Ok, so I’m not a banjo player (guitar, actually) but an old friend was one of a ‘60s act called The Living Dolls (search Living Dolls Carol and Claudia). They were each given a Gold plated Baldwin banjo by the Baldwin Co. while performing at the Greenbriar in 1967. I can’t find a picture of one that looks like them but the serial number of Carol’s is DT-1002-C and it is a four stringer. If you found the blog that shows their record album, Carol is the blond and is holding hers while Claudia sings. For all I know they might be the only two like them or there could be a million out there. Carol is thinking of selling hers. Any info is appreciated. Thanks.
Was the serial number written on a paper label stuck to the inside of the rim?
If so, the last letter was probably a G, not a C.
By the serial number you mentioned, the banjo would be a D model tenor with the truss rod's gearbox in the heel. 1002 makes it a pretty early Baldwin, so it should have gold plated parts with no engraving.
The picture is a little fuzzy, but it looks like a standard D tenor to me, and 1967 would be the correct year for it. 67 was also the year when Baldwin gave a lot of promotional banjos away to professionals, so that fits, too.
Thanks so much, Mike! The serial number is stamped into the wood and admittedly is difficult to read. Carol didn’t know they gave away more than the two she and Claudia got so another piece of the puzzle falls into place. Anything else you might know, particularly the history of these pieces would be greatly appreciated. Carol called Claudia to see what the serial number of hers is. I will post when I find out. Just so everyone knows, and for fun, Carol became a concert pianist and professor of music at a western university. Claudia became an airline pilot and instructor for a major airline.
So if 1002 was given in 1967, that changes my Baldwin date perspective. My D's serial number is DS-946-G, ("D" style, "S" = 5 string), which I have always thought to have a manufacture date of 1968. So it appears that it was made in '67 - even though I bought it new in 1969. Also serial number 1002 must be one of the last D styles made with no engraving and before the serial number jump to 2000 and the move to Arkansas.
It is nice to have a year associated with this serial number as dating these early Baldwins has always been a "best guess".