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Thread: Identification of two mandolins (no markings)

  1. #1

    Default Identification of two mandolins (no markings)

    A friend gave me two mandolins but neither has marking for identification. Any information would be appreciated. <Removed by Moderator. Please limit commerce to the Classifieds and familiarize yourself with the Posting Guidelines. Thanks.> I can post more photos if it will help.

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    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Oct-27-2020 at 8:14am. Reason: Posting Guidelines

  2. #2

    Default Re: Identification of two mandolins (no markings)

    The top one is most likely a Stradolin, no idea about the other one.

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Identification of two mandolins (no markings)

    I have a slightly better version of the bottom one- it has an engraved two part tailpiece. Mine is all mahogany and I think it was made by the successor company to Oscar Schmidt before the brands of Stella and Sovereign were sold to Harmony and it is reckoned that what was left formed the basis of United Guitars of New Jersey. It is a very bright instrument. I think that the other mandolin is most likely a Strad-O-Lin as already mentioned but a few more photos of both would help. I will post up a thread on an unidentified mandolin that was made by United and there is a photo of mine- branded as a Santacilla nine posts down. Its faux finish hides the mahogany but wear on the top shows the wood. I have a feeling yours may be made from different wood- at least the top probably is- but the shape and the ebonized fingerboard look the same. There is one on eBay like yours- for sale as a Harmony or Kay!
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...anded-Mandolin

    Here is that mandolin on eBay which has a lot in common with yours but I'm not sure if it is the same but it is from United, I am sure.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/unbranded-U...AAAOSwtllfka3c

  4. #4
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Identification of two mandolins (no markings)

    The segmented f-holes look a bit odd for a supposed Stradolin. Usually the holes have either circular or comma-shape, with a more extreme point. The ones in the photo look more rounded.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Identification of two mandolins (no markings)

    Yes, I've taken a closer look at it and the headstock shape suggests it to be a late 40s Kay- I have one just like it in general terms- the body and neck/headstock. As I mentioned, we need a few more photos. Here's my late 40s Kay which had the model number 66 &1/2!

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  6. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Identification of two mandolins (no markings)

    The top one with the F holes is indeed a Kay. That was their headstock shape. They used that headstock shape into the 50's. The bottom looks like a United.

    Post a picture of the back of the headstock on both. That can help date these.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Identification of two mandolins (no markings)

    The Kay mandolin looks like it may be one of the spiffed up versions that were sold by other makers such as the Rex Playboy brand which was sold by Gretsch- the transparent pickguard is such a flourish not seen on many humbler versions. Seeing the tuners might help date it- the model was first made in 1939 and as mentioned ran until the early 50s with that headstock shape.

  8. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Identification of two mandolins (no markings)

    There was a much more deluxe version of the Kay sold recently on eBay. No segmented F holes and real binding.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Identification of two mandolins (no markings)

    I have a 1941 Silvertone Crest archtop made by Kay that has a bigger version of that pickguard, which is translucent and has that chequered edge. I wonder if that mandolin was made at the same time?

    The seller wanted some info on value. The United mandolin I posted up has a starting bid of $75- no bids yet. There was a Kay mandolin in pretty good order- probably a rung down the ladder from the one posted here and it was for sale for months and the price went down and down. It appears to have sold for $90. I would imagine this mandolin is worth more but I saw another very like it in perfect condition sold as a Rex Playboy with a very nice vintage Geib hard case and it only made $140. Here is that recent Kay for sale- the soft Geib case has some water damage.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Kay...p2047675.l2557

  10. #10
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Identification of two mandolins (no markings)

    The other question would be about the neck joint on the Kay. Is it still solid?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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