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Thread: Seeking info about Gibson "A" #15709

  1. #1

    Default Seeking info about Gibson "A" #15709

    A friend of mine wants to sell his "A" Gibson, S/N 15709. Picture attached. Neither of us has any idea what it is worth. According to http://www.mandolinarchive.com/ the serial number is about 1912. There are no obvious defects, and it has a beautiful warm sound. There is no writing on the peghead. The serial number is from a sticker inside. Similar instruments on-line seems to be selling for anywhere from $600 to a couple of thousand. Any advice would be appreciated.
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  2. #2
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking info about Gibson "A" #15709

    is there an original hard case and will you get the pick guard? These items (if there or missing) can affect the price. Just what I see seems a close-to $1,000 mandolin (i.e., within a few hundred, either way). Need to check the neck and glue seams.

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

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

  3. #3

    Default Re: Seeking info about Gibson "A" #15709

    Its value is determined by its originality and overall condition. However, other aspects also affect the value- the "Lloyd Loar Era" "snakehead" mandolins command a premium. This is a number of years in the early 1920s and yours is generally called a "paddle head" and some people just want a snakehead and will pay more for one.
    Does the mandolin have an original case? Your photo shows the mandolin has lost its pickguard although these are sometimes removed and are with the mandolin but most are not present because the celluloid has deteriorated. Ideally, you should post a whole series of photos showing in detail the whole mandolin. Thus the profile of the top can be viewed and judged- has it warped or sunk? Is the neck configuration okay, are there any cracks, and what is its general cosmetic condition- has it been refinished- in part or totally?
    Ultimately, to a player many of these things are secondary to its volume, tone and playability but the collector fraternity wants originality and this will determine value in the main- assuming it has no other structural defects.
    I can remember the manager of a vintage instrument shop in Austin, Texas telling me that if he refretted his 1964 Gibson ES345 guitar- it would lose value but it would be a more playable instrument. Therein the clear absurdity of the market is laid bare but the collectors drive the price more than the bona fide musicians.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Seeking info about Gibson "A" #15709

    Judging by the burn mark on the top, the pickguard was more than likely removed because it was deteriorating.

    Somebody will give you a more accurate date if you can give us the Factory Order Number - this should be stamped inside, somewhere near or on the neck block.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Seeking info about Gibson "A" #15709

    Thanks for all the suggestions! Factory order number is 1838, stamped inside near the neck block. New "Access" hardshell case, not original. No pick guard. No cracks. Visible mark where pickguard was removed. Headstock has no markings, does not say "The Gibson".

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  7. #6
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Seeking info about Gibson "A" #15709

    It's a plain Style A built in 1912. This model did not have a logo on the peghead. The bridge, tuners, and tailpiece appear to be original.
    If the condition of the back is similar to that of the top, it might bring an even $1000 on a good day. Or the owner might have to accept a bit less.
    You could post it in the Cafe classifieds.
    Last edited by rcc56; May-14-2020 at 3:54pm.

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