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Thread: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    I can read the A on the label and if I get the light just right I think it's a 1308 on the number line. Just wondering about the year and what value may be in this condition. The pic guard is not here I have 2 bridges. I got this from my mom who got it from her grandma. Any information is greatly appreciated.
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  2. #2

    Default Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    I can read the A on the label and if I get the light just right I think it's a 1308 on the number line. Just wondering about the year and what value may be in this condition. The pic guard is not here I have 2 bridges. I got this from my mom who got it from her grandma. Any information is greatly appreciated.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    It seems your photos are invalid for some reason.

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Heilp ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    My guess is a 1918 Sheridan Brown A1
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  8. #5

    Default Re: Heilp ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    Yes, Sheraton brown came in during 1918 and those tuners were used until about 1922. Also about that time and certainly by1923 and possibly before, Gibson began fitting the truss rod and introduced the "snake head" shape to the headstock for a while- yours has a "paddle head". The photos are a bit dark but what you have is approximately a 100 year old instrument. You ought to show the bridges- which can't both be original- indeed neither might be. Gibson introduced an adjustable bridge about the same time as those other innovations.

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  10. #6
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heilp ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    Serial number should be 5 digits. If you can see 1308, there is probably a 5 or a 6 before the 1. 51308 would indicate that the instrument was shipped in early 1919; 61308 points to mid-1920.

    If you look inside the instrument with a flashlight, you may be able to see the factory order number. It's usually stamped on the neck block.

    Even with no pickguard and a non-original bridge, this could be worth as much as $1,000 if you have it inspected and set up (probably worth a little less as is).
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  12. #7
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heilp ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    Same instrument is being discussed here:
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...94#post1830594
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  14. #8
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    Default Re: Heilp ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    That is a plain style A Gibson, built sometime between 1918 and 1922. This model was simply designated "A", with no number following the letter. The bridge with the small wheels may or may not be the original, the pictures are not clear enough to tell for sure. If there is a patent stamp on the bridge, it might be original; if there is no patent stamp, it is not.

    This was a plain model, and a common model. Many are still in existence. Depending upon the condition and originality of the finish, a well known dealer who specializes in antique instruments might list it for somewhere between $1000 and $1600 after executing any necessary work to make the instrument playable. If it were sold privately, it would probably bring 10% - 20% less.

    The pictures are a bit dark to tell for sure, but the condition appears to be quite good.

    An A-1, which was the next model up, would have a pearl "The Gibson" logo inlaid into the peg head during this period.
    Last edited by rcc56; Jul-16-2021 at 2:03pm.

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  16. #9
    Registered User Jean Andreasen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    I can see your photos just fine.

    Can you see if the FON (Factory Order Number) is still visible? That number would be found inside the body of the mandolin as you look towards the neck.

    That and the serial number will help you pinpoint the age.
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  18. #10
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    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    I think the serial number is one digit short - try looking at it in different lights. They were written in pencil so can be difficult to read. My guess is that the mandolin dates from around 1918. If you have a photo’ of the bridges, we should be able to tell you which is the original.
    Last edited by Ray(T); Jul-16-2021 at 4:48pm.

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  20. #11
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    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    That is a nice mandolin.
    There are several Gibson experts who will comment but here is a start. It is one of several "A" models. The "A" refers to the body shape. Different models had different details such as the shape of the headstock (part where the tuners are) kind of binding, tuners used etc. In addition to the serial number, Gibson used Factory Order Numbers (FON) which are often the best indicator of when the mandolin was made. The number is usually stamped on the inside where the neck meets the body, on the end of the neck. A flashlight and a mirror can help you read it.
    I look forward to seeing what the experts have to say.

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  22. #12
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    Default Re: Heilp ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    There are two posts on the same instrument. Maybe a moderator can combine them?

