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Thread: Vinaccia Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Vinaccia Mandolin

    I would greatly appreciate the expertise of this board regarding a mandolin that belongs to my mother-in-law. She is looking to sell the instrument - and I don't even know where to start.

    It is dated 1898, and the label is a little confusing. I can't figure out if it is truly a Vinaccia, or if it was done by a student of Vinaccia.

    Any input or advice is welcome. Thanks so much.

    http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...AbuXLFuzZNmLoo

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Vinaccia Mandolin

    "Fratelli" (Brothers) Vinaccia is one of a number of Vinaccia family luthiery shops from the period 1890-1920. This would make it a "real" Vinaccia. The date is most likely legitimate, junding from such things as the 4-pin tailpiece. Condition looks to be very good indeed. Without having it strung up in hand it's hard to judge the condition of the neck joint, which is the Achilles' heel of bowlbacks. The fingerboard and frets can also be a problem area, though not so tough a repair as the neck block. (If you do string it up, be sure to use only extra-light gauge strings; modern mandolin strings made for Gibson-style instruments will destroy the instrument in short order).

    I'm personally fond of maple bowls, though the rosewood instruments probably cost more when new. This is a midlevel instrument, judging from the rib count and tuners etc. That is a good thing in my book, as you get reasonable quality in materials and construction without the headache of fancy inlay.

    If the neck and frets/fingerboard are in good shape, this looks to be a real find. The present market is perhaps not the best time to sell, but quality will always do pretty well. If you wait until people have money again you could doubtless do even better. At any rate, you ought to have it looked at by someone who knows what they're doing, not necessarily your neighborhood music store (though I don't know where your neighborhood might be). Ebay is a reasonable marketplace for such things, as it would get worldwide exposure. The big market for fine old bowlbacks is typically Europe and Japan, though I could be tempted if I had any money, and there are several dozen people who look at this board who would like to have a nice Vinaccia. ANd this looks to be a nice Vinaccia.

    I haven't seen one with the little inlay in the pickguard before - kinda cute. I like the mother of pearl pins and the engraved plate at the tailpiece too; those typically got lost around 1940.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Vinaccia Mandolin

    Thank you for your response.

    You suggest having someone who knows what they are doing look at it - Do you happen to know how to find someone like that?

    I'm leary of sticking it on eBay without knowing it's true value. Of course, value isn't necessarily what it's worth - but what someone is willing to pay, but I would like to get a baseline figure.

  4. #4
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vinaccia Mandolin

    That's a really nice one! If you're planning on selling it anyway, then I would recommend selling as-is, rather than having it restored yourself. The buyer is likely to know much more about mandolins than you and will have his own preferences for restoration.

    Ebay is a decent option for selling, but as Bob said, most of the collectors for this sort of mandolin are in Europe or Japan, so make sure you are prepared to ship overseas and have looked into the cost and procedure for shipping and customs declaration before putting it on Ebay.

    Price-wise, it's harder to sell high-dollar items now than it was a year ago, but as a very rough estimate I would think you should expect around $1300 to $1700. Put in on Ebay with a starting bid of $1200 and hang on to it if it doesn't make that starting bid. Make sure you have loads of high-resolution photographs, and be prepared to send further photos on request if interested parties want to see any particular angle or detail.

    Martin

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vinaccia Mandolin

    I would think you would have better luck selling it on the cafe classifieds, where you have a higher percentage of mando-knowledgeable folks looking at it.

    Its a real beauty.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Vinaccia Mandolin

    By way of comparison, several years ago I bought a similar-level (Giuseppe) Vinaccia from ebay for abouut $500. It required about $600 in restoration costs. In today's market I would consider it a bargain as-is for 900-1000; if the condition was such as to not require restoration it would be a wonderful buy.

    As to whom you might find to look at it, that depends on where you are. NYC would be best. There are many dealers in vintage fretted instruments, and many, but not all, of them could give you an idea of the problems the instrument has, if any. Certainly several of the folks who post here could do the same. You might want to consider revealing your location, at least within 50 miles or so.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Vinaccia Mandolin

    Sorry, I hadn't intended to be cryptic. I'm located in Tulsa, OK. A world away from NYC!

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    Default Re: Vinaccia Mandolin

    A world away, indeed.

    Just read my last post and find it ambiguous. I should have separated my comment about my own Vinaccia and my estimation of a "bargain" as applying to yours. There doesn't seem to be an "edit" button, alas.

    Anyone around here from OK?

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