Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

  1. #1
    Registered User Nick Royal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    379

    Default Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    I have a sense of what a Lloyd Loar F5 might cost today;
    what did one cost when bought at the Gibson company
    in 1923 or 1924?

  2. #2
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lawrence, KS
    Posts
    1,194

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    The F5 had an initial price of $200, and then was raised to $250 in 1923.

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Mike Black For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Dan Sampson mando_dan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Beverly, MA
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    According to www.usinflationcalculator.com that $250 back in 1923 is equivalent to $3,744.78 in today's money. Not as much as I would have thought. What's a Gibson MM going for these days? Hmmmm.
    1999 Buckeye #18 (Bucky)
    198x Flatiron pancake mandola (no name)

  5. #4
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    22,839

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    Makes perfect sense. They were already attempting to sell an upscale product but it was upscale from lesser models. The MM would be selling upscale from an upscale product. More layers of perceived value added. That's a relatively newer concept.

    With that said I'm willing to double the price of an original to $500.00 for any playable Lloyd Loar signed Gibson F5 mandolin. It doesn't have to look nice. Thank you all for being so gracious.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  6. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to MikeEdgerton For This Useful Post:


  7. #5

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    Quote Originally Posted by mando_dan View Post
    According to www.usinflationcalculator.com that $250 back in 1923 is equivalent to $3,744.78 in today's money. Not as much as I would have thought. What's a Gibson MM going for these days? Hmmmm.
    Also, that was during the era of the oft-quoted phrase, "what this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar!" -- attributed to former Vice President Thomas A. Marshall during a senate debate....

  8. #6
    Registered User T.D.Nydn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Upstate N.Y.
    Posts
    1,191

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    I know somebody (knew, r.i.p.Fireball Freddy)..who bought one personally from Lloyd Loar ,I don't know the exact year,but he said he paid $225. for it...

  9. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to T.D.Nydn For This Useful Post:


  10. #7
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,196

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    The average pay for a day's work in the early 1920's depends on your source of information.

    One source sets the average wage at 20 cents per hour. The IRS reports the average income per return at $3226.70, which would work out to around $1.50/hour. But it also reports average per capita income at $224. Something there just doesn't add up. Since the minimum wage was established at 25 cents/hour in 1938, and minimum wage was under $2/hour when I started working in 1972, I would tend to believe the 20 cent/hour figure to be the more accurate.

    Woody Guthrie talked about migrant American workers ["Oakies"] making $1 a day in the California fields during the dust bowl days.

    "Make good money, 5 dollars a day/ Made anymore, might move away . . ."


    If you made 20 cents/hour in 1923, an F-5 would have cost you more than a half year's wages.

  11. The following members say thank you to rcc56 for this post:


  12. #8
    Registered User Nick Royal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    379

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    Thanks for all the feedback, and rcc56's comments about a Loar costing more than a 1/2 year's wages is interesting!

  13. #9
    Registered User mtucker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles CA
    Posts
    1,396

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    To put things in perspective, Henry Ford sold around 15 million Model T’s from 1908-1927. In ‘23 the cost was about $350 each and as production increased the window sticker dropped to around $250 in 1925. Loar’s mandolins were no steal back then.

  14. #10
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Charleston SC
    Posts
    2,411

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    Here's an eye opener I just googled (for whatever thats worth). Lets look at an average 24 year old white male buying a Mando from Mr Loar himself in 1924.

    He would have been born in 1900. For those born in1900, the expectation for a white male was to live to age 47 (49 for white women and 38 for black men) and only 12 percent of those white males born in 1900 would make it to age 65.

    So judging by the large increase in years our contemporaries gain in life expectancy, thats a lot more playing time on your mando after purchase. So cost of that Gibson per year of playing has potentially actually decreased from 1924.

