re: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

    That is a Calace. I doubt it is worth it for anyone to copy a bowlback even for the European markets.

    BTW what strings are you using? I love Dogal Calace strings RW92b Dolce on most of my vintage bowlbacks including non-Calace mandolins.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  10. The following members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:


  11. #31
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    22,053

    Default Re: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

    OK Jim, I've waited days for you to join this post...
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  12. The following members say thank you to MikeEdgerton for this post:


  13. #32

    Default Re: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    That is a Calace. I doubt it is worth it for anyone to copy a bowlback even for the European markets.

    BTW what strings are you using? I love Dogal Calace strings RW92b Dolce on most of my vintage bowlbacks including non-Calace mandolins.
    Thanks for confirming it's a real Calace. Hooray :D

    I have the medium tension Thomastik flatwounds on it right now, they're really good, and I've gotten used to the tension by now. I like the mellow tone, they're easily tuneable and they stay in tune very well. Nevertheless, I just ordered two sets of Dogal Calace RW92B Dolce to try them out sometime.
    But I think for the foreseeable future, the Thomastiks will stay on it; I'm participating in a Don Giovanni opera production right now, I played all the rehearsals with the Calace + Thomastiks, they seem to work well in that context. Also, my mandolinist colleague I'm sharing the part with uses the same strings. Gotta have some consistency

  14. #33

    Default Re: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

    I checked the classifieds and saw quite a variety, some with and some without the curious little holes with plastic bushings near the bridge. Which brings up the question of "when was plastic invented?" and "when was it put into common use for things like bushings?" I say this as it relates to people claiming an instrument is a 1909 or so, of course, if it is a 50's instrument -- no problem.

    Or, are they not plastic and made from something else?

  15. #34
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    154

    Default Re: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

    Or, are they not plastic and made from something else?
    Good question! Could be bone. Anyone know?
    Pava S/N 21
    Calace Bowlback

  16. #35

    Default Re: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

    Those bushes appear to be bone even on my 1929 Calace. The black ones on some German instruments are probably bakelite. Actually celluloid was one of the first plastics and it was widely used as early as end of 19C for picks and pickguards.

  17. #36
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    26,046

    Default Re: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Which brings up the question of "when was plastic invented?"
    Check out this: A Brief History of Plastics

    Celluloid dates back to 1870. Vulcanized fibre (not rubber! - the substance used for pickguards on Lyon & Healy instruments) dates back to 1859.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  18. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Jim Garber For This Useful Post:


  19. #37
    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Brookline, Massachusetts
    Posts
    949
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

    Quote Originally Posted by ToyonPete View Post
    Good question! Could be bone. Anyone know?
    Originally, I believe those would most likely have been ivory. But anything is possible.

  20. #38
    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Brookline, Massachusetts
    Posts
    949
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

    As to the counterfeiting issue, my Italian luthier friends say it's a real problem with Calace and Vinaccia in particular. Not that anyone necessarily sets out to make fake Calace mandolins, but there are a number of ways that problems happen: Sometimes people remove labels, and make photocopies. The photocopies can then be inserted into another instrument that might have been designed like a Calace, but never intended as a fake Calace. Think about what happened with the Loar replicas -- some very skilled and well-meaning luthiers made Loar F5 copies in the 70s and 80s, intended as a tribute, not to fool anyone. But time goes on, and as the instrument passes through other hands, who knows what might be said? Memories fade, misunderstandings happen.

    And then there are instruments that could have been made partly or entirely by the Calace shop, but never signed off on by Raffaele Calace (or a later generation of the Calace family). Instruments that were made by apprentices who were learning the craft. Instruments that may have been in process in the Calace shop, but for one reason or another were never finished there. You get the idea -- There are plenty of instruments patterned after the various Calace designs, so an unscrupulous person with fake labels has plenty to choose from.

    And of course, there are fakes left over from before the internet made it easy to see what a Calace or Vinaccia actually looks like. Today you'd need a pretty good quality fake to fool most folks; 20 years ago, not so much. So If you're going to pay serious money for a name-brand vintage bowlback mandolin, I suggest buying from an expert luthier or dealer who can provide a printed document with photos, verifying that it's authentic, and that it's been correctly restored. If you're in the USA, your chances of finding someone with the right set of skills and attitude to repair a vintage F5 are pretty good. For a vintage bowlback, it's much more difficult.

    Caveat emptor!

  21. The following members say thank you to August Watters for this post:

    JL277z 

  22. #39

    Default Re: Calace mandolin, 1926 - value?

    August, Calace is normally not an issue. I guess partly because for them being around all that time and perhaps dealing with the impersonators. Plus I can only think of Garofalo, as the student, who made similar instruments. Even Puglisi, that didn't hesitate to use other makers' designs were changing things a lot on a popular D-hole model they also made, so ones recemble the real things, but were different enough. I have only seen fake Japanese Calace from 1950's, but they were pretty obvious fakes. Crudely made, they had labels with mistakes that didn't even recemble the real ones.

    Vinaccia, from the other hand, is more often faked. Largely due to many students of Vinaccia that were making instruments in the same style and often quality, where a simple change of label meant an instant increase of price (which in fact was not so simple in the old days, one had to open the top and be very particular not to make the label alteration visible). I've seen 2 or 3 fake Vinaccias, but again, most of them had signs of tampering with the label.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •