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Thread: What to pay for an old Gibson

  1. #1
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default What to pay for an old Gibson

    Just saw a local ad for a 1920s Gibson A2 in good condition.

    Tried finding the going rate at reverb.com, but nothing came up.

    What are they going for these days?

    Thanks!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  2. #2

    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    1920s covers a lot of ground. Paddle head? Snake head? Loar era (perceived premium)? Truss rod? Original bridge... finger rest, tuners, tailpiece etc? Original case and case condition? Pretty hard to say without more info.
    Anywhere from $800 to $3500*... ? ...

    *Really hard to pinpoint a top end. People are nuts!
    Last edited by FLATROCK HILL; Jun-27-2022 at 9:49am.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Maximum for a paddlehead with a really nice clean original finish, and original bridge, tailpiece, tuners, pickguard with clamp, and case would be ~$2000 tops. An average price for one in more modest condition would be lower.
    Subtract for finish wear and missing or replaced parts. A beat up one with all the parts changed might bring $1000 or less.

    Add perhaps 25% to 40% for a Sheraton Brown snakehead. I would estimate perhaps in the high $2000's tops.

    A factory original natural top A-2Z, labelled with the Z, might bring $4000.
    People argue about whether the black A-2Z's are legitimate or not. I'm not going to comment on that debate.

    As far as "nuts" asking prices, folks can ask whatever they want, but asking is not getting.
    I check the long-established vintage dealers as one reference, and gbase and reverb's "sold" listings for another. I do not pay much attention to current asking prices on reverb.
    Last edited by rcc56; Jun-27-2022 at 10:25am.

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  6. #4
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Maximum for a paddlehead with nice clean original finish, and original bridge, tailpiece, tuners, pickguard with clamp, and case would be ~$2000.
    Subtract for finish wear and missing or replaced parts. A beat up one with all the parts changed might bring $1000 +/-.

    Add perhaps 25% to 40% for a Sheraton Brown snakehead. I would estimate perhaps in the high $2000's tops.

    A factory original natural top A-2Z, labelled with the Z, might bring a maximum of $4000.

    I only look at reverb's "sold" listings for price comparisons.

    As far as "nuts" asking prices, folks can ask whatever they want, but asking is not getting.
    Thanks! After reading those two responses, I emailed the seller to ask about repairs and refinishing.

    Reverb didn't have any sold prices. That's what I looked for.

    All the seller said was, "1920s. Plays nice, sounds nice. Has had repairs no problems."

    He has one picture (click to enlarge):

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	gibdon.jpg 
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    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  7. #5
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    1920s covers a lot of ground. Paddle head? Snake head? Loar era (perceived premium)? Truss rod? Original bridge... finger rest, tuners, tailpiece etc? Original case and case condition? Pretty hard to say without more info.
    Anywhere from $800 to $3500*... ? ...

    *Really hard to pinpoint a top end. People are nuts!
    Thanks! See post 4.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Looks nice. But only one picture? Words fail to convey how much I mistrust ads like that. Full disclosure, please.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Also, if you do a general image search, you can pull up expired Reverb ads and see what folks in the past have paid for the instrument you are interested in.

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  12. #8
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Nice top finish. Original bridge and tuners, tailpiece probably original but photo is not clear enough to say for sure.
    Condition of the back is unknown. Pickguard is missing, case is non-original.

    Nice, but not worth top dollar. If the back is in really nice shape, maybe $1500 - $1750, depending on how important the lack of an original guard is to an individual buyer.

    This mandolin was built between 1918 and 1921.

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  14. #9
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    Looks nice. But only one picture? Words fail to convey how much I mistrust ads like that. Full disclosure, please.
    I do, too. But it's not far away. And judging from the mistakes in the text, the seller isn't the world's most thoughtful web poster.

