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Thread: Biehl Mandolin advise please

  1. #1

    Default Biehl Mandolin advise please

    Hi,
    Is anyone able to give me information/value of this mandolin? I have other photos and the mandolin as it belonged to my cousin.
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  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Biehl Mandolin advise please

    Tracey:

    Tony Biehl was a mandolin maker from Davenport, Iowa, circa 1894-1904. Here's probably the most information you can find on this maker at this link from 2009: Rare Biehl Guitars were made here in Davenport .

    Here are some quotes from the article that might be of relevance to your question:
    Anthony Biehlís operation was small, short-lived and very few examples of his work have survived to help write his legacy. The rarity of his instruments is not in question, but the lack of a following will limit their value.
    Interestingly enough, I talked to one expert in guitar construction who has considerable doubt whether Anthony Biehl ever made any of these guitars at all. The body construction of his guitars strongly resembles those made by Lyon & Healy of Chicago. In fact, Lyon & Healy made larger models, too, typically for music stores and teachers in the Midwest (such as Anthony Biehl). Perhaps as a fine craftsman, Biehl took the raw product of Lyon & Healy and simply added the finishing touches to make them his own. But whether he made them from scratch or not, any inscribed with his name are rare, and the scope of Biehlís involvement in manufacturing instruments may forever remain a mystery.
    Your mandolin looks like it is in decent condition. However, bear in mind that it is rare for these old bowlbacks of any US maker to be worth large sums of money unless they were very ornate and by some of the more prominent makers. I don't know if you want to sell or not or just are interested in the market value, but I would not count on paying college tuition from selling this one. The majority of mandolin players are not interested in this style of mandolin. There are some folks here (myself included) who do like them but we are in the minority.

    If you would like to post a few more photos I am sure that myself and others here would be interested.

    I hope that helps.
    Jim

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  4. #3
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Biehl Mandolin advise please

    When I was researching mandolin info for The Mandolin, I found a couple of dedicated Beihl collectors in Davenport who had tracked his career through the local newspapers and city records who sent me a number of photocopies with information. There is no evidence that he actually made instruments himself, but he was advertising instruments in the first issue of The Cadenza in 1894 and by 1896 was employing three cabinet makers, presumably to make mandolins and guitars. He also had a music publishing business, performed and taught music in the Davenport area. He was bankrupted in 1904, owing $1200 and left Davenport with his family (who were also a band) to tour on the Vaudeville circuit until he died in 1929, though the band kept performing for several more years. The article that Jim linked to is a bit out on the dates, I suspect.

    Cheers

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  6. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Biehl Mandolin advise please

    Thanks, Graham. I have seen at least one mandolinetto with a Biehl label. I have to check my files.
    Jim

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    Playing lately:
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  7. #5

    Default Re: Biehl Mandolin advise please

    This is all really interesting. I live about an hour northwest of Davenport. There are a couple of cafe members who live in the Davenport area. The biggest musical claim to fame of that area is that it was the home of cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, quite prominent in 1920s jazz whose career was cut short at the age of 28.

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