Circa 1926 Gibson Poinsettia Ukulele
From the “Rare as Hen’s Teeth” Department comes this little tidbit: The Holy Grail of Ukes is for sale! That’s right, now you too can own the Holy Grail of the Ukulele world.
Up for sale on various auction sites like eBay and GBase is one 1926 Gibson Poinsettia Ukulele. And for a mere $11,579.00 it can be all yours.
Granted, these are pretty rare Ukuleles. There just aren’t a whole lot of them available anymore. I’m not sure how many exactly were made and how many survived, but I know of at least one other in existence, which is owned by a Ukulele Underground member, who posted about it here a few years ago.
The one being sold now is owned by Distinctive Guitar of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The condition is listed in various places as “Fair” and in others as “VG/EXC,” so take that as you will. The seller does acknowledge that this model has had some cracks repaired.
“This ukulele is in VG/EXC Vintage condition, there were some cracks on the back that were professionally sealed by Third Coast Guitar Service in Chicago, IL a couple weeks ago,” he notes.
According to the seller:
The headstock has “The Gibson” which puts is pre-1928 so this is one of the earliest ones made. Post 1928 you see just “Gibson” on the headstock logo and the fingerboard markers are often painted poinsettia’s instead of hand inlaid designs on the real vintage bakelite.
I’ve often wondered why Gibson made these Ukuleles with Mahogany bodies and plastic fretboards. Bakelite, as you probably know, is a form of plastic, which was used for lots of things in the 1920s. Whole Ukuleles were made of plastic in those days. The fretboards on these Ukes are not Bakelite, however, they are another form of plastic called Ivoroid. Why Gibson chose to make a hybrid wood-plastic Uke is interesting.
According to Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars, the Gibson Poinsettia was available from 1927-1928 and featured “custom floral ornamentation with red poinsettia flowers on body and fingerboard, ivoroid fingerboard and peghead veneer, pearl logo.” They also were available as custom models from 1929 until the early 1930s.
I have to admit, it’s a very pretty Uke. Gibson spent a lot of time and care preparing these models. And with its original case, it’s a pretty cool find. But I’m not sure it’s worth the asking price. Possibly half the asking price is more appropriate, considering this one has been repaired and has wear from use. But it certainly would look nice in anyone’s collection.