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Serial Number
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Gibson A Mandolin #29860


manufacture date (traditional estimates)
1915 shipment date, according to Spann's Guide to Gibson
Mandolin, Style A
Serial 29860
Factory Order number: 3032


Replaced bridge, broken pickguard. Great story!

I do not play but have owned a Gibson Style A mandolin for 40 years. The serial number is 29860. The stamp number is 3032...I think. I was on my knees looking upside down with a flashlight, a magnifying glass (held by the wife) and a pair of pinking shears with a chrome refrigerator magnet stuck to them. Didn't have a small enough mirror. I had to take two ibuprofen after getting the number. See attached pictures. I can take more pics in a better setting if you need them.

I would love to know where to get another tortoise shell pick guard and that little hickey that holds it to the side of the instrument. I also noticed from reading about mandolins on the Internet that the bridge on this particular instrument must be a solid piece of wood without the adjusting wheels. Cool. My dad had it strung and bridged for me when I first got it around age11. Our kids are grown but I made the mistake of letting them play the thing when they were young...thinking that one of them would pick it up and make me proud. But it was not to be. They broke the pick guard and I put it up.

You mentioned an answer from you guys that may contain some blather. Well, let me blather just a bit and tell you how I came to own this wonderful thing. When we were kids, there was an old woman named Mrs Borum down the street who drove a blue Studabaker. You know, the one with the three bolts sticking out of the nose. She would occasionally have little tea parties at her house, mostly for the girls but allowed a sissy like myself to attend. I hated tea but wanted in and was willing to take the harassment from the girls so I could get in on the cookies that were served up with the tea.

When we came up on her steps, I could see into her bedroom from the porch where there was a very, very old man (Mr Borum, I presume) sitting up in the bed looking at us or anyone else who approached the front door. I had seen him before but was not afraid because he never seemed to move. He just stared at you with his mouth open....and he never waved back.

I suppose one day he passed on because Mrs Borum started packing the house up and asked us kids if we would mind helping her out some. Just as my sister and I got the word that she was needing some PAID assistance at her home, we started out the door to pitch in and make some pocket money. That's when dad jumped in and ruined my day. He said, "Randy, you are not to take any money from that old lady because you have a paper route and already have enough money." (He really said that). I said, "Well what happens when the work is over and she pays the other kids?" He said, "You tell her no thank you and that you have money from your paper route." "Besides, you're always down there eating her cookies and she does not have that much money."

I recall thinking what a crock it was that dad only kept me from getting any money and not my sister. When we got there, I looked into the bedroom window and saw just an empty bed. He had passed away. So, when the job was through and Mrs Borum was giving everyone 50 cents apiece or so she came to me with the quarters. I said, "No thank you Mrs Borum. I have a paper route and do not need the money." It made my jaws ache just saying it. I was relieved that the pay was only two quarters though because that was not enough to really upset my apple cart. I could have used the money but 50 cents was not a show stopper. So she said, "Are you sure, honey? You worked along with everyone else." I said, "Yes ma'am, I'm sure."

She said, "Well why don't you take this. It belonged to my husband." She handed me an old case with the mandolin in it. I got it for two quarters.

From Randy Garmon


Categories this instrument is a member of

  • Orange or "pumpkin" finish


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