Prior to the surfacing of this instrument, March 31, 1924--over seven months after this mandolin was dated--is the generally accepted date for the first ferns. (There is a fern dated Feb. 18, 1924, but according to F-5 expert Darryl Wolfe, its appointments indicate that it could not have left the factory until 1926.) Wolfe's assessment of this July 9 fern is that its appointments are consistent with July 9, 1923. It has the double-layer pickguard of early F-5s (and is, in fact, the last one made with the double-layer guard). Its pickguard shape is also consistent with July 9 and earlier. It is the only known Loar-signed fern that does not have a Virzi Tone Producer. If it is not the earliest, it is certainly the earliest known F-5 Fern.
The neck was reset and the fingerboard refretted by noted Nashville luthier (and former Gruhn employee) Hugh Hansen. This mandolin has a fine sound to match its historical importance. It is offered at the reduced price of $180,000.
For further appreciation...
Full front | Pickguard | Bass side of body | Treble side of body | Tailpiece | Scroll | Signature label | Serial number label
Peghead | Back of peghead | Back view | Back of body | Back of scroll
Mandolin in case | Case closed | Case open