Gibson A0
Gibson A0, 1933, acoustic. $1,750.
Here's a 1933 Gibson A0 mandolin. The serial number is 89452 and the factory order number (FON) is 428. Spann's Guide to Gibson puts the serial number in late 1932, but it says 428 is a 1933 FON—and since FONs were applied first, we're going with 1933 for the year. ` The "thick" Gibson script logo and open-book headstock certainly place the instrument in the early '30s.
     The A0 replaced the A Junior in 1927 and was discontinued in 1934, so we're near the end of the run with this instrument. It differs from most A0s in having an ivoroid bound top (most of them have no binding at all). In other respects it matches the specifications. Original Waverly cloud tailpiece, pickguard missing, adjustable bridge with patent stamp, dot inlays, truss rod, ivoroid tuners on plain metal strips. It resides in a chipboard case that appears to be about as old as the instrument.
     The pickguard was attached with a screw-on bracket and there's still a screw hole in the side. There's also a slight seam separation in the 2-piece birch back, but it doesn't seem big enough to cause any problems. For its age, this is a remarkably clean mandolin. It is not pristine; there are a few minor marks and scratches, but it is in great shape for something 89 years old.
     Add a strap, see more photos, call 425/772-0231, or for more information. $1,750 plus shipping.