    Now with banjos, all bets are off. Theyre still bound to get taken out by the bass player after a year or two.
    Last edited by Astro; Aug-05-2019 at 3:07pm.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

  15. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Astro For This Useful Post:


  16. #11
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    22,839

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    That .20 an hour is probably close. It was a little more than that when I started working. Then again, even at the buck or so an hour I was making when I started a $250.00 mandolin was a real stretch. It was a luxury item. There's probably a reason there are a lot more old A models than F5 model's around. Even the A Jr. model probably wasn't considered cheap.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  17. #12

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    There's probably a reason there are a lot more old A models than F5 model's around. Even the A Jr. model probably wasn't considered cheap.
    Bill of sale I found in the case of my '20 A model was $40.00. So yes... probably considered a big ticket item by the average Joe.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

  18. The following members say thank you to FLATROCK HILL for this post:


  19. #13

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    Anybody who searched for quality antique items ,musical instruments,furniture etc. say in the 1960's or 70s didn't travel the hills of Appalachia like people do now, they looked in cities where the money was. Then ,1920's, like now there was a great disparity in wealth and wages. Average wages may have been 20 cents an hour nationwide. That would probably have included agricultural workers, day laborers etc. Skilled labor on the other hand would have made 3 to 4 times that. I saw a breakdown for NY City schools from around that period. Superintendent of schools was paid $25000 per year.A starting teacher $3500 and maxing out at $4200. A college professor $8 to $10000. I don't know what my grandfather earned as a electrical foreman for US Steel
    but during the time of Loar signed instruments he was able to purchase a piano and a pretty nice violin for his daughters. My grandparents were not even close to well-off but they could pull off that and lessons and a few nice things and own a house. When I started working in the 1960's as a carpenter my locomotive engineer father was getting more than 10 times what I was earning. I was earning probably 10 times what I had earned as a paperboy though and with that I was able to buy myself a "used" 1950's telecaster that too bad I don't have it still cause if I stumbled upon it now I probably couldn't afford it today!

  20. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    maryland
    Posts
    1,397

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    Interesting thread!
    Nearly impossible to come up with an avg income in the ‘20’s. So much bartering, chores for food/rent, and cash. More of a rural, mountain country. My grandfather made $17 a month when got married in 1936. His rent was $11.
    As for Lloyd’s Loar....pap would have to trade a lot of moonshine, hogs and chickens for a $250 mandolin!!!
    Bob

  21. #15

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    Hard to put into perspective because cost of living today is so high and people's spending habits were fairly conservative back then. And, as previously stated, some people made more money than other people!

    My friend had a real popular garage band in the 60's, made four 45's, dropped out of high school because he was making way more money than his dad. They would play the roller rink in 1965 and made $2500 in an afternoon. Sometimes on a weekend they would do the same thing on Sunday too in a different town a few hours away. They were famous locally, but hadn't broken out nationally -- and never did. But, money is money. He had a new 65 Mustang to drive around in......so, life is good for some people....

    to put "it" into perspective, my Dad bought a new 65 Buick LeSabre for $3000 (after a lot of negotiating) and our rent was $75 a month, which was cheap, even back then. I think my cheapness comes honestly, from my upbringing....

    We've also heard about the high school kid living at home and sacking groceries after school and buying a new Corvette, probably took him years to save it, but he had no overhead.....

    Back when a signed Loar was selling for $5K (not THAT long ago) a new Marshall stack was probably about the same and plenty of people bought those, so......

    But, for me, the good stuff was always just out of reach, even with a bunch of horse-trading and wheeling and dealing -- I think I probably just didn't make enough money or when I did I didn't want to part with it, so.......

  22. #16

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    Then as now, nobody pays list. As someone mentioned they knew someone that payed $225. That was maybe high - my music store purchases usually have come in at about -20 percent. That was still a lot of money but then there were only 250 or so of those things and I can think of 250 mansions in a not too far walk from where I grew up that dated from 1890 to 1920 or so. .. plenty of people could buy those things ,maybe just not musicians!

  23. #17
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    1,178
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    ... Now with banjos, all bets are off. Theyre still bound to get taken out by the bass player after a year or two.
    Hmmm, what if the bass player is also the banjo player???

    Quote Originally Posted by barney 59 View Post
    Then as now, nobody pays list. ...
    Well, not "nobody", but those who have to be, or like to be, careful about money avoid paying list. I've known some folks who actually took pride in paying list, "supporting the community". Dif'rent strokes...

