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  • 1920s Pagani 12 String Italian Mandolin

1920s Pagani 12 String Italian Mandolin

1920s Pagani 12 String Italian Mandolin

If ever you wanted a true souvenir of a true music store on Bleecker Street in New York, here’s your chance. Unusual 12-string mandolin (3+3+3+3), with a label inside that reads O. PAGANI & BROS / 289 BLEECKER ST / NEW YORK / FABRICANTI / DI / STRUMENTI / ARMONIOCI The Pagani music store was right up the block from my store, from probably the 1920s or so through the early 1970s, when they closed. I knew that store, was a wonderful old place, with a high ceiling, a balcony, old showcases, and hundreds and hundreds of old 78 RPM records, sheet music and the like, all in Italian, and mandolins, guitars, and accordions like you’ve never seen, all for the Italian-American community that had thrived here since the 1880s. This part of Bleecker Street had been the shopping center for these immigrants and their descendants until around the late 1980s, when the last of the bakers, butchers, fishmongers, newsstands, candy stores, furniture stores and all the other little shops that make up a community had for the most part become restaurants and trinket shops aimed at tourists. My own store had been an Italian delicacy shop through the 1940s. Today I, along with a coal-oven pizzeria, a butcher, a pork store, and a pastry shop, are the only ones that have been here for more than twenty-five years, all of us for forty to a hundred years. So….back to Pagani, and this mandolin. It would seem to have been made in Italy, with Pagani’s label in it as the importer/seller. Why it has twelve strings, I have no idea; perhaps one of you out there knows of some traditional form of Italian music that it's suited to? Or maybe just to get half again as much sound? One things is for sure; the tone of this mandolin is spectacularly clear, and there’s TONS of it. It has thirteen rosewood ribs, a fine spruce top, a genuine tortoise shell pickguard inlaid into the top with a beautify mother-of-pearl and abalone shell floral spray inlaid into it. The bridge is solid ivory, or perhaps bone. The action is excellent, could use a little setup work and it’s ready to go; the number two tuner is a little sticky. This fine instrument is in most excellent, original condition; one teeny, short hairline crack at the end of one rib, took me forever to find it, suggest it be left alone. Comes with its original American-made, fitted leather case, seen better days. Offered as is at $695 w/ohsc



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