An interesting and early flat-back mandolin, patented in 1902 in England for Ewald Glaesel, from Markneukirchen, Germany (that's C. F. Martin Sr.'s hometown). Original paper label reads "By His Majesty's Royal Letters Patent" and gives the origin only as the "Neopolitan College of Music" so we're assuming this was made for the English market. Conforms to the drawing on the patent application except for the headstock, which in the drawings had wood friction pegs. This example thankfully has quite good geared tuners, and also a handsome pickguard. Instruments from the Markneukirchen region were often made for a long period without getting changed, so we're unsure when this instrument was made but we're guessing it was within about a fifteen year period that straddled World War I. String action is a bit high but could be lowered, frets have some wear but it still plays well (standard mandolin string scale) with good tone and volume. The soundboard is much larger than a typical bowl-back or flat-back mandolin of the period, but thanks to the shallow body it doesn't sound tubby and has good projection. We think this mandolin has a great vintage vibe, with a rustic but sophisticated appearance, and best of all it's a decorative instrument that's actually playable.