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Thread: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

  1. #1

    Default My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    My father was a ships captain. He went to sea at the age of 16 in about 1923 and he acquired his mandolin shortly afterwards, I would think in the US. He probably taught himself to play, but his mother was a music teacher so he may have had a grounding in music at home. The mandolin is very well travelled! It went through the war with him, being on one of the last ships leaving Singapore in 1942, and also on the Atlantic convoys. Despite this it is still in good condition. It is 20 years now since he died. My children and grandchildren have shown no interest in it, and, knowing it to be a rather special instrument, I now feel that I must let someone else enjoy it. The mandolin is a style A, no. 1806. Is there anyone out there who can advise me how I should go about selling it? I should add that the mandolin is in the UK.

  2. #2

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Is it like this example? It may be slightly later judging by the number. The earlier examples are symmetrical and have the longer scale length. The scale is the length of the strings between the bridge and the nut- the part of the string free to vibrate. I would assume this is 13 inches on your instrument- the earlier symmetrical examples are 13 & 3/4 inches. Ideally, you should post up some photos here.

    https://jakewildwood.blogspot.com/20...nt-carved.html

    Obviously, the condition is important as is its originality- no modifications or replacement parts etc. Does the mandolin have its original case? The most common method is to sell via ebay- making sure you have good photos and a good and accurate description. Perhaps, having the mandolin checked by an expert would be useful too. Where are you in the UK?

    I have a historically significant guitar from 1842 that was owned by a sea captain. He used it as a weapon in bar brawls but one of Britain's top experts rebuilt it for me. He actually wanted it for his museum but he made a replica instead! He featured it- or its top and the labels inside in the journal The American Luthier on an article about the development of the guitar in this period.
    Last edited by NickR; Aug-22-2019 at 7:00am.

  3. #3
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Photos will help. Lyon & Healy Style A mandolins are prized by classical mandolinists, at least in the United States, and can be worth a significant chunk -- not enough to retire on, but better than a good day at the races.

    You could try listing it in the Classifieds here, or look up The Acoustic Music Co. in Brighton and see if Trevor is interested in taking it on as a consignment.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Yes, Nick, it is as symmetrical and just like the one in the link, except for the front which is a paler brown. I will post some photos as soon as I can discover how to do it!

  5. #5

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Reply below!

  6. #6

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Think I should start again! It is asymetrical!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Gillypop, I have sent you a private message

  8. #8

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Gillypop, the icon to post the photos is third from the extreme right. If you give the town where you live it may be possible to advise you of a local expert. Brighton has been mentioned. One of my experts is in Hove, next door to Brighton but he is lunatically busy all the time. I get to see him when his wife visits her uncle who lives a mile away from me. My other expert is on holiday- I am hoping to see him before too long to evaluate a new instrument I have bought so I can review it on this website. I think it is great but he makes them and repairs them, so I need his input.

    Any way, it would be great to see your mandolin and as I mentioned seeing if the case is the original type would be useful as well.

  9. #9

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Thank you, will have a go with the photos. I live in Bury St Edmunds.

  10. #10

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #11

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    So far as I can see, the only slight damage is a little piece of wood missing shown in photos 4 and 5

  12. #12

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    The photos are there now.

  13. #13

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Yes, that's fabulous! I can see that the carved edge of the headstock scroll is missing a chunk on one side. War damage? I know that my repair man could probably make a piece and do an invisible mend- and I am sure others can do the same. It all looks original to my eye- as is the case which is battered but has protected the instrument. Obviously, to see if 90 plus years of string tension and life on the ocean wave has exacted a toll on the structure, it needs to be seen by an expert.

    I am quite a way away from your neck of the woods and cannot recommend anybody close to you. Others may have suggestions. The instrument can be sold as it is- although having it appraised is a worthwhile objective as it is both valuable and rare- not least in the UK. It's a fact that many instruments that have been in the family are interesting but not rare or very valuable- this is not one of those! It will be interesting to see what you do and the outcome.

  14. #14
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    The case is rather the worse for wear and is missing the original handle ... but that's to be expected, and it has protected the instrument from a good bit of knocking about.

    There's a fair amount of wear and discoloration on the back of the mandolin, or perhaps that is just dirt or grime; I can't really tell from the photo. If it's dirt, it could be cleaned up with a bit of "guitar cleaner" or "guitar polish," which I imagine can be had from Hobgoblin or other such places. If it's wear, it should be left alone and not refinished -- refinishing reduces an instrument's value, and such decisions ought to be left to your buyer.

    The missing piece is called an "ear" and any violinmaker worth their salt can craft you a new one; the tricky part is matching the color & finish. I actually have a Lyon & Healy A in a violin shop right now for exactly this repair. (Violinmakers are much more familiar with carving ears than mandolin and guitar builders are.)

