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Thread: Gibson mandolin serial numbers

  1. #1
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    Hi, this maybe one of those daft questions so please bear with me.I own ( for the last hour) a Gibson `Pumpkin top`(?) Mandolin that is it seems quite old.It has a barely readable pencilled label inside it,but I think it reads 37693. I can make out the model `a` but not what it says after Gibson.
    The label also says at the top

    Patented Feb 1, `98
    # #" # # #March 30,`06
    Other patents pending

    This was brought in the USA from Gruhn Gituars,Nashville TN.

    Is there anyway of identifying it precisly to the year?

    Any help greatly appreicated.

    Keith

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    You could search the Mandolin Archive by similar serial numbers (sequential). Probably a 1917 model based on the ones returned in the search for yours. I saw in the archive s/n 37354 - 37816 all were 1917.

    Jamie
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    S.P. Fjestad's Gibson Serialization from the Blue Book of Electric Guitars (linked to Gibson's website) gives the sequence for 1916 as 32000 to 39500 for all instruments, in an initial sequence starting at 100 and running to 9999 for the period 1902-1947.

    He also states "all numbers are approximate." So, for what it's worth...
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    Gibson numbers are approximate because there is several overlaps in years decades apart. That is why you must go by physical looks of the mandolin and how it relates to catalog descriptions over the decades. While most people don't have access to this catalog details many in the vintage do. When it doubt post a photo with serial number information here and you'll get a pretty exact date. The archives is also a good place to fish for information if you know what lake to fish in!

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    Many thanks to you all...I will try and resize the photogrpah I have.I`m very lucky to have this Mandolin.It has with it the origianl case and pick guard.
    Kind regards,
    Keith

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    The "patent pending" years mean nothing. Go to http://www.provide.net/~cfh/gibson.html and you'll find lots of useful info and a list of serial numbers. If you ever forget it (I do), just go to Google and type in Gibson mandolin serial numbers. It will pop right up.

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    Mine is 33XXX ... bought it new.

    Curt

  8. #8

    Default Re: Gibson mandolin serial numbers

    I have a Gibson Mandolin A-Jr. in original case. Sheraton Brown, finish is fair but original. Instrument structure is in great shape and plays well as is. Serial # 70054 and Stock # 11648. Pick Guard pat date is MAR 30 / 04 and Pick Guard clasp pat date is July 4, 1911. I think it is a 1922 model as the closet ser # I can find is 70049 and the pictures are identical. Any info and estimate price would be much appreciated?

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    Default Re: Gibson mandolin serial numbers

    Just what I was going to say, you should "Endeavour" (sorry UK joke) to read the, so called, Factory Order Number which, as Eddie says, should be stamped on the neck block. This will enable me/someone else to tell you the year the mandolin was built. The serial number will suggest when it was shipped from the factory. If you can't read the pencilled number try different types of strong light - in some you can see it in some you can't.

    Bear in mind that its not a precise science. I've an A1 where the FON suggests '23, the s/n '24 and the tuners '25.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Gibson mandolin serial numbers

    Here is a summary of the differences in the various models:

    Models and Descriptions



    L-R: A, A2Z, A3, F4

    Ajr

    Plain model, with no binding or inlay decoration at all, brown finish. Plain tailpiece cover. Shaped hardshell or canvas case. Can have the "snakehead" peghead (see below)

    A or A0
    Brown or black finish, binding only on face and in soundhole. One ring of purfling around the soundhole. Pickguard that is pinned into the fingerboard and bridge, clamped to the side of the instrument. Pearl dots on fingerboard. Dark stained birch (not the best "wavy" or "curly" cut) back and sides. "The Gibson" stamped on tailpiece cover. Shaped hardshell case. More detail on this model.

    A1
    Similar to A0, has some features (double purfling on soundhole) of an A2. "The Gibson" stamped on tailpiece cover, inlaid in headstock.

    A2 or A2Z

    Brown, black, or blonde finish all possible. Binding on front, back, soundhole, fingerboard; "The Gibson" inlaid into the headstock, closer grained (most of the time!) spruce top then a model A0; pickguard that is pinned into the fingerboard, bridge, and clamps to the sides of the instrument. Double ring of purfling around the soundhole. Pearl dots on the fingerboard. Dark stained birch back sides (still not usually a "Wavy" or "curly" cut). "The Gibson" stamped on tailpiece cover. Headpiece veneered in black on the front. Black inlay along the "keel" in the back of the neck.

