Results 1 to 23 of 23

Thread: How important is having the original hardshell case?

  1. #1

    Default How important is having the original hardshell case?

    Interested in how others feel about how important an original hardshell case is to the sale
    of a vintage mandolin?

  2. #2
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    3,079

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    If it is being sold as a collectible, I think it’s very important. If it is being bought as a player’s grade instrument, it’s a little less so.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5
    2018 Vessel TM5

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to pheffernan For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    High Peak - UK
    Posts
    2,804

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    I suppose this subject begs the question of whether vintage mandolins were always sold with an “original” case. In my experience, mandolins and guitars have only come with cases in recent times. Go back to the 60s and 70s and a case was an optional extra. I can’t really say about the teens to the 50s.

  5. #4
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Wheeling, WV
    Posts
    5,083

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    If I were to find two different examples of the same model in the same condition, I would choose one over the other (all things being equal) if only one had an original case. As others pointed out, cases were options. You may find an instrument with an original soft shell case instead of a hard shell. Still it's an original case just not as desired.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

  6. #5
    Registered User Craig D.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    Having the original case is nice if the case is still in good shape. If it's falling apart, then I don't really care. I'd rather have a reliable case, period-correct if possible, but a modern case is fine too.
    1923 Gibson A-Jr
    2011 Kentucky KM-630

  7. #6
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    1,947

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    It is like having the original matching numbers engine on an old muscle car.

  8. #7
    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Posts
    1,021

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    The vintage Gibson cases for their A models (teens through 20s are my experience) are visually cool when in good condition, but I've always bought a modern case for when I was traveling on an airplane - they don't provide much real protection. Handles are often falling apart, so I've put a replacement handle on one case adjacent to the original so that I didn't wear out the original. My '28 National came in a case that is literally held together by duct tape - it travels around town in a gig bag. So yeah, 2 otherwise identical vintage mandolins in the same condition, same price, and one has the original case - I'd buy the one with the case. Unless the one without the case sounded better.

  9. #8
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    2,865

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    I obtained my 1920 A2 (my regular player) that came with the original case in good condition. I definitely prefer having the case, but I don't keep the A2 in it...not enough protection and the case could also take on more damage. The case lives elsewhere with the original bridge and the original purchase order. Instead, I got a nice rectangular "Access" case that fits the instrument perfectly with room for other stuff. That is also one problem with the old cases...you can't carry strings, tuner, etc in the little box and you need to wrap in a towel etc to keep the instrument from rattling around.
    Jammin' south of the river
    '20 Gibson A-2
    Stromberg-Voisinet Tenor Guitar
    Penny Whistle
    My albums: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/album.php?u=7616

  10. #9

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    It's really only important from a re-sale point of view IMHO.

    Dave H
    Eastman 615 mandola
    2011 Weber Bitteroot A5
    2012 Weber Bitteroot F5
    Eastman MD 915V
    Gibson F9
    2016 Capek ' Bob ' standard scale tenor banjo
    Ibanez Artist 5 string
    2001 Paul Shippey oval hole

  11. The following members say thank you to Dave Hanson for this post:

    AlanN 

  12. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,178

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    I like to have it (one of my bowlbacks came in an original case,) but it lives in a gig bag, and I have a hard case if I take it out. Not sure why I like to have it, I just do. I guess because it says to me that the person cared enough to keep the case, maybe they kept the instrument in good condition too.

  13. #11
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    7,373

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    I'd think any teens or 20s-era Gibson - very important. Clearly, the F5 cases sell for $10K so the market says it's truth!

    In buying a pre-Gibson Flatiron pancake, the 5-latch cases are just too cool not to want.

    If I bought a Model 1 Gilchrist, getting the mint-green Calton would be cool and I'd pay more.

    Otherwise, I don't really care. There are a few aftermarket cases I don't like; however.

    For the mandolin hazards in my life, I'd likely be fine with a chipboard case!

    f-d
    ¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

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

  14. #12
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    16,067

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    I managed to find a 'period correct' old A case, for the Mandolin I bought , earlier , but it was not the original, is that not sufficient?
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  15. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,691

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    Old "original" cases have that cool factor, but they fail in protection. Instruments are loose and banging around inside. (I guess some of the old Loar cases were pretty protective, but they're out of my league.)

    I have original cases for my F4, H4 and A2Z; the F4 lives in a Pegasus, the H4 stays in its somewhat shabby original, and the A2Z case is pretty near pristine. I'd like quality protective cases for the latter two, but I'm not aware of quality mandola cases for H4s. These guys seldom leave the house anyway. The L&H "A" came in an original, but it was falling apart, and it stank. It has a nice Calton, fits like a glove.

    IMO, if I was purchasing a fine vintage instrument, there'd be no difference to me if it was in a VG original or a quality modern case - something like the ones mentioned above. If it was a museum-quality collectible, original would win. For something that was going to be taken around and played, new protective would be preferable, because I'd want to buy one anyway to carry the instrument around.

