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Provenance: None; I acquired this from an eBay seller who knew my reputation and so immediately closed the auction so I could get it affordably. And now pass those savings on to another! I used this along with my other Dyer harp mandolin on my all-Knutsen project, so it has been immortalized on CD and in the companion book. While it is an historically important model, I simply can't squeeze it into my display.
I have written much about this model. (See The Dyer Optical Illusion Harp Mandolin and W. J. Dyer & Bro. 1907/1908 Catalog.) For decades, Larson descendant, researcher and collector Robert Carl Hartman never ran across this one. It was only pictured in an engraving in W. J. Dyer & Bro.'s monthly Cadenza ads in 1908. In 2012, the first one appeared "in the flesh" and Bob and I were pretty excited. Then in the following three years, another two specimens surfaced!
This is the third of those found. Unfortunately, it has no label but can easily be dated to those two short years and is a Style 20 as seen in the 1907 catalog.
Condition is as seen in the photos. Cracks and braces are secure. It has a dip above the soundhole as every single Dyer harp mandolin seems to have. It's possible that it's rather average tone could be slightly beefed up with that section re-braced (as I have done on Dyer harp guitars rather than doing a neck reset). Everyone knows that Dyer harp guitars sound fantastic - as good as it gets. But anyone who tells you that Larson's Dyer harp mandolins sound great is lying. But they are delightful -playable, sweet and unique!
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