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Thread: No manufacturer or serial number

  1. #1

    Default No manufacturer or serial number

    The mandolin belonged to my friends great grandmother. Wondering if we could find out where it came from and how old it is.
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    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Sep-21-2020 at 9:36pm.

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: No manufacturer or serial number

    It was built in Chicago, most likely by Regal (although Harmony made a similar model) circa the 1920's. It was built "For the trade" with no label so that a retailer, distributor, teacher, school whatever could sell it as their own. I have a similar mandolin that was owned by my uncle.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #3

    Default Re: No manufacturer or serial number

    It may once have had a Supertone label inside- a Sears, Roebuck sold instrument. If it was a Supertone then it would have been a Harmony made mandolin. This was the entry level flat back mandolin style from Supertone- top right in this ad:
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  4. #4
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: No manufacturer or serial number

    I'm pretty sure it could have been a Harmony even if it never had a Supertone label that fell out and left no residue.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  5. #5

    Default Re: No manufacturer or serial number

    Yes, I am sure you are right about Harmony- even if it never was sold as a Supertone. Harmony mandolins like this somehow just appear to be a bit more chunky than their Regal counterparts at this time. Of course, in the early 1930s, Harmony changed to a new headstock shape that was not the same as the Regal shape- as it is on this mandolin. Once that had happened, it is not an issue to decide which of the two that the maker might be.

  6. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: No manufacturer or serial number

    What I was looking for with this was a neck with that pronounced V on a labeled mandolin. I couldn't find one. The Harmony transition era from bowlback to these didn't have it either. I couldn't find it on a Regal either. That should be the item that ID's the manufacturer. The Harmony's I found didn't have the extra little flare in on the headstock either but some of the Regal's did, thus my ID as probably Regal (although a similar mandolin was made by Harmony). It's always a judgement call on these when they are early.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. #7

    Default Re: No manufacturer or serial number

    This Supertone was made before about 1926- it has the original white label- the first Supertone label style. The seller reckons it is Oscar Schmidt but I think it must be a Harmony made mandolin.

    https://reverb.com/item/10948190-osc...a-style-1930-s

  8. #8
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: No manufacturer or serial number

    I have this page from a 1935 Grossman catalog. I believe that the "Buckeye" was made by Harmony.

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    Jim

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  9. #9
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: No manufacturer or serial number

    I'm not so sure about that. There are at least three other manufacturers on that page and I'm not sure Harmony is among them. I suspect but obviously cannot prove that the indented headstock shape on this mandolin and the one in the catalog may be a carry over from the L&H days to Regal. You've got a Kay there, a Strad-O-Lin genre mandolin and what appears to be a straight out Regal in the bottom left hand corner. I wish they showed the back of that mandolin on the page.

    My mistake, at least two straight out Regal mandolins on the page.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  10. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: No manufacturer or serial number

    I am not sure but I believe I got that image from the NAMM library and they may have marked it Harmony. I know there are others on that page—that is why I posted the whole page—but that doesn't mean much. We know it isn't a Strad-O-Lin.
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Sep-22-2020 at 12:44pm.
    Jim

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  11. #11

    Default Re: No manufacturer or serial number

    The Buckeye "Leader" appears to have the new shape Harmony headstock adopted in the early 30s. The Buckeye "Special" also has that headstock shape.

  12. #12
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: No manufacturer or serial number

    Found the headstock shape on a Harmony built instrument. Still can't find the neck or heel shape.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  13. #13

    Default Re: No manufacturer or serial number

    Yes, that's interesting. That Reverb mandolin that the seller has down as an OS I posted has a different heel but more like the original posting's mandolin here has but not the same. The heel, however, does not look like an OS heel. I have seen the heel shape of the mandolin in question on other "mystery" mandolins that have been posted here- it is smaller than the typical size of the Chicago instruments one generally sees. I think this mandolin below is a Harmony instrument. The pickguard intruding on to the left hand side of the top and those tuners were used by Harmony in the late 20s early 30s are why I don't think it is Regal made.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Wonderful...orig_cvip=true

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