    Not tip-top condition, but still has original parts, including the tailpiece cover, and should be worth about US$3,000 (2,450 pounds) with a new ear -- but I speak as a Yank, and demand for these might be more or less in the UK than it is in the States.
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  16. #15
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Here is a violin shop in Suffolk, not too far away. Worth ringing them up and asking if they'll have a go; they may not care to do an appraisal but should be able to handle the repair:

    https://www.woodbridgeviolins.com/
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson Wood Thormahlen Andersen Old Wave Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

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    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    I’d second having a word with Tevor at TAMCO in Brighton. He’s quite approachable and the only thing you have to loose is the price of a ‘phone call. Trevor sold a similar mandolin not that long ago. Scroll this page down - http://www.theacousticmusicco.co.uk/...andolins-.html

    There are many shops in the UK who might be interested in it but none I’d trust as much as TAMCO. He’s a member here so refer him to this thread.
    Last edited by Ray(T); Aug-22-2019 at 4:11pm.

  18. #17

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Thank you very much for all your help and suggestions. Will let you know how I get on. Thanks again. Gilly

  19. #18

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Thank you very much indeed for such a detailed opinion. I am very grateful. Gilly

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  20. #19
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    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Thank you for sharing that beauty with us, Gillypop. That is a beautiful instrument.
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    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    I second what ToneDeaf said . . . beautiful instrument - thanks for sharing.

  22. #21

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Good morning! It seems that the photo I took yesterday of the mandolin back is causing some consternation, so here is another one take in the sunshine.Click image for larger version. 

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  23. #22

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    That looks fine to me- the lack of sparkle is probably just a build up of dirt over the years and can be cleaned up with ease if you know how- so best left alone at this stage. It is amazing how much stuff does attach itself to an instrument over time. Hands may appear to be clean but oil and dirt passes from them on to surfaces- as you will know around the house, bannisters, light switches etc- and an instrument is no different as dirt accumulates. The muck that you can find on a fingerboard of an instrument is salutary!

    Here is a mandolin- quite a nice instrument from 1936 that I bought on eBay in Texas- it had belonged to the seller's father since he was a child back in the 1930s. She was amazed by the difference that a good clean had on its appearance- the ebay photo does not offer much other than potential! The second photo shows it with its new pickguard that my expert made- as can be seen, the original celluloid had rotted. In the case of your mandolin, it is a vulcanised rubber guard and this problem does not manifest. With the celluloid- like old film stock, it gives off gas and this turns to nitric acid, I believe and causes havoc on the instrument when left in the case. Luckily, the damage on this mandolin was minimal.Click image for larger version. 

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  24. #23
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Nice L&H-I had a late teens, early 20's one just like it, low serial# that was pretty much mint, one piece back, and came in a "Baby Loar style case-looked just like an F-5 Loar case but smaller and well made for the points on the L&H, also purple interior" The new owner loves it! I liked it but not my sound as I like F-hole sound but it was very open, loud, warm if that makes sense. It now resides in California, I believe in a mandolin orchestra? As said above someone can fix the head scroll on yours-everything is fixable and has potential! Yours looks all original to me, great back on yours, and have to love that big ole tailpiece cover-often those are missing! Yours should fetch around 3800-4200 here in the states I'd think if all is well with the neck etc....I think I got 5 for mine, but again it was nearly perfect and had the super kool case and a great original higher end case sure helps in the sale of anything.

    Very nice budget brand Gibson "NickR"-cleaned up very nicely! Boy those big ole original bridges on those huh, I have one on my lump scroll Gumby Cromwell G-6, I may replace it with a trad. ebony one? Mine also has the back brace where those were heat pressed into shape I believe? Some of those budget brand Gibson's from the 30's are mighty fine and you can get them for great deals that need a basic cleaning and tune-up! They will not have the 5 power but have awesome tone! I see yours has no headstock make? Curious as to what "budget-name" it is? I like her! Was the guard the only issue with yours, That is so common with 30's mandolins, any cracks etc..I've found if one looks you can get these that need little for 500 bucks or so-sometimes cheaper! Even right now one can find a load of Gibson A's from the teens-30's for well under 1G and they need very little, great deals! Even some F-2's and 4's out there can be had at deals, well right now its a buyers market as prices are way down on vintage mandolins-not sure about guitars as I'm not up on my knowledge like I once was!

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  26. #24

    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    William Smith - it is the Wards Model 1642 which is a carved top- basically an A50 minus the truss rod. In fact, this model has a Wards gold label inside- which I could just see in the photos supplied by the seller. I assume most people thought it was a Kalamazoo but the lack of a name on the headstock is the clue to its retailer. The seller chose not to mention the Wards label- I assume she thought that meant "junk". As a Wards model, it has a date stamped inside- which Wards did, for some reason. Again, the seller chose not to mention this but she did ask me why the mandolin had gone for so much more than she had expected! The FON dates it to 1936 while the Wards date stamp is Feb 1937. Anyway, it has a lovely tone and the seller was thrilled at how it was reborn- as it had belonged to her Dad.

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  28. #25
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Pas Washburn Lyon and Healy mandolin

    Nice, I don't believe I've ever seen a wards label! Way neat for sure. Thanks for the info as I didn't know those were carved tops. Who had that book out on Gibson's budget brands? I need to pick that up to read!

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