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1936 Style 97 National Mandolin

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Guitars165 of 436abbott banjomy recent find at a storage auction
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Posted 6 years ago

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This is a 1936 Style 97 National mandolin, brass body, nickel plated with the surfer girl sand blasted image on the back. These were painted with bright colours to enhance the picture, but unfortunately most of the paint has worn off with excessive playing. It has a really old pickup installed on the cone. Quite strange but it still sounds excellent. It also has suffered from pickguard burn. Lovely piece of history.
The pickup has an "A" on it, looks about 1940. Any ideas of the brand?


  1. vetraio50 vetraio50, 6 years ago
    Visually a stunning object!
    I think it's called a National Style 97 tricone "The Surfer".
    A classic of the period, surely!

    Does it have a serial number at the end of the neck?
    There's a 1936 catalogue here:
    In it on pages 18 and 19 you will note the price of $97.50 in that year for a Model 97 with the sand blasted design!
    Mind you, you could pay $115 for a style 3 with hand engraved design!
    The pickup might even be original.
    Let's see what the experts say!
    It's a Tricone and the catalogue gives an explanation of the National's design.
    If I had to choose based on the design, today I would choose yours.
    Thank you for sharing this Tricone "Surfer"!
  2. Fazza, 6 years ago
    Hi, Thanks guys for the nice comments and interest, it really is a lovely piece. I have been interested in these guitars and mandolins for years. Have a few of them, but this is the most rare. Very few of these made as it was the end of the era. Bob Brozman has 2 others in his list in his book, one fully coloured and one re-plated. If anyone has an idea about the pickup please let me know. As I said it has a "A" on it.
    Serial number B 1181

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