Gibson A2Z
Gibson A2Z, 1924, acoustic. $3,750.
Here's a 1924 Gibson A2Z mandolin with the coveted "snakehead" tapered headstock. The serial number is 75630, pointing to a 1924 ship date, and the FON is 11934, indicating a 1923 build date. This mandolin is missing its pickguard and has its fair share of scratches and pick wear, but it appears to have all of its other original hardware, including adjustable Loar-style bridge, arrow-end tuners, and truss rod. The original endpin has several pieces chipped off of it, but I can include a replacement, which a luthier could install for you.
     The A2Z is among the rarest of Gibson mandolins, and is highly prized by players for its outstanding tone and projection. It is distinguished by its black/white 2-ply binding and soundhole rosette, but the sound is what you're really after here. At the peak of the market, when bluegrass giant David McLaughlin sold his A2Z, they were fetching more than $6,000, although things have cooled down somewhat since then. The top is high-quality spruce, and its natural finish has slightly darkened with age. Two-piece back and sides are birch. Headplate, fretboard, nut, bridge and endpin are ebony; neck is mahogany. Original green-lined Geib case included; it's in worn condition. One of its three feet is missing (the one in the headstock area), and the handle needs a new leather cover.
     Given its condition, this is not a top-dollar A2Z, but it doesn't have major repairs or problems, just player wear and pickwear. The price represents a good value for an A2Z; this will be a tremendous "player" vintage mandolin with a memorable voice.
     Add a strap, see more photos, call 425/772-0231, or for more information. $3,750 plus shipping.