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Thread: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    I am helping my mom go through my fatherís instrument collection and we came across this mandolin. I am not a music guy so I have no clue about any of this and was hoping for a little help. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Someone will be along shortly who knows a lot more than I do. I can tell you it is a valuable mandolin Model A "snakehead" possibly from the 1920's and it looks very clean. There should be a factory order number (FON) stamped inside where the neck is attached to the body. The production date can be figured out from the FON.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Take some photos of the back of the headstock and the body and shots that show the whole of the front and also the sides. It appears to be a natural finish instrument- possibly a rare A2Z from about 1923. Does it have a case, as well? There should be a number written in pencil on the label but the style of the instrument narrows it down to a few years in the early to mid 1920s and its model/style designation "A2Z" should also be there as well. It looks great and appears to be in very good original condition with all its original features although more photos would help in this assessment, as we cannot see the tuners but I assume they will be original- probably "arrowhead" style. I have looked online and found this example: https://www.elderly.com/collections/...cts/gibson-a2z
    Last edited by NickR; Oct-31-2020 at 5:07pm.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    The number near the neck is 11934, and the number on the label is 76013Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    The number makes it 1924 and the tuners are "arrowhead" and that's the original case. It appears to be a fine example- one of your photos suggests that the strings are at a reasonable height suggesting that all is well with the "action" but shots taken in specific positions would help to demonstrate this is for certain. However, on the surface, all looks to be very good. Did you see the model type on the label to confirm it is an A2Z? Having a look for any cracks, distortion of the top and warping or bending of the neck to be sure about the condition needs to be done but it appears to be pretty good. Being handled by someone with the requisite knowledge could confirm that all is well, one would hope.

  6. #6
    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Cool instrument.
    Gotta love a snakehead.
    Mandolins: Northfield 5-Bar Artist Model "Old Dog", J Bovier F5 Special, Gibson A-00 (1940)
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    The style is hard to read, but looks like A27. Iím assuming the 7 is actually a Z. If you need additional pictures please let me know and I can take more. Thank you for all of the information, now I need to find a banjo, and fiddle forum that are as helpful as this one.

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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    It would also help date it if you could post the “Factory Order Number” which you should find stamped inside where the neck meets the body. If it does need attention, don’t let just “anyone” mess around with it. The A2Z is one of the most desirable and consequently valuable oval-holed Gibson mandolins of that period.

  9. #9
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    It would also help date it if you could post the “Factory Order Number” which you should find stamped inside where the neck meets the body. If it does need attention, don’t let just “anyone” mess around with it. The A2Z is one of the most desirable and consequently valuable oval-holed Gibson mandolins of that period.
    It's 11934
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Your mandolin is an A-2Z, built in 1923 and shipped in 1924.

    As far as I can tell from the pictures, the instrument is in excellent original condition, with all of its original parts and the original case.

    If the back of the instrument is in as nice condition as the front, and the finish is indeed all original [which would have to be confirmed by an in-hand inspection by someone who knows antique Gibson mandolins well], the instrument would be worth in excess of $5000 at a major vintage dealer's shop.

    Some reputable dealers who routinely consign instruments of this type are Gruhn Guitars in Nashville TN, Fred Oster's Vintage Instruments in Philadelphia, PA, and Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto, CA. If none of them are within driving distance of you, you can pm me and I'll give you the names of others who may be within a reasonable distance.

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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by John Rosett View Post
    It's 11934
    Sorry, I realise you’ve already posted this info. rrc56 has translated this into building/shipping dates for you.

    It’s Likely to have been in the factory at the same time as my own which, although of the same dates, is a mere black topped A1. Interestingly, mine has the worm over tuners (you don’t need to know this) but others might be interested.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Thanks Tharbowski, inquiries about inherited instruments are common here but we don’t often see one that nice! Looks like your dad had good taste in instruments and took care of them too. If you’re wondering about the “snakehead” reference, that’s the peghead shape, where the tuner lnobs are, that gets narrower at the end—it’s not uncommon but is desirable for certain reasons we need not get into here, and increases the potential value considerably. Also, not incidentally, 1923-24 means it was produced during the fabled “Loar Era” at Gibson, look into Lloyd Loar if you want to learn more about what that signifies in mandolin mythology. (Hint: a lot)

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tharbowski View Post
    Thank you for all of the information, now I need to find a banjo, and fiddle forum that are as helpful as this one.
    Banjo Hangout is a good one and Banjo Collectors Gathering on Facebook.

    For violins, Fiddle Hangout may be of help but I don't know if it is quite as active as Mandolin Cafe. Maestronet might be a better site since it also includes violinists and might include folks overly more knowledgeable of all sorts of violins.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Thank you all for the great information. I will continue to research his instruments, but you all made this so much easier.

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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tharbowski View Post
    Thank you all for the great information. I will continue to research his instruments, but you all made this so much easier.
    Yeah buddy, a lot of guys love these so it would be an easy sale for you! What other goods do you have to post? enquiring minds want/need to know as yes we are all vintage mando geeks here at the TOP level! Even old guitars are a sweet passion for most of us! If he had a sweet A2-Z we must need more-more!!!

  16. #16

    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Here are a few more of his old collection. There was a Gibson Dove but he gave it to my sister prior to his passing. The fiddle is a real unknown, it says Lou S. Duda inside of it and made in what I believe is 1927. The guitar does seem to have a crack on the front of it. The banjo was his pride and joy that it is why he gussied it up.




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    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    Yeah buddy, a lot of guys love these so it would be an easy sale for you! What other goods do you have to post? enquiring minds want/need to know as yes we are all vintage mando geeks here at the TOP level! Even old guitars are a sweet passion for most of us! If he had a sweet A2-Z we must need more-more!!!

  17. #17
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    I looked up Louis Duda in a few of my violin books but also did a search and found that Louis Duda was a trumpet builder. My guess (and it is only a guess)from that one photo is that it is an imported violin probably from Germany and that Louis Duda might have had a music store or factory and sold these under his label, but possibly did not actually make that violin. It is probably a decent instrument but it also looks like the bridge is in the wrong place.

    What was/were your dad's main instrument(s)?
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    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Nice mando!

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    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Your Dad had very reasonable taste in the instruments he acquired! I've d be glad to do an in-hand inspection of the A2z mandolin or the later 1950s J50. Just send me a PM... can't tell anything about the violin or banjo, but I'm sure others here could.

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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Wenberg's Violin Makers of the United States does not list Duda as a maker. My hope for a score was dashed. It looks better than a violin made by a trumpet maker, though!

  21. #21
    Registered User slimt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    The J45 is not bad. A mid 60s guitar. The Mandolin is really cool. Thanks for sharing ..

  22. #22

    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Hey, see my thread here on a very similar topic!
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...60#post1319360

    Mine appears to be circa 1906 or so, but less-valuable a model as yours. Still in very nice shape though -- I'm working on loosening-up the tuners a bit and slapping some new strings on it.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    The width and depth of knowledge on the Cafe is simply impressive.

  24. #24
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    The violin is most likely lower end Markneukirchen area product of early 20th century sold in dozens to dealers all around the world. If it is servicable without need for repairs it may be worth $300-500. If you post it on maestronet/pegbox you'll probably get answers like "the usual". But sometimes good penambuco bows can accompany quite ordinary old violins and be worth more than the violin, but I'm not expert on bows.
    Adrian

  25. #25
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for information on a Gibson mandolin

    Hi OP!

    RIP to your Dad. Very cool A2Z! Glad you got the scoop from those that know. Don't know much about the others, but for guitars a bit. I bet that Gibson's a fine box; however.

    f-d
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