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Thread: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

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    Registered User JAK's Avatar
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    Question Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    In today's Café classifieds there is a 1924 LL for sale for $120K. Not too long ago they were hovering around $200K, some higher, some lower. Is a significant drop in pricing occurring with all the Gibson Lloyd Loars these days?
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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    Quote Originally Posted by JAK View Post
    Is a significant drop in pricing occurring with all the Gibson Lloyd Loars these days?
    SAT test preparation courses teach that choices which use exclusive or extreme words like “all” or “none” are rarely if ever correct. I suspect that Monroe’s Loar and the Mrs. Griffith A5 are just fine. But there has been a market correction in the last decade after the Great Recession, and I think it is far to speculate what the COVID-19 pandemic will do to vintage instrument valuations.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    Prices were coming down on Loars long before the pandemic. I have had a few dealers tell me there are a lot of them floating around for sale. However, sales are fairly brisk of other instruments at some dealers. I think we may see a shortage of instrument inventories in some areas.

    To be honest, that's a lot of money to park in one space, and the buying pool is fairly thin at that price point.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    I'm looking for something very specific and have talked to a number builders and dealers here recently and business is brisk for the lower end to middle of the road instruments. I have made 4 sales recently....a guitar, an octave Mando, and two Caltons and they all sold within about a day. As Mary mentioned, Loars have been dropping for awhile. At least the ones offered to the public. Plenty of them exchange hands privately and it's probably the better ones.

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    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    Some months back I asked out of curiosity how many loars were for sale? And the answer came back about 15. So that’s about 8%. Which I’d imagine is about true for any comparable commodity.

    The 200k was probably unsustainable given the rather niche. If they drop to 1k i’m interested. I’d like a march 24 1924 one thanks.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    A dealer told me that Tony Williamson had seven Loars that he was representing for sale. Many are being "sold" quietly, and some of the prices I have heard are lower than $120k. Although, as they say, this is only hear-say on my part, although this bit of info was validated by a vintage dealer I ran across.

    That said, Shaun is absolutely right, mid-level instruments are not staying for sale long. It was a grand day when a store sold one banjo, but three and four in one day? It's the end of the world as we know it.

    As for the Loars, many collectibles are bought and shipped outside the US. Maybe we will get some of those back, at more reasonable prices.
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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    Quote Originally Posted by JAK View Post
    In today's Café classifieds there is a 1924 LL for sale for $120K. Not too long ago they were hovering around $200K, some higher, some lower. Is a significant drop in pricing occurring with all the Gibson Lloyd Loars these days?
    Yes, definitely down from the peak days. There was a period where the market was quite flooded with Loars for sale. Prices have definitely crept downwards even further, and I'd bet a fair bit that the coronavirus recession will contribute further
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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    The 'asking' vs. the actual sale prices for these Loar F5s are likely very different. And it is much more difficult to determine the actual price paid since most buyers and sellers would prefer to keep that info private.
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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    This reminds me of being in the jewelry business and people asking if “Gold was up or down?” The answer was generally “Yes”, it’s all relative.
    They are still “up” from the time they were first sold but, “down” from their peak of several years ago. Since I have no dog for sale nor funds to buy one, I am one of the folks who figure the point is moot.
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    The one constant, is that Lloyd Loar F-5's cost more than I can afford. When they were $25K decades ago, I couldn't afford them then. Now that I could afford that level of price (not that I would), they're still more than I could pay. The idea of putting down an amount near the price of my house, on a mandolin, still seems irresponsible -- regardless of how good that mandolin may be.
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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    Quote Originally Posted by JAK View Post
    In today's Café classifieds there is a 1924 LL for sale for $120K. Not too long ago they were hovering around $200K, some higher, some lower. Is a significant drop in pricing occurring with all the Gibson Lloyd Loars these days?
    yes...

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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    Here's my take. Yes, they have been dropping for years, from, let's say when Chris Thile bought his at the top of that market. And, not to say it was a bad investment, but you usually don't buy in at the top of the market and expect it to keep going up. (In his case, he can depreciate his on his taxes as a professional musician......)

    That being said, there has always been a demand for signed Loars. Every field of interest has its blue chip investments. For mandolins it will always be a signed Loar. It is not unusual for prices to be kept artificially high for the sake of the hobby. The litmus test is when an instrument has been on the market for 3 years or more and has not found a buyer. That tells me, there is either something wrong with the instrument OR it is priced too high. Also, there is wholesale and retail, or private sale vs a vintage shop price. That is, quite simply, what would an established vintage dealer pay for your $120K mandolin, in cash, today -- if you needed the money? I'm guessing it would be difficult to find offers over $35-50K, and not every shop would even have that kind of liquid cash flow available, IMHO. That is how I see it. Same can be said of real estate -- when a house is on the market for over 3 years with no buyers that says a lot. BUT, I have tried to buy short sales and foreclosures from banks and there is a definite lower limit they won't go past when accepting an offer, even though logic would say they should take "whatever they can get!" This is to protect the status quo and the system in place, otherwise mortgages and lending would have no meaning, as an established practice.

