Gibson mandolin serial number dating

While factory order numbers can be used to determine an approximate manufacturing date, it was not uncommon for instruments to remain unsold at the factory for many months or sometimes up to several years. Martin, Gibson's use of their serial number and factory order number systems was highly irregular and is still not fully understood by historians and collectors.

Factory order numbers were intended solely for in-house use to help keep track of instruments and costs during the production process.

All instruments manufactured by Gibson prior to and during World War II were assigned factory order numbers, although in some cases these numbers do not appear anywhere on the instruments.

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