I took with me, my Great Grandfather's 1914 F4 Mandolin, and the 1921 H2 Mandola.
and Frederick Oster from Vintage Instruments Inc. In Philladelphia, PS, http://vintage-instruments.com/
It was a thrill for me to show them these instruments, and I shared with them the J.L Ivers "Everyone a Gibsonite" Mandolin Orchestra photo taken for and published in the 1921 Gibson catalog, where both of these instruments are pictured being played by my ancestors. I also brought along some newspaper clips I recently dug up related to my Great Grandfather's mandolin marketing activities in the teens and twenties. (I'll post some of these clips soon.)
I've had a pretty good idea of the monetary value of these instruments watching similar items over the years on Ebay, and plenty of time logged on to the Mandolin Cafe website classifieds, and Vintage Instrument forum. http://www.mandolincafe.com/
However, this was the first time any professional vintage instrument dealer has ever looked over and played these family heirlooms. The appraisal values were higher than I would have thought, so that was nice. Of course, as these are family heirlooms, and as long as I am looking after them, they will never be sold. I'm just the current caretaker, and get to enjoy playing them and sharing them with others, until eventually my sister's kids will end up with them.
Here's a few things I learned: The adjustable bridge, on the 1914 F4, while not original to this instrument, is in fact an early Gibson adjustable bridge. The 1914 F4 would have shipped with a fixed bridge, since the patent and introduction of the adjustable bridge wasn't until after 1921. Sometime after 1921 a fixed bridge on the F4 was replaced with the adjustable bridge on the instrument today. On the other hand, the bridge on the 1921 H2 Mandola is fixed, and does appear to be original, even though right around the manufacture date for this instrument, Gibson was making and shipping instruments with adjustable bridges. This particular instrument may well have been made with and shipped with older parts stock including the fixed bridge. It was also pointed out that The 1914 F4 sports the decorative "Handel" tuners, and I learned, that not long after this one was made they stopped using these awesome looking tuners.
I also learned that the original case for the H2 Mandola has some value, and will I continue to wonder what ever happened to the original case for the F4. Of course I will also always wonder about all the other instruments pictured in the 1921 catalog photo, and where they may have ended up. Sold by my Great Grandfather I would assume!
It was cool to share these instruments with true industry experts, and hear what they had to say about their condition and value. Overall, very cool experience.