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$165,000 mandolin

GUEST,leeneia 09 Feb 09 - 05:33 PM
Zen 09 Feb 09 - 06:26 PM
Zen 09 Feb 09 - 06:29 PM
bankley 09 Feb 09 - 07:21 PM
Barry Finn 09 Feb 09 - 07:54 PM
Fortunato 09 Feb 09 - 08:01 PM
Leadfingers 09 Feb 09 - 08:03 PM
John Hardly 09 Feb 09 - 10:04 PM
Will Fly 10 Feb 09 - 06:06 AM
fisheye 10 Feb 09 - 06:11 AM
Dave Hanson 10 Feb 09 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Feb 09 - 09:40 AM
Fortunato 10 Feb 09 - 09:45 AM
JohnB 10 Feb 09 - 11:02 AM
JohnB 10 Feb 09 - 11:06 AM
bankley 10 Feb 09 - 11:15 AM
Wesley S 10 Feb 09 - 11:26 AM
Art Thieme 10 Feb 09 - 11:58 AM
Wesley S 10 Feb 09 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Feb 09 - 03:22 PM
Will Fly 10 Feb 09 - 03:25 PM
Wesley S 10 Feb 09 - 04:18 PM
Mark Ross 10 Feb 09 - 04:46 PM
bankley 10 Feb 09 - 05:05 PM
JohnInKansas 10 Feb 09 - 06:27 PM
Mark Ross 10 Feb 09 - 06:58 PM
JohnInKansas 11 Feb 09 - 12:46 AM
GUEST,leeneia 11 Feb 09 - 09:39 AM
Mark Ross 11 Feb 09 - 10:53 AM
Wesley S 11 Feb 09 - 11:14 AM
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Subject: $165,000 mandolin
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 05:33 PM

Here's a link to an article about a Gibson F-5 mandolin which has been used as a decoration near Kansas City for many years.

article

In case the linked article goes away, the story is that Victor and Lena Semisch of rural Butler County Kansas bought the mandolin in the 1930's. (or perhaps a few years before)

Victor played country music on it, and his daughter, who is now 80, thought 'Why can't he play something more up to date?'

The mandolin has been decorating the mantel since then, but recently someone wanted to play it. It was taken to a luthier in Lawrence who told them the amazing news about the beautiful tone and the $ value of the instrument.

Apparently it's still for sale if you have any spare change.


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Zen
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 06:26 PM

More discussion about this rare find, together with close-up photos, amongst the experts over at the Mandolin Cafe.

Zen


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Zen
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 06:29 PM

P.S. The $100 shipping was a bit much for me!

Zen


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: bankley
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 07:21 PM

a bargain.... there's two Gibson F-5 mandolins (1924) also signed by Lloyd Loar listed at $225,000 each...
at Elderly Instruments, Lansing Michigan


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Barry Finn
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 07:54 PM

Those 3 would complete my collection of wall hangings. Now3 all I need is a million dollar wall.

Barry


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Fortunato
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 08:01 PM

I have a friend who owns and plays daily a 1924 like the ones you describe above.

A few years ago he left a festival and was driving up the interstate when a car pulled up beside him and beeped and waved him over.

When my friend got out of his car and walked back he found his 1924 Gibson F5 Lloyd Loar mandolin balanced on him bumper, he'd driven lots of miles with it balanced there. I think it was only worthe 35 thousand then.

true story.


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 08:03 PM

Zen - You buy me the mandolin , and I will pay the shipping !


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: John Hardly
Date: 09 Feb 09 - 10:04 PM

Dave's a regular at the Acoustic Guitar Magazine website forum. It was fun to see this story unfold from the very first days Dave had the mandolin in his hands.


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 06:06 AM

My buddy Ian has a 1917 Gibson mandolin - not with the scroll head - just a plain brown mandolin. Looks a little like this but with the Gibson name on the headstock and a dark-brown finish. Lovely dishing to the face edge and a slightly curved. It's played in sessions regularly and is sweet to use.


