Vintage Washburn Mandolins
Vintage Washburn mandolins are made by the American guitar manufacturer, Washburn Guitars.
History & Description
The company began making stringed instruments in 1883 in Chicago, Illinois, and was originally a division of Lyon & Healy. During the 1880s, Lyon & Healy was considered as the first American company to manufacture mandolins on a large scale and their most popular line went under the Washburn name.
One of the most popular vintage mandolins is the Style A “De Pace” model, named for the Italian-American composer Bernando De Pace. First produced in 1925, it is one of the first artist endorsed mandolins made in America.
Today, the company produces a wide range of musical instruments and accessories, including amplifiers, mandolins, banjos, electric and acoustic basses and guitars, clothing, tuners, straps and guitar cases.
Guide for collectors
Although the company produced a number of high-quality mandolins, such as the Style A and Cremonatone, they are still not as collectible as other vintage mandolins manufactured by Gibson, Martin and Epiphone.
Vintage mandolins are occasionally sold through national auction houses. In addition, they are also sometimes advertised on eBay.
As with any instrument, restoration is highly recommended, particularly if there are any noticeable signs of damage.
There are a number of websites which offer valuable information for collectors regarding different models and how to keep them in good condition. A few good examples include the Mandolin Café, Clarinda’s Music and the official Washburn website.
Notable auction sales
On April 25th 2010 at Skinner in Massachusetts, a Style A mandolin with its original case, circa 1925, realised a price of $2,700.
On May 1th 2012, a Neopolitan mandolin, circa 1890s, was sold on eBay for $425.
On May 18th 2012, a Cremonatone mandolin, dated 1897, was sold on eBay for $275.
On May 20th 2012 at Premier Auction Galleries in Chesterland, Ohio, a Bowl Back mandolin, circa 1890s, realised a price of $200.
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