  16. #14

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    Regarding the question of "original cases": Did prewar instruments "come with" a case? Before the 70's or later instruments were nearly always priced separately from the case. That does not mean they came without a case. On the contrary, I would be surprised to find a Gibson guitar or mandolin in the prewar era that was not purchased with a Gibson supplied case. The buyer paid $x for the instrument and an additional $x for the case. But they got to choose the grade of case and bought the instrument and case together. The first situation I know of where the instrument price INCLUDED the case was the Gibson Super 400 guitar, which was $400 and the price included the deluxe leather covered Geib case. But by 1941 Gibson started pricing the guitar and case separately. Today we see lots of prewar instruments that are not in the original case, usually because the original case wore out and a replacement was purchased. We see early Teens or earlier Gibson instruments in hard shell cases but they are not original, even though they appear to be. Gibson did NOT offer hard shell cases of any kind before 1914. (They were a brand new development that had just come into existence a few years earlier.) Look at the catalogs and you'll see I am correct. After hard shell cases were introduced many Gibson owners replaced their leather or canvas cases with the new style Faultless (hard shell) cases. Now, having said all that. In the post-war era larger music stores would often obtain cases from their regional music distributor and sell instruments in generic cases that were not from the instrument manufacturer. It was a money saving move and maybe let them be more flexible with their inventory. So, sometimes we see instruments in the cases they were originally sold in that were not from the manufacturer. For instance, I have a friend with a 1953 Martin D-28 in the original Lifton case, even though Martin never supplied Lifton cases. Obviously supplied by the music store. Still the original case in my opinion.

  17. The following members say thank you to Loudloar for this post:

    NickR 

  18. #15

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    I get the distinct impression, that many buyers in the 1930s or early 40s when times had been very hard, that with a limited budget, most was spent on the instrument and although the case was not an "after thought" it was often a fairly low cost item as the priority was to get the best instrument from the budget. As we know, cases can take a real battering and the lower cost examples would not stand the test of time- and were replaced. I think that having a good contemporary case for a vintage instrument is really great, it is not totally essential. We all heard about Byron Berline's F5 and how it survived a fire because it had the ultimate protection from its modern case. He may, of course, also have an old G & S case for it but it survived the fire in a modern case. In simple economic terms, you might sell your instrument and old case separately and make more money that way than selling the two together. It's a funny old world...

  19. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    As hinted above one never knows if the case is exactly the one it came with from the factory (or store). I had three nearly identical Gibson A's 30 years ago. All likely had original cases since they were in "attic found" condition when I purchased them (50+ year old unused strings included etc). I sold two of them several years back. I have no idea which case went with which mandolin. Cases seemed identical except for perhaps lining color.

  20. #17

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    If you check old catalogs, the cost of a hardshell case was often as much as 25 percent of the instrument's cost, that is, in addition to what the instrument cost. Therefore it was often a dealbreaker to also get the case -- at least at the time of the initial purchase.

    I do guitar repair and it amazes me how often "granddaddy's old guitar" is brought in for repair WITHOUT a case of any kind! Some of those old guitars are now worth $8-10K........first thing I tell them is buy a case.....

    Another, puzzlement finally got figured out while I was working for a vintage guitar shop. Often, a guy would bring in his old guitar, let's say a 50's Gibson in a 40's Martin case, or vice versa......I never understood that. It was explained to me -- simple economics -- when the guy wanted a new guitar he brought in his old one with its case, wanted to do a trade-in plus cash, found out he didn't have enough cash to get the new guitar AND case, so he got the new guitar and KEPT the old case. Problem solved. It took me years to figure that one out.......

  21. The following members say thank you to Jeff Mando for this post:


  22. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    High Peak - UK
    Posts
    2,804

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    Exactly, I ordered a Martin D18 in 1974. When I picked it up, I took my old case to bring it home in.

    Interestingly, the Martin cost me £190. Two years later I got a Calton case for it and that cost £80. I wonder how that compares with today’s prices?

  23. #19
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    16,067

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    Martins Old ones have increased in resale values..

    SF bay area house prices,Northern California bubble; Dad bought in 47 $6K, sold at his death in 2000, for $200K

    looked at zillow, it's valued, now @ $750K
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  24. #20
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    1,947

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    All that you need is to walk into a big jam one time with one of these in tow and the reaction of every instrument nerd in the room will have you hooked for life.

    I bought my first vintage tweed one in the '80s when they were no cool for $300, with a nice old vintage Martin included. I never once questioned if it was the "correct"case for that old guitar ....

    Who doesn't want a trio of cool old A cases?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	vintage tweed Gieb cases.jpg 
Views:	41 
Size:	332.9 KB 
ID:	187165   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCN2447.jpg 
Views:	34 
Size:	221.4 KB 
ID:	187166  

  25. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to j. condino For This Useful Post:


  26. #21
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    aiken, sc
    Posts
    5,989

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    I believe your question has been answered. But, I find the case to be equally important to a vintage instrument as the various parts attached to the instrument itself. Anything short of the complete package is a downer/hit to the price to me. But on the other hand, I weigh the cost and effort of obtaining the case or part, whether or not I have an extra of that part into the equation.

    But, let's say I buy a refinished and repaired 1918 A2 mandolin. It is missing the case and some parts. Let's say it has the tailpiece and tuners, wrong bridge and no pickguard. Would I install my extra original parts I have on that mandolin? NO. It would not be financially feasible and the next guy would be buying the package to get the parts. In this instance I would replace the original parts with high quality new nicely functional parts, put it in a decent case and keep the tailpiece and tuners for the clean nice mandolin that needs to become the complete package. This allows the mandolin to be sold at an attractive, low entry level price.

    Some folks balk at "robbing parts". But my intention is to get those parts on the mandolins that need them. I would rather see more mandolins with all original parts than to see half of them with something missing and those parts would be prioritized toward the nicer clean examples
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
    www.f5journal.com

  27. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Darryl Wolfe For This Useful Post:


  28. #22
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Salisbury,NC
    Posts
    6,422

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    When a vintage mandolin has that original case and has continued to be stored in that case, it does help add to that "vintage" smell. Put it in a new case and you will loose some of that smell.

  29. The following members say thank you to f5loar for this post:


  30. #23
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Greer, SC
    Posts
    457

    Default Re: How important is having the original hardshell case?

    By the time my mandolins are truly vintage, I'll be dead so who cares.

Posting Permissions

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