    My grandpa had an old Gibson A-style mandolin from the late teens, he emigrated to the US from Russia in around 1909 and worked as an engineer. He played in a band at that time, I'm pretty sure it was an eastern European ethnic band of some sort.

    I never got exact details of what the transaction was, but he got payed with that mandolin for some work that he did, no cash changed hands. Back then he used cash for food, for gasoline and for rent, and that was about it.

    He had an old Model T pickup truck that my dad learned to drive in.
    Last edited by dhergert; Aug-06-2019 at 12:42pm.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  24. The following members say thank you to dhergert for this post:


  25. #18
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,619
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    Speaking of the "Rich" back then, I do know of someone who has/had an early 30s F-5 that belonged to Ginger Rodgers Uncle Fred-I think that's the name? So yeah the rich could afford that stuff in the midst of the great depression. Hanging out in the Hollywood hills doing whatever rich people do, Fred in the background stroking his F-5 while the party was in full swing mode?

    So Fireball Freddie bought one directly from Loar, that's pretty neat, I do know for a fact instruments were sold out of the factory as one of my mandolins an all original 1935 Gibson F-12 has no known FON# in the books and thats what I was told?

    Maybe Loar/another employee smuggled out a few here and there, I think that's been brought up on one F-5 in the archives. Could be if finished products were still sitting on racks into the late 20's-30's? I say this because I used to own a Restaurant and if you didn't watch the employees close they would steal ya blind man!

    So I wonder what that attic with a handful of smuggled out Loars is worth-just saying, still possible even today! Unlikely YES but ever year or two etc..a new unknown Loar signed F-5 surfaces. The Country is a big place and many people still don't get on computers.

  26. The following members say thank you to William Smith for this post:


  27. #19
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    2,861

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    It makes me think about what my A-2 sold for in Jan 1920...$55.00. I have the purchase order. That may have been for many people two months salary. Sold by a Gibson rep in Chicago.
    The buyer paid $15 with $10 due each month for 4 months.
    Jammin' south of the river
    '20 Gibson A-2
    Stromberg-Voisinet Tenor Guitar
    Penny Whistle
    My albums: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/album.php?u=7616

  28. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    2,080

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    in that time period, I'd say a $50 increase was a big jump also.

    wonder if folks adjusted the setups like some of us do today, or simply played it "as is"?
    I've often wondered about that in the 20's/30's. did people know work on the adjustments for instruments to help them play better, more easy.

    d

  29. #21
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,196

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    Considering the number of old Gibson instruments I have seen with their nut slots still in their original uncomfortably high factory state; I would say no, people were not often in the habit of adjusting the factory set up on their instruments in the old days.

  30. #22
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    2,619
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    They said the Great mandolinist Dave Appolon went through mandolins very fast and had to send them back to Gibson quite a few times, I'm thinking for frets and just set-up right? We know his F-5's survive, some known some pry out there in the world. He was hard on his mandolins so I can just imagine he went through frets rather quickly. Maybe it was covered under warranty work/ and or being an endorsing artist? I'm sure some dealers had some repairmen? But as above stated the # of originals in the high factory set-up that he's seen, myself also I wonder? The old Gibson's that came from mando-orchestras one would think they would need something, such as frets, other adjustments-I'd bet besides going back to Gibson for work there was some people that were handy?

    Back then I doubt they were as obsessed as some of us about a perfect playing an intonating instrument? Most all the vintage Gibson's I've found/bought have had their original frets, also nuts and bridges!

  31. #23
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Salisbury,NC
    Posts
    6,384

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    The $250 price was for the F5 mandolin only. If you wanted a case for it (and who in their right mind would not want a case?) that was another $25. It was a special rectangle case just for the F5 as compared to the shape case for the F4. Later you could get the rectangle case for the F4 too. Interesting that the case price increased in 1926 to $38 but the F5 stayed at the $250. The H5 was only $10 more and the K5 was $15 more than the F5.

  32. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to f5loar For This Useful Post:


  33. #24
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    8,211
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: Original cost of a Lloyd Loar F5

    Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
    The $250 price was for the F5 mandolin ...K5 was $15 more....
    That was an amazing bargain back in "the days when giant mandolins roamed the earth"!!
    Bernie
    ____
    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

Posting Permissions

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