    I agree with what was mentioned above, the best pieces are probably sold privately and quickly and never advertised and probably for more than the "going rates!"

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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    I agree with what was mentioned above, the best pieces are probably sold privately and quickly and never advertised and probably for more than the "going rates!"
    I was pretty much with you untill the last part of that sentence... "probably more than the "going rates!""

    I doubt that.
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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    The prices that I have heard on private sales are much lower than $125k.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    The prices that I have heard on private sales are much lower than $125k.
    sad to say i can attest to that... :o(

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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    All prices are cyclic.

    Cycles are determined by the state of an economy, faddism, market saturation, location and dire necessity, among others.

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    What about old herringbones and D-18s? Are they dropping too?

  27. #18

    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post
    What about old herringbones and D-18s? Are they dropping too?
    I’m not sure there are too many for sale. Different buying pool, populated by a whole different denomination of buyers.

    Prices has deflated on Loars way before the pandemic, when the economy was hot, and buzzing along. I think you have an aging pool of buyers who are retired or retiring and want to cash out of the market.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  28. #19
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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    For the last few months, Herringbone D-28's have been selling at a steady pace.

    Prices on the scalloped models dropped somewhat at the onset of the 2008 recession, and have gradually risen over the past few years. Clean ones sell rather quickly. Pieces that are heavily worn, refinished, or modified are more difficult to sell and bring much lower prices.

    The unscalloped Herringbones are a different market, and have changed less in price. They are selling well when the sellers are asking sensible prices.

    Prices on D-18's made before 1946 also dropped during the recession. Since then, they have shown perhaps less movement towards their pre-recession price levels than D-28's from the same period.
    Last edited by rcc56; May-11-2020 at 7:11pm.

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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    Prices have fallen since the middle of the 2nd decade of the 21st century.

  30. #21

    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    I was pretty much with you untill the last part of that sentence... "probably more than the "going rates!""

    I doubt that.
    Just speculation on my part, based on my experience with the vintage guitar world.

    The vintage guitar corollary to the signed Loar would be a 1958-60 Gibson Les Paul sunburst, affectionately known by collectors as a "Burst." These are the iconic Les Paul's which first used the PAF pickups and played by Clapton, Keith Richards, Mick Taylor, Billy Gibbons, Peter Green, Paul Kossoff and others. Anyway, basically the #1 collectable electric guitar selling between $200-350K depending on condition and more importantly who owned it. Collectors of these guitars gather each year at the Arlington, Texas vintage guitar show to talk "Burst" and show their guitars. They even have a gig at a local beer joint where you can hear these guitars, in action. (many of the owners are amazing players..) Anyway, I'm not part of that world, but have worked in the vintage guitar field since the mid 80's, so I have had plenty of conversations with these collectors on their favorite topic. Back when the going rate was $200K, I asked a Dallas collector and authority if he thought a burst would ever reach a million dollars? Without hesitation, he replied, "what makes you think they haven't already?" This is from a man who owned 15 bursts at one particular time.....

    So, I'm thinking it is possible, if not probable, that a signed Loar could do something similar between private collectors, depending on the pedigree of the instrument. Again, with no announcement and the info kept private for obvious reasons.

    Ask Jay Leno if he ever overpaid to get a car he had been searching for.....?
    Last edited by Jeff Mando; May-12-2020 at 12:12pm.

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  32. #22
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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    FWIW (a laugh?), back when I first got here, probably '09 or '10, there was a Loar asking price of $500K! I forget were that was (no Reverb yet, possibly eBay), but pretty sure that went nowhere.
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    Registered User Buck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post
    What about old herringbones and D-18s? Are they dropping too?
    They've dropped little, if any, at least for the better examples. I include ones with wear, but are mostly original. However, their prices did not climb at the same rate Loars did from about 2000-2008. There's also a wider group of interested buyers - folk, country, rock, and of course Bluegrass. Loar buyers are a much narrower band of the musical spectrum.

    FWIW, I think $100k+ seems about right, considering that a wide neck, forward braced D-28 goes for about the same price. Martin made about 400 of those from 1934 to 1938. There were about 1,000 D-18's made during the same period. A clean D-18 of the same period is about half the price, maybe a bit less, compared to the D-28.
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    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    Back to Loar mandolins... I'd like to point out that even at the absolute, tippy-top of the market of 15-20 years back there were VERY few Lloyd Loar mandolins that sold for over $200K and even fewer that sold for that near-legendary price of $250K. I know that at least a couple did sell for that amount because I used to own one of them. That price, however, was NOT the going rate for Loars at that time and neither was $200K. Only the cleanest or best-sounding or most-coveted "i'll pay anything to get that Loar" mandolins brought those outrageous prices. I would say $175K was what a "normal" instrument was bringing at that time. I'm sure there were exceptions on both the high and low end... low-enders being refins I imagine.

    If David Grisman were to put his legendary Fern or Crusher up for sale I have little doubt that someone out there wouldn't pay a million bucks for either one...

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  36. #25

    Default Re: Are All Lloyd Loars Dropping In Price?

    So Thiele got a Genius Award and spent it on an overpriced mandolin?!😬

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