I have a 5 string (in the UK we call it a G string banjo) It's a Hondo Masterpiece in perfect condition, it's over 30 years old and hardly been played. The neck is hand carved and mother of pearl detail on the neck and fret board. Can anyone give me an indication how much my banjo is worth? Thank you.
Hondo was always a budget/student brand of instruments from an American company with outsourced Asian manufacturing. First Japan, then Korea, then China and Taiwan. Samick was an early maker of Hondo guitars. I don't know for sure about the banjos, but the few Hondo banjos I've seen looked a lot like Samick instruments. They were fairly generic, that's for sure.
Sight unseen, I'm going to say $500 tops, on a good day. Though maybe in the UK, where I understand banjos are hard to come by, it could get more. Maybe 75-80% of the UK's going rate for a used RK-35.
These can be good banjos either for beginners or for someone looking for a step up from a bottle cap and who can't quite afford a used RK-35.
Your Hondo is towards the upper end of the range. The neck carving ID's it. These necks tend to be rather chunky. I have seen a few of these here. They tend also be be badly put together. Sorry I cannot advise a value.
Mssterpiece was a term used by Samick for a Mastertone-ish tone ring. I've seen them in aluminum and mystery metal. One I remember being stamped HB-250 which I assumed stood for Hondo Banjo but it has the Sam Ick stylized S in the headstock with no other name. Samick once boasted they made over half of all musical instruments produced in the world. Impressive and probably true in the mid 1990s when I read it.
I don't know what importer was behind Hondo but I've seen guitars under that brand that I've never seen with any other name plate. Most memorable to me were a pair of solid body copies of 36 fret Danelectro Longhorn guitar and bass with DiMarzio pickups—although innovative, they used wide/fat wire that made the upper frets unplayable. This was years before anyone tried to make accurate copies of these.