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: fisheye
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 06:11 AM

will they take American Express

fisheye


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 08:35 AM

Bill Monroe bought his famous Gibson F5 for $150 second hand, after his death it was sold for over a million dollars.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 09:40 AM

Thanks for all the feedback. It's nice to know others are interested.

Fortunato, that is quite the story about the mandolin riding on the bumper. After I saw my brother-in-law lose his sunglasses in a similar way, I decided that there is only one place on a car to set something down, and that place is on the windshield in front of the driver. And that is only if the thing is rather big.

That way, you can't drive off and forget it because you can't see out the front.


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Fortunato
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 09:45 AM

Leeneia that's where I keep my sunglasses.

my guitar won't fit there...


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: JohnB
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 11:02 AM

A friend did the car roof trick with a concertina, not so luckily cost him a LOT to get it rebuilt.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: JohnB
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 11:06 AM

Back onto the subject, I also have a friend with a Gibson "teardrop" or whatever style mandolin also a Gibson Mando Cello with the most goergous tone I have ever heard both from the 20's. Both of which also get regular playing in sessions and performances.
JohnB.


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: bankley
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 11:15 AM

as long as they're loved as fine musical instruments and played

there are people who collect rare instruments which are never heard again


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Wesley S
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 11:26 AM

"Bill Monroe bought his famous Gibson F5 for $150 second hand, after his death it was sold for over a million dollars."

Of course that's one of the reasons why these Lloyd Loar signed mandolins regularly sell for over $200,000 - because that's what Bill Monroe played. I think I've heard that this one is priced so low because it has a few structural flaws.

I'll be lucky if I ever get to play one - let alone own one. I'll just have to settle for my Weber Fern until then.


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 11:58 AM

Is that the mandolin Bill defaced by gouging out the inlayed wood where the Gibson name was located? He and Gibson had a falling out for some reason.

Art


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Wesley S
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 12:40 PM

Yes he did. But they eventually kissed and made up and Bill let them replace the logo.

A lot of you know that two of Bill Monroes mandolins were smashed by someone who broke into the house. Rumor was it was a jilted lover. All of the pieces - resembling a sack of tootpicks - was brought to Charlie Darrington at Gibson. He actually reassembled Bill's mandolin to a playable condition. All reports were that it sounded just as good as before someone took a fireplace poker to them. An amazing story of reconstruction. Sadly Charlie Darrington was killed about a year ago by a drunk driver.


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 03:22 PM

Wesley, that story makes my blood run cold. Whoever smashed the mandolins was not only attacking Bill Monroe, s/he was attacking the artisans who made the mandolins and all the people who would find future joy in hearing the music played upon them.

Curses upon them!

By the way, rumor might blame a jilted lover, but there are plenty of vandals who break into homes and smash things up for no reason whatever. I know two pleasant, amiable families that have had this happen.

As for the Gibson mandolin in the article (first post), I'm glad that the family took care of it all these years. I'm glad that they are going to come into some money, especially in these difficult times. But I cannot believe that any instrument (not even a Strad violin) is worth that kind of money.


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 03:25 PM

The old, old story - "worth" is what people are prepared to pay to acquire it. Otherwise you'd just value the materials and the original time spent making the instrument at, perhaps, a few dollars or pounds. There's no accounting for "worth" - as the fine art market demonstrates time and time again. :-)


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Wesley S
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 04:18 PM

They are rumored to be the best mandolins around. I'm not sure that the difference between a Loar and a good $24,000 Gilchrist or Nugget mandolin could be heard by my ears. These Loars are expensive because there are so few of them. Only around 250 of them or so. The prices are high beause collectors { speculators } are willing to pay that much. Some the folks who actually play these mandolins spend years trading instruments back and forth to save up enough cash to own a Loar. But once they do own one it's like money in the bank. They'll have NO trouble getting rid of it for - probably - more then they paid for it. Name something else you can do that with. A house? A car? Nope.


