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For Sale: RARE Collector Banjo: First Stelling Golden Cross (1975) ever made

Posted By: arkkeith | Rate Member
 Member 4+ Years  Verified Seller

$12,000 USD

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Can I take a picture with your banjo? That is the most common question I get from onlookers. This is a truly unique and rare opportunity to own a piece of musical history. The #9 Golden Cross is a one of a kind banjo and will never be duplicated. A collectors item that is playable with the classic Stelling sound. This is the very FIRST Golden Cross made by Geoff Stelling. It is the 9th banjo that Mr. Stelling made. It is also the first banjo that Mr. Stelling made to have the trademarked Stelling peg head shape. This Golden Cross banjo was made by Mr. Stelling while he was still working out of his garage in California (before he moved to Virginia and opened his banjo factory). I sent the banjo to Mr. Stelling in Afton, Virginia at the end of 2014 so that he could professionally clean the instrument. After receiving it, Mr. Stelling contacted and asked me if he could refurbish the banjo to protect the wood finish and the instrument in general. I agreed to let Mr. Stelling refurbish the banjo exactly 40 years after he made it. The following is an excerpt from an email that Mr. Stelling wrote to me in 2014.

"Historically, the banjo was completed on February 5, 1975 to be the second banjo made that year. It was made for and named for Tony Golden who wanted something relating to a Maltese Cross on the banjo. The resonator back was made out of 14 separate pieces of wood glued together comprised of Japanese birch for the legs of the cross and black walnut surrounding those legs. The resonator sides were made of solid wood pieces and the entire structure turned on a hand made lathe by me in my garage shop in La Mesa, CA. The process of making such a resonator was so cumbersome and dangerous that I never made another one like it. It is truly remarkable that it is still intact after all these years. Refinishing it would only make it more beautiful and probably add some element of protection to the wood that it does not have as it is."

The Golden Cross is a banjo made famous by Don Reno. The Stelling Banjo website says that Don Reno played a Golden Cross for the last 10 years of his life and it was featured on many of his recordings with Bill Harrell.

The sound quality is classic Stelling and this banjo is a show stopper. Golden Cross banjos made after this Golden Cross only had a small cross on the back of the resonator and modern Golden Crosses no longer have a cross on the resonator. Every time that I took this banjo to jam sessions, people would ask to take their picture with it.

I am not a professional photographer. I laid the banjo on a bed sheet to take some of these pictures. Eventually, I decided to photograph the banjo outside because I had difficulty getting a good picture without reflections from the light on the ceiling, etc... The finish on the back of the banjo is high gloss and reflects light. This can be challenging when you are trying to get a good picture of the resonator. I did my best to show everyone how beautiful the woodwork is on this instrument but it is difficult to capture in a picture. I don’t know why but the pictures look dull on the website but the finish is actually very bright and shiny. This Golden Cross is in the same great condition that Mr. Stelling sent it to me in February of 2015. There are no nicks, scratches or dents in any of the woodwork on the banjo.

It is also important to note that this is not a beginner instrument, but is one that an advanced or professional musician would play as there are no fret markers (dots) on the side of the neck. A collector won’t care but an inexperienced player might.

This is a collectors item. It is more than an instrument. It is a work of art and a rare find. I will not entertain a trade for this banjo. My price is firm and to me, it's a bargain. I will not send the banjo to someone and then receive payment at a later date. Anyone interested is welcome to travel to Arkansas to see and play the instrument before purchasing. For nationwide or international buyers: I will ship the banjo to the buyer only after funds are received

Leave your name and phone number and I will call you.


United States, Conway, AR, 72033

Payment Methods:

Cash (in person), Paypal

Payment Option Notes:

I will accept a cashiers check. No personal checks, etc...

Return Policy:

Returns not accepted.

Condition of Item(s):

Used - Mint Condition




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This ad will automatically expire 3/11/2018 8:41:40 AM unless updated before that date. To keep the system current, ads expire if not updated for more than 60 days.

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