1914 manufacture date (traditional estimates)
1913 shipment date, according to Spann's Guide to Gibson
Mandola, Style H1
Factory order number unknown
Serial # 18980. At 92 years of age, it's incredible to imagine the musical diversity this mandola has partaken in over its life. What was the first song played on it way back before the First World War? How many people called this their-own instrument over the four generations since it was built? From a receipt dated June 30th 1920 we know that it was sold to a Mr. J. M. Connally from Miss Grace M. Jackson and Mrs. F. M. Jackson for forty five dollars; but who were these people? Were the Jackson's selling the Mandola after Mr. Jackson, husband and father, passed away? After all, forty five dollars was a significant amount at that time. These are questions that we will never know the answers to, sadly. What we do know, however, is that Mr. J.M. Connally and the various subsequent owners of this instrument valued it highly and took very good care of it to this day.
It is in excellent condition, with no cracks, scrapes or bruises; just some minor playwear to the finish on the neck and some mild grooving on the frets. The Mandola is completely original with the exception of a 1920's replacement adjustable bridge (the original, in the case pocket, is fractured and not useable), and it is in perfect working order. The top arch is fine, as are the neck, tuners, pickguard, and tailpiece; and the shellac finish has a rich patina. Mandolas all sound great; but Gibsons from the 'teens particularly so. There is a familiarity and warmth to the tonal response the Mandola offers - it is in the same range as the human voice - and this instrument can warm the coldest winter night with its lovely sweetness. Excuse the flowery metaphors; but it really is a wonderful instrument! We've completed as set up on this instrument, and needed to position the bridge slightly rearward for proper tunability; you'll notice the finish in front of it is marred from years of the bridge being in the wrong place. Instruments like this don't come around too often, sadly - and this one will bring happiness to many more generations over the years to come.
With its original hard shell case, and 1920 bill of sale.