The inimitable Tony Williamson of Mandolin Central recently posted this beauty of an instrument yesterday. Tony is the only guy I've ever seen/heard imitate Thile, Jethro and Monroe in one tune. I imagine this one will bring a pretty penny though no asking price is listed. Elderly has a March 31st 1924 signed example listed for $165k, this one, with it's history and provenance and fewer known repairs should bring a bit of premium. Worth every penny and then some.
Without a doubt, this is the holy grail of the mandolin world: A completely original F-5 from one of the first full production batches, signed and dated by acoustical engineer Lloyd Loar on February 26, 1923 and issued by the Gibson Mandolin and Guitar Co. of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Rare indeed! It is almost impossible to find an instrument that has been this perfectly maintained so as to be completely original and intact, yet well played so as to sound completely alive!
Features and appointments on Gibson F-5 # 72209 are consistent with factory specifications for this model and year and include the classic carved top and parallel tone bar construction with f-holes and long, one-piece curly maple neck(which places the bridge in the center of the f-holes); headstock inlay consisting of “The Gibson” and abalone flowerpot; pearl button tuners with notched endplate; hand-engraved tailpiece; pick guard following body points; all hardware silver plated; and light Cremona shaded-sunburst varnish finish. All these appointments are completely original, structurally sound and intact. Includes original Geib and Sons faultless case, also intact but somewhat frayed around the edges.
Gibson F-5 # 72209 is in excellent original condition and is a marvelous sounding instrument. Every note seems to sparkle and dance from the fingerboard with equal delight and resonance, filling every frequency range with amazingly pleasing timbre. The focus and presence that is characteristic of this batch of F-5s are immediately apparent here, in ways similar to its bench mates (which include the Tiger, the Joe Val, and the second Bill Monroe Loar). When an instrument has been this well played, it has liveliness; many mandolins of this age have grown dormant after having spent long periods of time in attics, closets or vaults. Not so here; this one has been well played, almost daily, all through the years, but also well maintained. The condition is remarkable: there is very minor wear on the body, but the original finish is completely intact except for minor hand wear in the first position on the back of the neck. The only repair that has ever been necessary is the replacement of frets by legendary luthier Randy Wood of Savannah Georgia. This instrument can be heard recorded to excellent advantage in the very capable hands of Darren Aldridge in his work with the Country Gentlemen.
Gibson F-5 # 72209 has had only two owners, each hanging onto and loving this instrument for nearly half a century apiece. This is your chance to be the third! Please inquire for terms and pricing.