    A2-Z
    Similar to A2, but with snakehead peghead, blonde finish, b/w binding, and (usually) A2-z on the label. Made in the Loar period (1924-25). More detail on A2 or A2-Z mandolins.

    A3
    Nearly identical to an A2, but with an orange top in the teens, and a refrigerator-White top in the late teens, early twenties. A squiggle inlay in the headstock under "The Gibson". Bound on top, back, sides, around the fingerboard. The binding on the top is black then white. These are somewhat rare. Wood quality improving (tighter grain, more "nice looking" features). Bitch sides and back stained red. Bound fingerboard, no extension "The Gibson" stamped in tailpiece cover. Headstock with black wood veneer top. Black inlay along the "keel" in the back of the neck. Shaped hardshell case with red lining most of the time. More detail on the A3 model mandolin.

    A4
    The top of the line. Red, black, or red sunburst finish (red in the middle fading to black or brown at the sides), fleur-de-lis under "The Gibson"; Handel inlaid tuner buttons prior to 1916 (WWI) (a dotted "+" in each button). Thick white ring between the double purfling around the soundhole. Can have "Snakehead peghead" (see below). Shaped fingerboard extension. Black veneered headstock, front back. Black inlay along the "keel" in the back of the neck. Shaped hardshell case with green or red silk lining most common.
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  11. #11
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson mandolin serial numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    S.P. Fjestad's Gibson Serialization from the Blue Book of Electric Guitars (linked to Gibson's website) gives the sequence for 1916 as 32000 to 39500 for all instruments, in an initial sequence starting at 100 and running to 9999 for the period 1902-1947.
    The provide.net site lists the last serial numbers for the year. According to their method 32000 is the last number for 1916, not the first, and 39500 is the last number for 1917. Guitar Attic has it this way as well. This would put the OP's mandolin as a 1917, same as mine, SN 37492.

    The link I have for provide.net now goes to http://www.guitarhq.com/gibson8.html FWIW. There they have a list of all models and the years changes in each model were made. I understand these aren't 100% accurate, but I believe this will get you close.
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    Default Re: Gibson mandolin serial numbers

    Agree 100% with JB above. My F-4 is s/n 26563 and FON 2742, right in 1916 according to Spann's I believe.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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    Default Re: Gibson mandolin serial numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueMountain View Post
    The "patent pending" years mean nothing. Go to http://www.provide.net/~cfh/gibson.html and you'll find lots of useful info and a list of serial numbers. If you ever forget it (I do), just go to Google and type in Gibson mandolin serial numbers. It will pop right up.
    I beg to differ. "Patent Pending" instruments are very interesting. For c1908 instruments with elevated pickguards, Gibson only stamped them patent pending for a little over a year, until the patent was awarded to L.A. Williams 3/30/1909. Patent pending adjustable bridges appear in 1921 when the patent was applied for, but it took nearly 2 years until TJ McHugh was awarded the patent.
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    Registered User Joe Spann's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gibson mandolin serial numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by Pug502@att.net View Post
    I have a Gibson Mandolin A-Jr. in original case. Sheraton Brown, finish is fair but original. Instrument structure is in great shape and plays well as is. Serial # 70054 and Stock # 11648. Pick Guard pat date is MAR 30 / 04 and Pick Guard clasp pat date is July 4, 1911. I think it is a 1922 model as the closet ser # I can find is 70049 and the pictures are identical. Any info and estimate price would be much appreciated?

    I would say that this A-Jr. mandolin was built in March of 1922 and shipped in May of 1922.

    Joe Spann

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    Default Re: Gibson mandolin serial numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by InspectorMorse View Post
    Hi, this maybe one of those daft questions so please bear with me.I own ( for the last hour) a Gibson `Pumpkin top`(?) Mandolin that is it seems quite old.It has a barely readable pencilled label inside it,but I think it reads 37693. I can make out the model `a` but not what it says after Gibson.
    The label also says at the top

    Patented Feb 1, `98
    # #" # # #March 30,`06
    Other patents pending

    This was brought in the USA from Gruhn Gituars,Nashville TN.

    Is there anyway of identifying it precisly to the year?

    Any help greatly appreicated.

    Keith
    I would say this A model mandolin was shipped in January of 1917.

    Joe Spann

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