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Thread: Estate Sale Bowlback

  1. #1
    Registered User oldhawkeye's Avatar
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    Default Estate Sale Bowlback

    Ladies and Gentlemen,
    Picked this up at a sale today and would like some educated guesses on possible manufacturer, country of origin and maybe ballpark value. No label, serial no., initials,etc. Seems very well made, lots of bling and I just couldn't pass it up. Needs a bit of work, obviously new strings and a setup. Back has 38 ribs. Inside is not lined but does have a couple of 1/2" wide or so Fabric strips glued in. I tried posting some pictures yesterday before the sale but something was not working so bought it with no advice. Foolish me.
    Thanks for any help on this one. I just tried the file upload manager and hopefully it worked. Anyone know why I can't insert image anymore?

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    My Avatars' Indian name was - Snakes in Head
    Mine is - Runs with Beers

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Estate Sale Bowlback

    I have 4 playable bowlback mandolins, and I paid less than$200 each. YMMV, but you asked for "ballpark."

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  4. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Estate Sale Bowlback

    Fancy model, lots of rosewood ribs, vine inlaid fretboard, mother-of-pearl binding and, as you say, lots of "bling." Carving on the neck heel is another high-end detail. I've not seen US-made mandolins with such carving, though it was fairly common on turn-of-the-20th-century banjos.

    Did you take off the bridge for the "side" pic? Can't tell too much about the action, though the neck joint looks OK. String it up with extra-extra light strings. I assume it once had a tailpiece cover, which has gone missing at some point.

    Nothing about the headstock or pickguard profiles strikes an immediate chord for me to assist in ID'ing it. I briefly looked for a similar image but didn't find one that jumped out at me. Hope that some of the real bowl-back experts will chime in.

    I will say that if it's decently playable, the ornamentation might push it toward the higher end of the bowl-back market -- which ain't saying a helluva lot.
    Allen Hopkins
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  6. #4
    Registered User oldhawkeye's Avatar
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    Default Re: Estate Sale Bowlback

    Thanks for the research and help Allen.
    The neck joint is good but the neck is bowed some starting at the body joint. Top is good with no caving in at the neck and crack free. There are 2 slight separations about 4" long between t ribs on the back that will be an easy glue up with hide glue. The tail piece is/was a Waverly Cloud style. You probably can't see the outline of the cover on the top but in person it's very visible. And yes the cover has long since left.
    Interesting thing about the pickguard is it is inlaid in the top and flush all around. That I've never seen. Pulled off the tuners and tail piece this evening. Probably going to be posting in the builders forum for a bit of advice. The tail piece crushed the abalone and MOP inlays and pushed up the top a tad. Then someone slathered some glue in there to hold everything together. This one is going to require a bit more finesse in the repair than my Harmony Monterey I'm afraid.
    My Avatars' Indian name was - Snakes in Head
    Mine is - Runs with Beers

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Estate Sale Bowlback

    You have not shown the tailpiece. Judging by the colour on the top, there appears to be a slight change where a cover from the tailpiece might have been for many years. This may be a sperate or hinged cover. Some of the very decorated mandolins were sold by mail order companies. That does not mean this one was but the Thornward models from Montgomery Ward are an example of this. Here is one- not so decorated as yours and the price gives you an indication of value- I think this one has been around for a while:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/25419508444...0AAOSw8thf-sFV

    Take a look at this thread. Jim Garber posted up an Acme Professional which he stated was a Sears, Roebuck brand. I have not had time to read the whole thread but it should be of interest to you. The original poster at the end feels he has been given enough info to suggest his mandolin was an Acme made by Bauer. See if it helps you.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...Thanks-Antonio

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  10. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Estate Sale Bowlback

    NickR: first to defend my 2016 post, I did not state that ACME was a Sears brand just quoted Mike Holmes and stated that I did not think it was so and more likely made by George Bauer for SS Stewart.

    I think the ACME-Bauer attribution may be possible. The one in that thread even has the carved heel on the neck.

    To the OP: the bridge is likely in the wrong place. It should be on the sound hole side of the cant (bend in the top).
    Jim

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  12. #7
    Registered User oldhawkeye's Avatar
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    Default Re: Estate Sale Bowlback

    NickR,
    Thank you, the name brand mystery has been solved. Jim Garbers' post #20 and #23 nailed it. The only differences I could find was the carving is slightly different at the bottom, the tuner covers and the tail piece are not nickel plated but un-plated brass. Everything else is a dead match. Mine must be the unlabeled non-professional Acme, as mentioned by Atetone in post #21 of the same thread as no label or any hint of one ever being there and there is just the 1/2" fabric strip glued in where the pro model has sheet fabric the label is attached to. It doesn't seem anyone has a definitive answer to the manufacturer or I can't find it. As mentioned in my second post in reply to Allen it was a Waverly Cloud originally but, as usual the cover is missing.

    If Jim or anyone else reads this and would like some higher resolution/ much better pictures of this instrument in detail please ask and it will be so.

    Thanks again for all the posts. Deeply appreciated.

    Dave
    My Avatars' Indian name was - Snakes in Head
    Mine is - Runs with Beers

  13. #8

    Default Re: Estate Sale Bowlback

    Jim, I was scanning the posts and I did not mean to misattribute things to you that were not yours. Likewise, I missed the mention by oldhawkeye regarding the tailpiece but I am pleased that earlier thread seems to have cast some light on the origin of this mandolin which is a good outcome.

  14. #9
    Registered User oldhawkeye's Avatar
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    Default Re: Estate Sale Bowlback

    Just did some Google meandering and the consensus is these were made by Stewart and Bauer and sold by Sears in the late 1890's-early 1900's. Jake Wildwood, Bills Banjos and another post on MC all seem to agree. Please correct me if I'm mistaken or jumping the gun. I just love all the help on these forums. Thanks all.
    Regards, Dave
    My Avatars' Indian name was - Snakes in Head
    Mine is - Runs with Beers

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