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Thread: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist

  1. #1
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    Default Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist

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    After looking for several years I finally found a very nice Gibson DY in decent shape and had to add it to my collection. It occurs to me that because these were bargain basement instruments that most were probably not well cared for. Many were probably smashed or tossed away when they broke. To find one crack free with all original hardware, pickguard and finish was a special treat!

    Of course it does not sound like a Loar F5 or even a Derrington Distressed MM but the sound is loud and pleasing.

    I would be interested to hear from owners of surviving instruments to get an idea of how many remain. None are represented in the Mandolin Archive.

    Here are the FON's I have learned about so far. I do not believe there are serialized.

    11191 (Friend's)
    11323 (Joe Spann's book)
    11346 (Mark Lynch)


    If you respond please include your batch number and indicate the condition. If you wish to be anonymous you can email me directly at markelynch@earthlink.net

    Attached is a picture of 11346.

    Thank for your input!

    Mark
    Mark Lynch

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist?

    Just curios how these compare to the Gibson Alrite flattop mandolins? They seem to be much more common.

    Phil
    Last edited by goaty76; Apr-26-2014 at 10:20pm.

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist?

    Alrite was built only in 1917. The Army and Navy Model came out about that time, possibly in early 1918 and continued until about 1923. I do not have documentation to back this up, I am relying on memory from things I have read.

    The Alrite was fancier in appointment. It also had 2 tone bars which ran, one on each side of the soundhole from neckblock area to tailblock area. i do not know if they went full length or not, someone else may be able to comment on this. The Army- navy had one travers brace between the soundhole and the tailblock. I believe this was the only brace, but that may not be correct.

    My feeling is that Gibson brought the Army and Navy Model out to provide First World War American servicemen with an affordable and rugged instrument for field and shipboard use.

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist?

    Thanks for everyone's input so far.
    There are some excellent Caf threads on the Alrite mandolin. Not to dampen any enthusiasm however I had hoped to limit the discussion here to a DY headcount.

    A recent Ebay seller provided this information on his DY, maybe someone on the Caf bought it?
    FON 11203

    Gibson Army Navy Mandolin in good playing condition with case [Ebay#] 261454215407
    This is a simple flat top / flat back Army Navy Special mandolin made by the Gibson Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan from 1918 into the 1920's. The Army Navy Special mandolin was originally made during WWI to be sold in military PXs around the world. Its precursor, the Gibson Alrite mandolin, was made only during 1917. This mandolin has a repaired back crack (glued and cleted) and several very tight repaired top cracks. The finish appears to be original except for the spots where it has been repaired over cracks.

    The Archive has 140 listings for the AJr and none for the DY model.

    With this Ebay listing the DY count is up to four. Keep those "cards and letters" coming...
    Mark Lynch

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist?

    Thanks again for your submissions.
    I received this reply from a well known vintage instrument dealer, I did not receive permission to identify the dealer so it will be anonymous for now. The reply confirms my thinking that the lowly DY has not survived in great numbers.


    "Yes, it seems the Army navy Mandolins that have survived are few. Of the 45 years we have been in business, we have been tracking our inventory with a database 26 of them"

    Next I will see if they will share records of bach numbers. I appreciate your continued submission for this little project.

    Mark
    Mark Lynch

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist?

    What are the identifying characteristics of a DY over a regular Gibson Army Navy? Besides maybe the label?
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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    What are the identifying characteristics of a DY over a regular Gibson Army Navy? Besides maybe the label?
    I believe DY was the designation for the Army Navy mandolins while the guitars were labeled GY.

    Phil

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist?

    Pfox14 just posted a great ad from Cadenza for the DY and GY. You can see it here:

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...advertisements

    I appreciate all of you who have submitted info on your Army Navy instruments!

    Mark
    Last edited by MarkELynch; Sep-21-2014 at 3:24pm. Reason: Typos
    Mark Lynch

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist?

    A freind I lost touch with had one. His was in fine if somewhat dust condition as he did not play.

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist?

    Mark, I've just had a look at my Army Navy, the label say Style DY, but I can't see any factory number in there, there are a couple of faint markings on the label but nothing on the sides. Truth be told, other than an obvious numerical stamp I'm not really sure what I'm looking for, I'd love to know more about it though.

    Mine is in pretty good condition, no pickguard but I have the original case, I'm not sure if the bridge is original but the tuners are.
    1917 Gibson Army Navy
    1922 Gibson A Jr
    1925 Gibson Banjo Mandolin
    2012 Loar LM700

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist?

    Was there a pickguard on the Army- Navy?

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist?

