(Note that the 5th string appears to be tunneled between the pip and thumb peg.)
"I just wanted to share a photograph of my great grandfather William Nelson (Billie) Coffey with a homemade banjo. He was born in Wayne Co., KY in 1894 and died in Scott Co., TN in 1963. This picture was probably made sometime around 1910 I believe. I can't tell much about this homemade banjo, although it looks like a tackhead or maybe the bottom of a bucket. When my grandmother was a girl he would sit behind the heating stove and play. He picked up a cheap Sears-Roebuck banjo sometime about that time and that was the banjo that he played until he died. My cousin has that banjo in her possession, although no one knows what came of the fretless banjo in this picture." - Jordan Hughett
This is a fascinating picture. I love your great-grandfather's total focus right into the camera lens, his bowtie, his suspenders, his pressed shirt, his careful pose with his banjo. I bet he just loved playing it, especially since you said he played his whole life. He had many years ahead of him. Thank you for sharing it. A glimpse of the past, and all our pasts.