Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS


Support ANTIQUES ROADSHOW by supporting public television! Give Today
  • ON TV
  • SHOP
  • The Roadshow Archive

    Gibson A-4 Mandolin, ca. 1920

    Appraised Value:


    Appraised on: July 10, 2004

    Appraised in: Omaha, Nebraska

    Appraised by: Jim Baggett

    Category: Musical Instruments

    Episode Info: Omaha, Hour 3 (#906)

    Originally Aired: February 7, 2005

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 1  

    More Like This:

    Form: Mandolin
    Material: Wood
    Period / Style: 20th Century
    Value Range: $3,000

    Related Links:

    Understanding Our Appraisals
    Useful tips to keep in mind when watching ANTIQUES ROADSHOW


    Appraisal Video: (2:30)


    Appraised By:

    Jim Baggett
    Musical Instruments

    Mass Street Music

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: Well, I got it at a garage sale a little over 40 years ago. And my husband said, "What are you going to do with that?" And I said, "I have no idea, but I like it."

    APPRAISER: So is this the only musical instrument that you have, or do you collect musical instruments?

    GUEST: Well, my daughter played the guitar, but this is the only one I collected. I just liked it when I saw it.

    APPRAISER: Has anyone told you much about it, or...?

    GUEST: Well, one time there was an article in the paper and I called this number and he said it was worth about $500, and that was about 15 years ago.

    APPRAISER: Uh-huh.

    GUEST: But my daughter said, "Don't sell it, I want to keep it." And my grandson plays the guitar.

    APPRAISER: It doesn't look like anyone's played it in recent years.

    GUEST: Oh... no.

    APPRAISER: It's in very good condition. This is a Gibson mandolin made by the Gibson Guitar and Mandolin Company
    probably around 1920, give or take a few years. It's an A-4 model with a black finish. One of the characteristics of the A-4 is the fancier rosette around here, where there's two rope-snake purflings and then an inlay of ivoroid plastic and then a fancy end to the fingerboard. Another characteristic of this instrument that makes it interesting is the use of the Florentine tuners. These were only put on their fancier instruments. They're inlaid with silver and abalone and they're quite lovely and in quite good condition. The unique thing about this instrument is not so much its age, but its condition. It's in extraordinarily nice condition. The patina of the finish is just wonderful. It's aged, it's got a fine weather checking. No one's ever gone over the instrument, tried to buff it or clean it or polish it, which would ruin that patina. The silver hasn't been bent up. It's been cleaned, but only slightly. It has the original case, which is in excellent condition. That was the first thing I spotted about it was the case was well kept. These instruments are still used today. It's just as functional today as it was in the early 1900s.

    GUEST: Oh.

    APPRAISER: Normally, the average one of these would sell in the neighborhood of $2,000 to $2,500. That's a retail price. But since this is so nice and so kept, I would say that it conservatively would bring top dollar, which would be around $3,000. And what did you tell me you paid for it originally?

    GUEST: Twenty-five

    APPRAISER: Oh, that's not bad.

    GUEST: That's a good mark-up.

    WGBH This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
    ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
    WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
    PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

    ROADSHOW on Facebook ROADSHOW Tweets ROADSHOW on YouTube