Gibson F4 “torch and wire” mandolin, S/N 5713, Circa 1906

This early Gibson mandolin is one of the most beautiful ever produced.  Unlike later Gibson instruments which are relatively sparing in decoration, this mandolin features both the elegant “torch and wire” inlay pattern on the peghead as well as a pearl vine inlaid into the fingerboard.  The pickguard is inlayed into the top and is also tastefully decorated with pearl inlays.  The tailpiece and the tuners appear to be gold-plated (or maybe unplated brass?) and the tuners are both engraved and have the inlaid Handel tuning knobs typical of high-grade early Gibson mandolins.  This mandolin is quite light, especially compared to the earlier prototypes made by Orville Gibson, and surprisingly there are no cracks to be found anywhere.  This amazing mandolin is still quite playable and sounds great.

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