This superb mandolin is in entirely excellent and phenomenally original condition. Housed in its original hard shell case it is a cockle-warming sight, all that Cremona, it is a sunburst shower of sonic scintillation. It was played some, yes, the frets show normal wear (far be it from us to replace them with high, round imposters), mainly in positions one through five, the ebony board is slightly pitted in that frame, and the back of the neck shows some discoloration, from perspiration, also wear from frets one through five
including some small scuffing at the black widow's peak. Other than that,
and a couple of extremely light (almost not worth mentioning) dings and cursory surface scratches, and but few of those, plus two old but replaced screws holding the pearl original buttons to the shafts on strings 5 and 8, this mandolin is 100% factual, indelible, ancestrally accurate Loar.
This is a silver-plated component Loar, with the engraved-plate tuners, the uniquely filigreed, silver "The Gibson"-engraved slide-on tailpiece, unique to the Loar period, the single-ply side binding with creme-black-creme top and back border, with 3-ply bound tortoise color pickguard bearing the Mar. 30. '09 stamp with matching 3-ply-against-celluloid side clamp. It has three-ply neck and
headstock binding as well. Its ebon headplate is suitably inlaid with the
angled, inlaid pearl "The Gibson," and colorful single flowerpot, with the
plain black truss rod cover there under.
The typically Loar period bridge
has the Jan. 18, '21 patent stamp on the foot, and the never-a-surprise
small mark on the face in front of the bridge where it was mis-positioned
for decades. On the inside of the original green, compartmentalized,
plush-lined unique-to-the-Loar period case are three Black Diamond strings
(only 15 cents each), four celluloid picks and an ancient and interesting
variable-note single tube pitch pipe that seems frozen in "A."
The history of the mandolin as we know it is that the current owner's
grandfather played it, and left it to her father. Her father recently
presented it to her, in the hopes that it will be sold and the proceeds used
to pay college tuition for the original owner's great-granddaughter, who is
a music major in viola and about to leave for freshman year. The
incredible part of the story is that on the intensely rainy night that I
drove to Long Island, where this Loar lived, to see it, I was greeted at the
gate by a small dog, a Scottish Terrier, I believe, who, although soaking
wet, was quite happy to greet visitors. I asked what the dog's name was
and the owner, without irony, said "Her name is Gibson."
"When you have the Loar, you need nothing more."