This is the first and only Epiphone bowl-back mandolin I’ve ever seen, and is in fact by far the earliest fretted instrument of any kind I’ve ever come across from Epiphone. The company was started in 1911 by Anastasio Stathopoulo, its founding instrument builder. His son was Epaminondas, known familiarly as “Epi”, which is where the name Epiphone eventually came from. The earliest instruments were mandolins and of course Greek bouzoukis, and eventually banjos and guitars, which brought them well-deserved fame in the early world of American jazz. The label in this mandolin says A. Stathopoulo / Manufacturer of All Kinds of Musical Instruments / Patentee of Orpheum Lyra (Liouto) / New York 1912 USA with the number “2” in the date being hand-inked. Its condition is 100% original and remarkably clean and never intruded upon. The “skirt”, basically a decorative item, is a tiny bit loose down at the bottom and two of the fingerboard inlays are missing, one partially gone, all simple items to take care of. The neck is perfectly straight, the action is excellent, and its tones are wonderful with an amazing amount of volume. It has twenty-three Brazilian rosewood ribs with white holly spacers, a nine-piece laminated neck, a hand-engraved tailpiece cover, and the encircled “A. Stathopoulo New York” logo impressed into the center of the spruce top. This is an extremely important piece in American musical instrument history, a very early example of prime workmanship from the founder of one of our country’s pioneers in musical instrument making. $1995 w/ssc
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