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Thread: Help dating an Army Navy special

  1. #1

    Default Help dating an Army Navy special


    Recently came into possession of a nice old Gibson Army Navy special. Iím trying to date it - the label doesnít have a serial number at all, but there is a stamp on the neck block - but itís weird. It looks like the FON style of stamp, but the number is 11323, which is way too high for FON numbers. Looking at the Gibson archive, that number as a serial number would place it in 1910, but all the other instruments being made at the time right around it are A4ís and F4ís. That date is about right as I understand it though.

    Does anyone understand how these are numbered?

  2. #2
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    St. Paul, MN

    Default Re: Help dating an Army Navy special

    Per "Spann's Guide to Gibson 1902-1941" starting on page 69 they show FONs from 1917-1923.

    11323 is a known FON and shows for a DY (the Army Navy mandolin) and dates to 1920. Which means your mandolin is part of that batch.

    Hopefully this helps.

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  4. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Howell, NJ

    Default Re: Help dating an Army Navy special

    If you haven't got a copy of Joe Spann's book "Spann's Guide To Gibson 1902-1941" I highly recommend putting it on your list of things to buy. It is a treasure trove of information about dating Gibson instruments from the time period.

    Note: I even got an honorable mention in the comments on this book. I just saw that.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Help dating an Army Navy special

    Thanks! I’d heard of Spann’s but hadn’t seemed to need it until this one. Appreciate the help!

  6. #5

    Default Re: Help dating an Army Navy special

    Yes, buy a copy of Joe Spann's book. The amount of information contained is amazing and you can imagine the effort that went into compiling it and he deserves recognition by way of copy sales on top of the sheer value it gives one as a resource.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Help dating an Army Navy special

    Fair enough. I ordered one.

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