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Thread: 1923 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

  1. #1
    Registered User Joe Spann's Avatar
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    Default 1923 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    To the best of my knowledge there are no surviving Gibson factory documents with production totals for the year 1923. I have produced the following estimated production, using my own private serial number list in which I can document about 450 instruments from the year 1923 (or about 15% of the predicted total 1923 production). I gathered this information over many decades, and from various sources, (e.g. instruments I have personally inspected, information sent to me, internet websites and original Gibson factory documents). Please remember, these are only estimates, based on a reconstruction of 15% of the original data.

    Joe Spann

    A 500 units
    A-Jr 200 units
    A-1 200 units
    A-2 300 units
    A-3 5 units
    A-4 300 units
    A-5 1 unit
    F-2 150 units
    F-4 300 units
    F-5 150 units

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  3. #2

    Default Re: 1923 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    I have an A, FON 11999. Blackface, with bound top and back, and inlaid headstock The Gibson. It is an unusually loud and rich mando,
    and seems worthy of more than a humble, simple A designation. Were all 500 of the '23 A models finished like this?

  4. #3
    Registered User Joe Spann's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1923 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    Gibson A model mandolins from 1923 have been seen with Sheraton Brown or Black top finish. But, are you certain that your mandolin is only an A? With a black top finish AND a mother-of-pearl script "Gibson" logo peghead inlay, this sounds more like an A-1 model to me.

  5. #4

    Default Re: 1923 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    The label is well preserved, and there is only the basic "A". Just like Hester Prynne. I am only the third owner, and I knew the earlier owners.
    It was sold out of Miles Music Store in Knoxville (metal label still attached on peghead).

  6. #5
    Epiphonist Masterbilt's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1923 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Spann View Post
    A 500 units
    A-Jr 200 units
    A-1 200 units
    A-2 300 units
    A-3 5 units
    A-4 300 units
    A-5 1 unit
    F-2 150 units
    F-4 300 units
    F-5 150 units
    Joe - thanks. Have you also got an estimate for the A-2z model?

    Felix
    '23 A2-Z / '31 Adelphi / '32 F2 / '02 F5 Sam Bush
    Visit NY Epi Reg – The Unofficial New York Epiphone Registry

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  8. #6
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1923 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    Just so interesting! Makes me wonder just how many white face A3s (all years)? Also, I echo Felix. Just how many A2Zs were made?

    What a legacy, Joe! You are Mr. Gibson!

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  9. #7
    Registered User Joe Spann's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1923 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    The A-2z model was not offered prior to the year 1924.

    In my opinion, based on only partial data, in the year 1924 Gibson made about 200 A-2z and then the same amount in the year 1925, for a total A-2z model production of approximately 400 units. A few Gibson A-2z model mandolins can be found shipping in the years 1926 and 1927, but all of the examples of my experience have 1924 or 1925 factory order numbers, thus indicating that they were left-over stock.

    Joe Spann

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  11. #8
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    Default Re: 1923 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    My A2Z has FON 11991, which is identified in the Spann book as an A2Z in 1923.
    Serial number 74940.

  12. #9
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1923 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    I think there are always going to be anomalies, certainly in the early years. My mandolin is clearly labeled A-1 but someone wanted to argue the point because it has no logo on it. He stood down when I showed him the back binding but continued to shake his head to himself the rest of the night.
    --------------------------------
    1920 Lyon & Healy bowlback
    1923 Gibson A-1 snakehead
    1952 Strad-o-lin
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    2009 Giannini GBSM3 bandolim
    2011 Eastman MD305

  13. #10
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1923 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob A View Post
    My A2Z has FON 11991, which is identified in the Spann book as an A2Z in 1923.
    Serial number 74940.
    This serial number is so close to '24 that it would be hard to argue whether it's a 23 or 24. The Loar mandolins signed on December 11, 1923 are about 300 numbers earlier
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
    www.f5journal.com

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  15. #11
    Registered User Joe Spann's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1923 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
    This serial number is so close to '24 that it would be hard to argue whether it's a 23 or 24. The Loar mandolins signed on December 11, 1923 are about 300 numbers earlier
    Yes, exactly.

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  17. #12
    Registered User Matt Bowe's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1923 Gibson Mandolin Production Estimate - By Model

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This instrument has Serial No. 74753 / FON 11971. It was purchased 20 years ago from Mandolin Brothers who listed it as having a factory refinish.
    It appears to have been oversprayed.
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    MJB

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