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Mark Ross
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 04:46 PM

The fellow who owns one of the music stores here(the good one that has all the vintage instruments)has a Loar. He told me that he'd paid 10,000 and change for it and his wife thought he was crazy. Now it's worth more than his house! He invited me in to play it one day and it sure is sweet, but I couldn't tell the difference between it and the $25,000 Gilchrist he let me try out a few minutes later.

And by the way, what about Frank Wakefield, who painted his Loar F-5 and then baked it in the oven!

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: bankley
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 05:05 PM

wonder how it tasted ?   

When I was a teen, I acquired a '52 gold top Les Paul,in mint shape for less than $200. I didn't like the colour, so I stripped it to natural and changed the trapeze bridge for a tunomatic, put Grover gears on... it looked way cool and screamed for days.... traded it a couple of years later for a cheap Gibson 12 string acoustic... later on I sure regretted it, but I was a kid... and in the 60's there were a lot more cheap 50's guitars around....


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 06:27 PM

I have had the distinct pleasure of "playing" (very briefly) two different Loar mandos. One was at a festival in Oregon around fifteen years ago, and the other was two years ago at WVA in Kansas.

I can't be sure of the exact dates on either, but both were pre-1930.

I've been trying to set up my 1970s Washburn to get that same silky feel, ever since the first one; but thus far my W's a bit more, by comparison, like burlap. (Nice burlap - but still not the Loar silky.)

Both of the current owners indicated that theirs were acquired by inheritance from grandfathers, and both were being played regularly.

Both instruments were in prime condition, but I didn't get to discussing whether any restoration was required on either. Both were gone before I stopped drooling enough to speak clearly.

John


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Mark Ross
Date: 10 Feb 09 - 06:58 PM

John, they would have to be from the '20's, Loar only worked for Gibson a couple of years, '22-'24 or '25, I think. He only signed the ones he thought met his standards.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 12:46 AM

Mark -

Both were signed, but we didn't discuss dates in either case, and I only got hands-on long enough for about one quick tune on each. It was enough to know that I'd love to do it again for much longer.

I'm not sure one of the owners had even tried to trace an exact date. I'd guess the other one knew exactly what he had - we just didn't talk about it in that much detail. So far as I could tell in my brief time, they both played identically, and completely unlike any other mando I've touched. Like the difference between rich warm chocolate for the Loars compared to underdone grits for the best of the others - or something like that.

John


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 09:39 AM

Thanks, John, it's interesting to hear what it's like to play a Loar.
===
'once they do own one it's like money in the bank. They'll have NO trouble getting rid of it for - probably - more then they paid for it.'

Well, Wesley, we don't know that. I have read in financial magazines that there are trends in collectibles. Prices rise, get media attention, peak and drop down.

Somebody said something upthread about structural problems with this particular mandolin. I wonder what they were and how well it plays.


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Mark Ross
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 10:53 AM

Actually, according to George Gruhn, vintage instruments have shown a better rate of return over the past 30-40 years than real estate or the stocks and bonds. That's not the reason I buy fiddles, mandolins, guitars & banjos, they are mostly for my own use, but some people do buy them as an investment. Unfortunately this means that some wonderful old ones are not being played, and working musickers can't afford to hardly look at them, much less take them out to a $50 gig.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: $165,000 mandolin
From: Wesley S
Date: 11 Feb 09 - 11:14 AM

This is from the artile linked above at The Mandolin Cafe. It also indicates that this instrument has a Virzi tone generator - and that usually tends to lower the price a little if I remember correctly.


"I have done NOTHING to the instrument, not even any cleaning; I'll leave that up to the new owner.

If you look closely at the back photo you can see the seperation running up from the butt about 3" or so. Other damages: broken down saddle, three minor cracks on the treble side f hole that have not opened up, and a minor rib fracture on the treble side of the butt pin...I'm assuming this was from dropping the mando on the pin. It does look VERY superficial though....from my judgement is very minor...the side appears very sound."


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