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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: A.C Fairbanks-*MORE Pictures added*

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tgpicker - Posted - 06/27/2010:  17:38:40

friend just showed up while camping with an old banjo. took some pictures but can't upload while at camp. using my smart phone to start the conversation.

....edit... posted pictures...WIFI available.....

labeled as

farther down the wood rod it has
between these is a '1' or a straight line - this where the serial number should be I guess but hard to believe this no 1.

other marks include a stamped initial "K.L.S." as well as the same initials scratch in the wood.

The head has "Joe B. Rogers Jr.- Union Brand Warranted"

Tailpiece looks plastic and says
Sept.21 F&C PAT. 1886

condition of neck- missing some frets and a little beat up. pot looks in great shape.

how old is this thing and what is it worth fixed up or as is?

I told her the hangout would be able to help. Will post pictures as soon as i'm back to civilization.

Edited by - tgpicker on 06/28/2010 12:01:24

AC Fairbanks and Co

Inside Ininials

Serial Number


deuceswilde - Posted - 06/27/2010:  19:23:12

The tailpiece is celluloid, and will soon be destroyed if those wire strings are tightened.

Pictures of the peghead, neck, fingerboard, etc. would help. All banjos are worth fixing up, just keep in mind that this is not a modern banjo and was not intended to have wire strings on it.

Gut, or more reasonably priced, nylon is the only way to safely go.

Marc Nerenberg - Posted - 06/27/2010:  19:34:35

Celluloid! I knew it wasn't plastic...and it didn't look like ivory. Never thought of celluloid.

Post some pictures of the whole banjo, please. These close-ups give us some information, but we have no overview.

I'm wondering if the "Special" name and lack of serial number means its a custom model...?

It certainly looks to me like it pre-dates the 20th century.

It ought to be restored. (And those steel strings should be removed, post haste!)

Edited by - Marc Nerenberg on 06/27/2010 22:32:20

Kimerer - Posted - 06/27/2010:  20:21:16

Fairbanks used those tail pieces quite a bit I guess. There is one on my little Fairbanks & Cole A-scale banjo, circa 1890. Photos at

I had my tail piece installed upside down when I took the photos.

Like the other guys said, don't ever put steel strings on it.


I just noticed that your tail piece says "F & C" on it. Fairbanks & Cole, just like mine.

Edited by - Kimerer on 06/27/2010 20:24:51

Bill Rogers - Posted - 06/27/2010:  22:03:32

If the inlays are plain it's a Special No. 0. The Special was a model, nothing custom about it.

tgpicker - Posted - 06/28/2010:  11:29:59

A few more pictures

From searching on the net this seems to be 1885-1895 range. Not sure if everything is original- I have added a few more pictures but will need to take some more later. There is no inlay on the neck which is missing a few frets. Can't find a serial number. I guess this is probably a No. 1 Special.

Here are some old bridges and some strings found in the case. I guess they are old but made of wire and not to be used on this model. A few original wrenches. Any value to these other items for collectors on the hangout?


tgpicker - Posted - 06/28/2010:  19:25:20

So I think I have found a serial number

"3" is stamped on the wood rim next to the dowel and also on the top side of the dowel itself (I had to use a mirror to see this). I guess the serial number should be 4 or 5 digits but "3" is clearly there where the longer serial number should be. Could this be an early version or prototype?

This looks like a AC Fairbanks No 1 Special or No 1 Special Electric-

Perhaps serial number 3

Any estimates on what its worth?

Thanks (also thanks to Hank Schwartz for telling me where to look for the SN)

Bill Rogers - Posted - 06/28/2010:  19:33:00

Hank is one of the two "go-to guys" on Fairbanks banjos. It could be #3. It's not an Electric--no tone ring. Value depends on condition. You might ask Hank.

deuceswilde - Posted - 06/28/2010:  19:44:31

I'm not seeing a electric tonering.

The Old Timer - Posted - 06/28/2010:  19:50:32

Those wrenches are worth something. Put 'em up for sale!

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