    Anyhow, I'd play it before buying it. I think the seller is hoping to sell locally.
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; Jun-27-2022 at 12:56pm.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  15. #10
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Nice top finish. Original bridge and tuners, tailpiece probably original but photo is not clear enough to say for sure.
    Condition of the back is unknown. Pickguard is missing, case is non-original.

    Nice, but not worth top dollar. If the back is in really nice shape, maybe $1500 - $1750, depending on how important the lack of an original guard is to an individual buyer.

    This mandolin was built between 1918 and 1921.
    Thanks, that helps. Waiting to see what the seller tells me about repairs and finisn.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    I saw that one. Hope it turns out to be awesome for you
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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  18. #12

    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    There's a 1912 on the Beaumont CL someone is asking $2k for. Been on the list for 4 days and accepting offers. Looks to be all there. Says there's a stable, repaired back crack (I didn't see it in the pics, but didn't look close as I'm not interested.) Still pretty far from New England...

    https://beaumont.craigslist.org/msg/...500088824.html
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  20. #13
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Quote Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
    There's a 1912 on the Beaumont . . . . Still pretty far from New England...

    https://beaumont.craigslist.org/msg/...500088824.html
    And there's no way I'm dropping $2k on an instrument. A car, maybe. . . .
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    It's getting hard to find even one of the "low A" models for much under $1400 unless it's been rode hard and put up wet or is missing several original parts.

    The bridge on the Craig's List mandolin is a replacement. Sheraton brown was not introduced until 1918 [not that it matters much]. Anyway, that one was built sometime between 1918 and 1921.

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  23. #15
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    It's getting hard to find even one of the "low A" models for much under $1400 unless it's been rode hard and put up wet or is missing several original parts.

    The bridge on the Craig's List mandolin is a replacement. Sheraton brown was not introduced until 1918 [not that it matters much]. Anyway, that one was built sometime between 1918 and 1921.
    Yep. My snakehead was $500, so I jumped at it even though it ws in terrible shape. Spent close to that getting it into good shape. I like it a lot, so I figure it was worth it.

    The guy says it's a 1920s instrument, so it might have been Sheraton brown originally. Good to know the age. Thanks!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  24. #16
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Have you gotten to see and play the mandolin? Did you get it?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  26. #17
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Have you gotten to see and play the mandolin? Did you get it?
    Emailed and tried phoning the seller. Will try again tomorrow. Stay tuned!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Well, I'm turning 70 soon. That's pretty old. The 50s weren't too bad a period for Gibsons, though most people prefer the teens and 20s. That said, I have pretty good tone and have worn fairly well over the years. But I don't do well in long stretches of cold weather, and I'm not really for sale - though I am available for rent. And I can be had for the price of just a nice meal. That's a bargain, for sure, but you know, you get what you pay for ... Oh, and the price of shipping would be ridiculous. And I don't come with an OHSC. Then there's the upkeep. Yeah, probably best to keep looking.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    Well, I'm turning 70 soon. . . .
    My advice: Don't! It's not that much fun.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    I said when I turned 70 I was now in Geezerdome. Welcome to Geezerdome JB.
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  32. #21
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    My advice: Don't! It's not that much fun.
    No kidding! But consider the alternative ...

    Thankfully, I have mandolins.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Emailed and tried phoning the seller. Will try again tomorrow. Stay tuned!
    I'm awaiting for it. Good Luck!

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  36. #23
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Quote Originally Posted by yurisilva View Post
    I'm awaiting for it. Good Luck!
    I phoned and emailed again this morning. So far, radio silence. As they say, if it's too good to be true, it isn't.

    Stay tuned.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    I phoned and emailed again this morning. So far, radio silence. As they say, if it's too good to be true, it isn't.

    Stay tuned.
    Or if it's too good to be true, it is... Wait. No. I'm confused.

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  39. #25
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to pay for an old Gibson

    Quote Originally Posted by yurisilva View Post
    I'm awaiting for it. Good Luck!
    He finally emailed me back. Drove an hour to meet him today. He stood me up.

    =O[
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

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