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  24. #13
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heilp ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    Merged.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  26. #14

    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Katcando68 View Post
    I can read the A on the label and if I get the light just right I think it's a 1308 on the number line. Just wondering about the year and what value may be in this condition. The pic guard is not here I have 2 bridges. I got this from my mom who got it from her grandma. Any information is greatly appreciated.
    Attachment 195170Attachment 195171[ATTACH=CONFIG]1951Attachment 19517272[/ATTACH]Attachment 195173
    Thank You to everyone who commented on my post and thank you to the moderator who merged the 2. I have taken more photos and I actually don't think the bridges are original. I don't know though. I have been unable to look inside but I will asap. Here are the most current photos. I hope that they are a little better.
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  27. #15
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    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    The new pictures helped. I can confirm that it is a plain Style A, built between 1918 and 1922. The finish appears to be original, the bridges are not.
    Most of the established vintage dealers would describe the condition as "excellent" or "excellent-minus."

  28. #16
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    Neither bridge has been slotted to accept the strings. The mandolin has most likely never been strung up with either bridge in place, and it's likely that neither bridge has been fitted to the top.

    Someone acquired these bridges with the intention of having the mandolin set up, but the work evidently didn't proceed.

    Does the mandolin still have the pickguard clamp attached to its side? It's a small metal contraption with a patent date stamp that says PAT. JULY 4, 1911.

    With the pickguard missing, the clamp, if it's all there and functional, is likely worth $100 to someone repairing a Gibson mandolin that still has a pickguard but is missing its original clamp.
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  29. #17

    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    No. I don't see the FON on the inside. I used a mirror and a flashlight and see no indication of one.

  30. #18

    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    So no on the pickguard clamp. I did call my mom to see if she remembers getting extra goodies with it. She can't remember but said she will look.

  31. #19

    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Katcando68 View Post
    No. I don't see the FON on the inside. I used a mirror and a flashlight and see no indication of one.
    The FON should be on the inside on the neck block. Sometimes it visible if you hold the mandolin neck facing down to the floor.

  32. #20

    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    The new pictures helped. I can confirm that it is a plain Style A, built between 1918 and 1922. The finish appears to be original, the bridges are not.
    Most of the established vintage dealers would describe the condition as "excellent" or "excellent-minus."
    Since I have learned that the pick guard, the pickguard clamp are missing and the bridges are not original, what do y'all think I am looking at? I am confident that the rest of it is in original condition. Should I fix it or just sell it?

  33. #21

    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    Neither bridge has been slotted to accept the strings. The mandolin has most likely never been strung up with either bridge in place, and it's likely that neither bridge has been fitted to the top.

    Someone acquired these bridges with the intention of having the mandolin set up, but the work evidently didn't proceed.

    Does the mandolin still have the pickguard clamp attached to its side? It's a small metal contraption with a patent date stamp that says PAT. JULY 4, 1911.

    With the pickguard missing, the clamp, if it's all there and functional, is likely worth $100 to someone repairing a Gibson mandolin that still has a pickguard but is missing its original clamp.
    No pickguard clamp either. I have asked my mom and she is looking. I appreciate all of the info. Thanks!

  34. #22

    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Katcando68 View Post
    No. I don't see the FON on the inside. I used a mirror and a flashlight and see no indication of one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Katcando68 View Post
    Since I have learned that the pick guard, the pickguard clamp are missing and the bridges are not original, what do y'all think I am looking at? I am confident that the rest of it is in original condition. Should I fix it or just sell it?
    It is very worthy of any work needed to make it play again.

  35. #23

    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    The mandolin is in excellent condition. From what I can see in the photos, the frets look great and the body of the mandolin looks great. No cracks no top sinkage. I think having a luthier fit the bridge properly to the top of the mandolin and slotting the bridge saddle for a new set of strings would have you learning to play the mandolin in no time.

  36. #24

    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but to have the bridge fitted and slotted for strings and new strings installed should only cost $50 to $100.

    If I were you I would keep it and play and cherish it, not only because of the sentimental value attached, but also because it is a great old Gibson mandolin.

  37. #25
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help ID my The Gibson Mandolin

    Here's what I'm looking at:
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    There's something sticking out from the side there, right about where a pickguard clamp should be.

    Anyhow, if you let us know where you're located, someone will recommend a repair tech and/or dealer.

    If you sell the instrument as is on the Classified ads here, you're probably looking at $850 to $900. You might do slightly better if you find a dealer who can fix it up, sell it for $1500 and take 20–25%.

    Fitting & slotting a bridge isn't too complicated for someone with experience working on archtop mandolins. Not every repair tech has that kind of experience, though.
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