What are the odds?

The Odyssey of  1890s mandolins and  A. Stathopoulos Tailpiece !

As I am collecting for my next post,  information and photographic material from  luthiers who have constructed in the past miso-bouzouko and tsourades from a mandolin conversion, I thought to do a small research in case I was able to trace a little further back in time, my Vega 1910 mandolin.

In my research I stumbled on a vintage ad of a Vega bowl-back mandolin (1890's)

The instrument in the ad was coming with its Official hard-shell case with purple lining.
The mandolin was in playable condition, and had 2 repaired top cracks

The ad had listed also the serial number of the instrument (which is engraved on the top of the head-stock)  dating it at 1890s
To my surprise the SN# was the same number as my own mandolin.

Photo from a vintage ad dating the mandolin back to 1890s

Photo from a vintage ad dating the mandolin back to 1890s

Its Official hard-shell case

I wanted to be sure that the instrument listed in the vintage ad, was the same exact instrument  I was holding in my hands

Gratefully the photos listed for the 1890s instrument had captured some very unique, and one of the kind, details of its body.

I zoomed the photos with my digital filters and I compared the two mandolins from an almost same angle. The comparison side by side proved that the instrument is the same , dating my mandolin back to 1890s 

The same two darker pigmentation spots  of rosewood staves
and same 2 darker staves at the right side of the bowl  

The same damage from scratches close to the pick-guard
and the same V shape at the top right

And as this find was not enough, my research led me to another vintage mandolin identical to mine with engraved flower theme on its tailpiece exactly as the tailpiece carried on the 1910 A. Stathopoulos bouzouki ( Restored by the master luthier N. Fronimopoulo ) 

An identical Vega mandolin listed on eBay some time ago
Its engraved -flower theme-tailpiece 
1910 A.Stathopoulos bouzouki tailpiece.

Looks as the Boston based company Vega and the A.Stathopulos of NY had the same supplier of  engraved tailpieces. 
Taking in consideration the almost exact pick-guard design on the same 1910 A .Stathopoulos restored by master luthier N.Fronimopoulo with the bowl-back Vega mandolin model of 1890s , I have  started to be a bit suspicious regarding this coincidence. 
It will require further investigation regarding the supplier to USA East Coast luthiers of 1900s for these instrument parts. 


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