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Thread: Information about Luigi Tango mandolin

  1. #1

    Exclamation Information about Luigi Tango mandolin

    Thank you very much for letting me join the group. My father was given a Luigi Tango mandolin and we would like to have some information about it.
    Attached are some pictures I took. I would appreciate any information. Thank you!
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Information about Luigi Tango mandolin

    Luigi Fenga, 1866-1939, was a violin maker from Catania, Italy. He is considered to have been a violin maker of quality, and his violins have brought several thousand dollars at auction. His shop in Catania, Sicily, was established in 1890. He also built fretted instruments.

    I have no idea of what a Fenga mandolin is worth, but it appears to be an attractive, well made instrument. But bear in mind that most bowl back mandolins are not considered to be particularly valuable.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Information about Luigi Tango mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Luigi Fenga, 1866-1939, was a violin maker from Catania, Italy. He is considered to have been a violin maker of quality, and his violins have brought several thousand dollars at auction. His shop in Catania, Sicily, was established in 1890. He also built fretted instruments.

    I have no idea of what a Fenga mandolin is worth, but it appears to be an attractive, well made instrument. But bear in mind that most bowl back mandolins are not considered to be particularly valuable.
    Thank you do much for taking the time to answer my question, I will keep researching and hopefully find somebody that can appraise it. My father doesn't want to keep it. If you happen to know where I should start looking for an appraiser I would greatly appreciate it.

  5. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Information about Luigi Tango mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Barrio View Post
    Thank you do much for taking the time to answer my question, I will keep researching and hopefully find somebody that can appraise it. My father doesn't want to keep it. If you happen to know where I should start looking for an appraiser I would greatly appreciate it.
    Where are you located? In the US this would not be so easy to sell for much and, believe it or not, I don't think in Europe you will make much more money selling it. The vintage Italian mandolins that do bring a decent price are made by Vinaccia, Calace (both from Napoli) and Embergher (Arpino) and the ones that are particularly desirable are upper end soloist models.

    If you place an ad here in the classifieds you could post and asking price and request offers.
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    Default Re: Information about Luigi Tango mandolin

    Nice looking mandolin which appears to be in very good condition.
    How one gets from "Fenga" to "Tango" is anyone's guess though.
    Jim's question "Where are you?" is an important one....
    So is my request for more photos.
    Mick
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Information about Luigi Tango mandolin

    Mick: I would guess the culprit would be autocorrect. On my iPhone when I type Fenga I get “rental”.
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Information about Luigi Tango mandolin

    Very likely, Jim!
    In the early days of auto-correct, I was working with an Italian-American architect, Tom Cestarte. Great guy and an early mentor.
    He would inevitably send out emails and memos with his name spelled Tom Castrato, much to his frustration and our amusement.
    Rather than teach him how to fix his auto-correct, we just convinced him to look at his text before hitting "send" or "print".
    Mick
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  9. #8

    Default Re: Information about Luigi Tango mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Where are you located? In the US this would not be so easy to sell for much and, believe it or not, I don't think in Europe you will make much more money selling it. The vintage Italian mandolins that do bring a decent price are made by Vinaccia, Calace (both from Napoli) and Embergher (Arpino) and the ones that are particularly desirable are upper end soloist models.

    If you place an ad here in the classifieds you could post and asking price and request offers.
    I'm so sorry about the auto correct, I didn't even notice. Thank you very much for your answer. I am in the US near Washington D.C. I will keep on with the research. I am looking for an appraiser right now and gathering as much information as I can.

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    Default Re: Information about Luigi Tango mandolin

    If you are in that part of the country, I would recommend going to Philadelphia, PA for your appraisal.. Fred Oster at Vintage Instruments in Philadelphia knows bowl-back mandolins and violins very well. His shop has been open for over 30 years, and he is a respected appraiser and authority on older string instruments.

    There is a good chance that he would recognize Fenga's name without having to look it up.

  11. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Information about Luigi Tango mandolin

    You probably don't want to get a written appraisal—it might cost you more than the mandolin is worth—but perhaps Oster or other folks can give you an idea of the worth verbally.

    However I did a quick search for Fenga mandolins and I came up with an auction that ended about a year an half ago for the same model mandolin. That one did look somewhat worse than yours with two top cracks. It sold for $80. Yours might be worth maybe 2 or even 4 times what that one sold for but you can certainly get an idea of the desirability factor here (not so much). Here's the completed auction info (scroll down for results and photos): Mandolin Luigi Fenga Italy.
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    Default Re: Information about Luigi Tango mandolin

    While I know that the market for bowl back mandolins is poor, I would like to believe that a nicely made instrument by a competent violin maker would bring a bit more than $300 . . .

  13. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Information about Luigi Tango mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    While I know that the market for bowl back mandolins is poor, I would like to believe that a nicely made instrument by a competent violin maker would bring a bit more than $300 . . .
    I would like to believe that, too since I have a closetful of them.

    OTOH we have to rely on the market. Perhaps a person with the surname Fenga will place a want ad for such a mandolin. Then you might have a sale but that is mostly out of the realm of possibility.

    Yes, there are some bowlbacks that are desirable but as a few of us mentioned above these are usually the more known names and those made in the south/Sicily generally are valued a bit less than makers in Naples. Also, bear in mind that even in Europe the mandolin is true minority instrument and bowlbacks are just not all that popular in general. That is not to say that this mandolin won't be a good playable instrument just that you have to find people whp are looking for that one.

    I would again suggest doing a thorough search for completed sales for that maker or comparable ones from that era. Then maybe throw the spaghetti on the wall with a somewhat higher optimistic price then follow the model of the Dutch auction and lower the price until someone says, I want it.

    If this Fenga is in perfect structural condition, i assume you can certainly start higher that $300 and see who bites. I would be pleasantly surprised if someone does buy it up at four figures.
    Jim

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