    Yes, the pickguard was standard equipment apparently, it is a unique version and almost impossible to find as a spare part. See the picture in the first post, also, see item 161 in this link to the Gibson Service Handbook. Note that the DY side clamp was shared with the F2 and F4 because of the thinner body thickness, the A series clamp is listed under a different item number

    http://www.mandolinarchive.com/docum...al/page14.html

    Mark
    Mark Lynch

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist?

    Yeah, I should have looked at that photo.

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist?

    One of my friends has an Olive Drab green one, from its original purposing, sending it over-there,
    with the Soldiers/ Sailors.
    writing about music
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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist

    Hello.
    I found this thread by coincident while looking for info around these mandolins.
    The story is that a friends wife inherited a house, and during renovation of the house they found a locked mandoline case but no key. So they asked me if I was good at picking locks... Not realy, but I seldom says no to a challenge.
    I piced the lock and found the mandolin on the pictures inside (it is not the original case).
    With no knowledge of mandolins I started looking around the net to see if I could identify it, and found after a while that it is a Gibson Navy Army. Must be a early 20s since the saddle is marked with a patent no from june 1921.
    No one knows how it ended up here in Norway, Europe, and not when. Maybe they were still around in the navy during WWII, since this one is made after WWI?
    The condition is for the age really good. No damages/repairs, and no cracks or any issues. Only some wear on the fret board, and the label inside the sound hole is missing. The slide on string cover has probably got lost sometime and a new one has been made of some kind of sheet metal. I guess a original is impossible to find... Its got a nice patina, even on the strings, and all strings intact. I asked if they wanted to fix it up (I do some guitar works/luthiery) so it is playable (fret job and new strings), or if they just want to keep it like it is. Since noone of them plays mandolin (he plays bass guitar) they are talking about not touching anything and just keep the patina.

    One question I have is does anyone know how many were made of these?
    And is there any where to get info about what the value can be?

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    Cheers:
    Kevin

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Airbrusher View Post
    Hello.
    I found this thread by coincident while looking for info around these mandolins.
    The story is that a friends wife inherited a house, and during renovation of the house they found a locked mandoline case but no key. So they asked me if I was good at picking locks... Not realy, but I seldom says no to a challenge.
    I piced the lock and found the mandolin on the pictures inside (it is not the original case).
    With no knowledge of mandolins I started looking around the net to see if I could identify it, and found after a while that it is a Gibson Navy Army. Must be a early 20s since the saddle is marked with a patent no from june 1921.
    No one knows how it ended up here in Norway, Europe, and not when. Maybe they were still around in the navy during WWII, since this one is made after WWI?
    The condition is for the age really good. No damages/repairs, and no cracks or any issues. Only some wear on the fret board, and the label inside the sound hole is missing. The slide on string cover has probably got lost sometime and a new one has been made of some kind of sheet metal. I guess a original is impossible to find... Its got a nice patina, even on the strings, and all strings intact. I asked if they wanted to fix it up (I do some guitar works/luthiery) so it is playable (fret job and new strings), or if they just want to keep it like it is. Since noone of them plays mandolin (he plays bass guitar) they are talking about not touching anything and just keep the patina.

    One question I have is does anyone know how many were made of these?
    And is there any where to get info about what the value can be?

    Click image for larger version. 

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Views:	57 
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ID:	205828
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    Cheers:
    Kevin
    The slide on string cover would most likely be the tailpiece cover and they are available if you know where to look. Look inside at the neck block through the sound hole. Is there a number stamped there?
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist

    By the way, if you buy a replacement bridge today it might have that same patent date on it.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

  18. #18

    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist

    Thanx for the quick reply.
    The number on the neck block is a bit hard to read. The 3 last digits are 207 but Im not able to clearly read the two first (the first one is probably 1) can be 16, 15 or 13. Maybe 19 as well.

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist

    Years ago a friend had one with a large anchor carved on the back, along with date and if I recall correctly a ship name. Not done particularly well, but the history was very desirable to me.

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    Default Re: Gibson DY Army and Navy Mandolin--How many still exist

    Sorry for the late reply, I had to get to where my books were. Joe Spann's book "Spann's Guide to Gibson 1902-1941" contains lists of Factory Order Numbers (FON). That's what that number on the neck block is. It's generally a better way to determine the manufacturing date. The list unfortunately is not complete but it can get us a little closer. The Army and Navy Special Style DY was available from 1918-1922. If we assume the bridge is original then you'd have to assume it was shipped in the last two years of that run. The FON was probably 11207. 11205 was a 1918 FON for a different model according to Spann. I do see DY's being manufactured later but they don't have a number anywhere near that FON. It's not unusual for Gibson to ship instruments that were built earlier and finished for shipping in later years. I'm assuming 1921 or 1922 and as far as how many were made, there were plenty but no exact numbers exist that I know of. These were made to be sold in the Army and Navy stores and I'm assuming after WW I that they were still being sold in that market and may have been sold outside the Government stores as well.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

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