1902 manufacture date (traditional estimates)
1904 shipment date, according to Spann's Guide to Gibson
Mandolin, Style A
Factory order number unknown
Here's a wonderful early Gibson. Dated photographs help us estimate the date of this mandolin to, 1902 or 1903 (the Gibson company's offical start was October 1902) Some of the more interesting features include a semi-hollow neck, the "pan back" and "paddle peghead".
Roger Siminoff, a noted expert on early Gibson Mandolins tells us that he believes the unusual bridge, tailpiece cover, and body assemblies appear to be original to him. He notes that Gibsons this early seldom followed any hard rules, and were not made in any semblance of mass production until much later in the company's history.
Some theorize that Gibson serial numbers may have started at number 2500, making this mandolin #26.
Images & Descriptions of this instrument kindly provided by the owner, Rick Van Krugel