Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

  1. #1
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    8,212
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    This Martin bowl back mandolin is very clean and the original leather case is amazingly well preserved. Not sure about whether the price is "right" though?
    Last edited by Bernie Daniel; Oct-20-2019 at 10:45am.
    Bernie
    ____
    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

  2. #2

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    At $1095 it's a bit too rich for my wallet. $500-600 for a "name" bowl back mandolin is more like it.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  3. The following members say thank you to lenf12 for this post:


  4. #3
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    8,212
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    At $1095 it's a bit too rich for my wallet. $500-600 for a "name" bowl back mandolin is more like it.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
    That is about the price I might be interested in. Of course the seller would surely see it much differently?
    But I just wonder if there is ANY market for a used American bowl back though?

    I kind of like to have an older, turn of the century (1900), Italian model I think. And in fact I think if you look you can find a very good deal on an Italian bowl back that has the requisite mojo in the $200 - 500 range?
    Bernie
    ____
    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

  5. #4

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    That is really an exceptionally well preserved mandolin, and although not a higher grade model, Martin used to build them all very nicely with fine tonal properties.
    Should one decide to go for that particular mandolin, there are a couple of questions that I think should be addressed, and which the posted pictures do not help with:
    * Absence of fretboard warping ?
    * Any soundboard (top) distortions such as warping on the sides of the fretboard or cave-in under the bridge ?

  6. The following members say thank you to Peter K for this post:


  7. #5
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    22,855

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    There is a market for used American made bowlbacks but there are a ton of them on the market, some decent some disasters. That's why the prices are low. This Martin is beyond the market but he only has to sell this one.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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


  9. #6
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    I have had my eye on this mandolin too. I’m not an expert on value, but considering the condition and there were only 33 #3’s made in 1902 I don’t think the starting price is outrageous. Though I definitely wouldn’t pay that much for it. And I’m also thinking about the case. If just the case was for sale I might be willing to pay $200 for it. But that’s just me.

  10. #7

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleE View Post
    I have had my eye on this mandolin too. I’m not an expert on value, but considering the condition and there were only 33 #3’s made in 1902 I don’t think the starting price is outrageous. Though I definitely wouldn’t pay that much for it. And I’m also thinking about the case. If just the case was for sale I might be willing to pay $200 for it. But that’s just me.
    Actually, I marvel at the preservation of that case more than the mandolin itself. I have probably received three of such cases with my past BB mandolin purchases, and in all cases they had not aged well. They were in tatters, rotted away, with a heavy mold stench wafting from the interior. Into the garbage bin they all went.

  11. #8
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,170

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    If the sound of a bowlback resides in the quality of its top and the precision curvature of the bowl, I'm not sure what this one would lack much compared with higher end, higher bling. It's a luxurious bowl, with some keen details. It will have a nicely shaped, very playable neck.

    I've owned a few Martin bowls and they were distinctly lovely. One large for this Martin with this case actually sounds pretty good to me were I bowl shopping.

    From the many conversations about bowls here it sounds like there are a couple types: those who are dedicated bowl-heads and those who would kind of like to have one in the herd, but aren't totally convinced. The latter should have many options in the $200-600 range.

    This one is more for a bowl head. $1K should also get you a pretty nice Italian job as well, though it may be trickier to get one in such dependable shape.

    I'm attaching a few images for posteriority.

    Mick
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Martin Bowl Front.jpg 
Views:	5 
Size:	179.3 KB 
ID:	180698   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Martin Bowl Bowl.jpg 
Views:	8 
Size:	299.8 KB 
ID:	180699   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Martin Bowl Clown Shoe.jpg 
Views:	7 
Size:	385.4 KB 
ID:	180700  

    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  12. The following members say thank you to brunello97 for this post:


  13. #9
    Registered User DoubleE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    Thanks Mick!

    I consider myself a Martin freak and not a bowlhead! I seem to watch any Martin mando that’s for sale online. I do have a nice solid, playable 1905/6 Washburn bowlback that will always have a place in my herd. I probably don’t need another bowlback, but another Martin never hurts! That being said I think I’d rather drop a grand on a Koa A model. So many mandolins, so little money!

  14. #10
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    5,170

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleE View Post
    Thanks Mick!

    I consider myself a Martin freak and not a bowlhead! I seem to watch any Martin mando that’s for sale online. I do have a nice solid, playable 1905/6 Washburn bowlback that will always have a place in my herd. I probably don’t need another bowlback, but another Martin never hurts! That being said I think I’d rather drop a grand on a Koa A model. So many mandolins, so little money!
    I've enjoyed my Martins as well, EE.
    In the M note range, a B model would also comes highly recommended. Spruce top / rosewood back make for a great combination.

    "...nice solid playable...Washburn bowlback...."

    Everyone should have one of these!

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Open Road
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  15. #11
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    15,891

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    Agree with Mick B. I'd put this one into four figures. Anything "Martin" gets a premium, and this one's condition is really exceptional.

    I had a leather case like that that came with my Washburn bowl-back mandola, but it was severely worn and damaged, and finally just fell apart. In retrospect (this was over 30 years ago), I should have at least tried to get it restored, even partially, but it seemed hopeless and I finally discarded it after a couple years, constructed a homemade "coffin" case of plywood for the Washburn.

    There are surely many decent American-made bowl-backs of that general vintage available for half the price of the Martin, but I don't think that makes the asking price totally unrealistic. And, of course, we don't know yet what it'll actually sell for...
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  16. #12
    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Brookline, Massachusetts
    Posts
    963
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    Seems to me that premium American bowlbacks are regularly going over $1k. As I recall, Carter's sold a 1902 Martin Style 6A for $1100, not too long ago. That's a higher model, although less ornamented than this one. There's a Martin Style 5 over at Bernunzio nearly $3000.

    Average-level Vegas are regularly listed now at $500+. One sold on Reverb recently (mint condition) for $1000, and there's another there now (mid-grade) for $898. Lark Street Music has one listed at $995.

  17. #13
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    26,358

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    I agree with Mick, Allen and August. That is a nice style #3 and is certainly within "book" value for EC (retail) FWIW.
    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 members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:


  19. #14
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    22,855

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    I appreciate that y'all like it but if it was that good of a deal I think it would be gone by now. YMMV.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  20. #15
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    26,358

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I appreciate that y'all like it but if it was that good of a deal I think it would be gone by now. YMMV.
    Not a good deal, definitely not a steal. Retail price, but if you are looking for one...
    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

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


  22. #16

    Default Re: 1902 Martin Bowlback mandolin

    i have never heard a martin bowl back. so what do people say about the tone.

Posting Permissions

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