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Thread: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

  1. #1

    Question Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    Once again I have found myself in a conundrum. I have inherited a few instruments and know nothing but what I have been able to research on the internet and from friends and family.
    I have a Gibson Mandolin style A4 and do know a few things about it. Of course I am interested in selling them only because no one left in the family is musically inclined even just to pick them up and try.
    I will add a couple pictures just looking to get some insight on price ranges.

    Thank You ahead of time for any info given...

    Lizabeth
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  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    Look inside the sound hole. There should be a stamped number inside on the neck block. That is the FON. There should also be a serial number on the label if there is one although sometimes they get obliterated. Take some photos of any cracks, chips or other age or use related problems. Also a few good photos from the side to see how the neck angle is. My guess is that it was made in the teens of the last century. The numbers will tell us what year.

    In the meantime you can check on reverb.com and see what these sell for retail. You may also prefer to consign it and other instruments with a reliable vintage instrument dealer. Less money but much less hassle.
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  4. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    The inlaid Handel tuners suggest pre-1918, and the lack of a fingerboard extension pre-1912. The serial number and factory order number will give a more exact date.
    Allen Hopkins
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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    Hello Lizabeth. If I recall correctly, you and I exchanged some correspondence through another forum about your instruments some time back.

    If I remember the mandolin correctly, it was in reasonably good shape and at least mostly original condition. Generally, black A-4's in good original condition are listed between 2 and 3 thousand dollars, depending on the amount of wear and tear and who is selling it. To help narrow down its market value, it will be helpful if you can post a clear shot of the back of the instrument, the back of the peghead, and the case.

    You can post it in the Mandolin Cafe classifieds, or consign it with a reputable vintage instrument dealer. If I can be of further assistance to you, feel free to pm me.

  6. #5
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    hopefully it'll sell and the buyer will keep it intact. I just know the tuners are worth over $500 bucks alone, the case likely $200 bucks and the tailpiece another $200 bucks. That's $1,100 bucks before you even think about the structural integrity or the sound! Seems a $3k mandolin if you ask me?

    Not buying, but think it really cool!

    f-d
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  8. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    I really think that most of these Gibsons if they are in good shape will not be parted out unless someone gets it for seriously low money. There is a black A-4 from 1911 on reverb now priced at $1850. I can’t seem to get the link to work on my phone.
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  9. #7

    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    Your probably right about talking to you. I chatted with so many people on the internet and still have these instruments. If you recall I am in northern Maine. It's hard for me to get anywhere to get these instruments sold. I just keep checking the humidity to keep them the best condition as when they were given to me. The closest vintage place was near Boston and that's 8-9 hours away. I really just want to put them up on eBay and see how it goes. I really would not want another winter with them...

    Lizabeth
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  10. #8

    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    serial number 10489

  11. #9

    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    So maybe my problem is I just need some help as to how to write up instruments for sale, since I know nothing about them, only what others have viewed of my pictures...

  12. #10
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    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    You might put them for sale on the classifieds here. Much safer than ebay and most folk know what the instruments are. You don't need a "flashy" description, just describe what you have with a picture.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  14. #11

    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    I'll get started on that write-up...Thank You

  15. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    I agree with pops. The classified ads here are safest and you have a community of people who are interested in mandolins. In addition, Scott and his staff are very vigilant in making this a safe space to buy and sell and only asks for a small percentage of the sale price for this service. Of course if you are selling this yourself you will need to pack and ship and correspond with potential buyers.
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  16. #13
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    Yes here at the classifieds is the best place as evilbay and reverb charge state sales taxes as do dealers now! I've bought and sold and trade here on a regular basis and just make a donation to the site to help out the Café so Scott can keep it going! Your A-4 is very nice and should sell with a reasonable price? What others are you posting for sale? Some of us Mando nuts drool over certain instruments-heck I do-LoL!!


    Dealers also get a big cut of your $, that's why I bypass selling anything with dealers as they usually if they buy outright don't pay much at all! And if you consign, it may take awhile for a sale as their prices are usually pretty high in most cases that I've found.
    Last edited by William Smith; Aug-04-2020 at 12:13pm.

  17. #14
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    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    Your description should include the following information:

    Gibson A-4 mandolin made in 1910
    Original black top finish
    Includes the original bridge, pickguard, tailpiece, and Handel inlaid tuners
    Also, mention any visible cracks in the instrument [if any]. If not, state that the instrument is crack-free.

    Also be sure to mention what kind of case it has. Is it original or modern?

    I'll also mention that an alternative to selling the instruments privately is to go ahead and call The Music Emporium with a complete list of your instruments, and see if they are willing to send someone to meet you either at your home or somewhere within a more reasonable driving distance. The phone call is cheap, and someone on their staff might be happy for an excuse to fill their belly with some really good fired clams and pick up some Maine blueberry jam.

  18. #15
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    The phone call is cheap, and someone on their staff might be happy for an excuse to fill their belly with some really good fired clams and pick up some Maine blueberry jam.
    What? No lobster rolls?
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  19. #16
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    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    But lobster rolls are easy to find all over New England.

    Fresh whole fried clams can only be found within an hour or two of the coast, are only done right in a handful of places, and are much more rare and more of an art then fried green tomatoes made right. The sorry fried clams available everywhere else [including New England's cities] bear no relationship to the real thing.

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  21. #17
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    But lobster rolls are easy to find all over New England...
    Yeah, I once bought a lobster roll at a McDonald's near Plymouth MA; unimpressive.

    I do concur that a call to Music Emporium, or another regional dealer that routinely handles quality used/vintage instruments, might well elicit an offer to either purchase or consign the entire collection. Sounds like you have a "critical mass" of attractive instruments that might well lead a reputable dealer to handle the sale without your having to list each individually, respond to potential buyers, and ship each instrument.

    I know that John Bernunzio here in Rochester NY often negotiates for purchase of entire collections. Without knowing what your collection looks like, if the A-4 is any indication of the collection's quality, you would probably awaken some interest.

    Not that I'm advising against using Cafe´classified ads; just saying that, if you have several items, it might be less work for you to deal with one buyer for all of them. Down-side, of course, is that you'd be selling them at wholesale, rather than retail, prices.
    Allen Hopkins
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  22. #18
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    I was thinking that most dealers would opt for offering a consignment arrangement rather than buying outright unless it was a collection of significant instruments or some that conform to their customer want list. I don’t know if the OP’s collection is so significant although the A-4 looks very nice there are certainly many similar mandolins out there for sale.

    Also the OP says she inherited a few instruments. It doesn’t sound like a significant collection.
    Jim

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  24. #19
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson Mandolin Style A4

    8 months ago you could have done a lot better.

    Plenty of people are advertising prime prices right now, but.... with 30 million middle class folks out of work, and the whole country going to #@!% right now, you are realistically looking at more like $1200-1500 as a selling price. Listing it here is is a great idea- free, plenty of good folks, and you'll play less headgames. Do have the original form fit hard case? That will help the sale.

    'Very cool old mandolin; wish I could inherit one of those....

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