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SOLD For Sale: SOLD: SOLD!.....1939 Original 5 string RB1 Gibson Banjo

Posted By: bryantde (+121) | Rate Member
 Member 10+ Years  Verified Seller

$12,500 USD

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A Gibson catalog of the 1930s promised that the RB-1 offered “sparkling, bell-like brilliancy of tone” along with “powerful volume and trueness equalled only by the famous Mastertone models”. This example dates to 1939 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) and was originally exported to South Africa; the back of the peghead bears the “Made in the U.S.A.” stamp typical of export instruments and the inside of the resonator features both a “Made in U.S.A.” export sticker and the yellow sticker of Gibson’s leading South African retailer of the time, H. Polliack and Co., Ltd.
The lack of a handstop, Kluson tuners with Catalin buttons, and horizontal “Gibson” logo are all features characteristic of late 1930s Gibson banjos; although many style 1 banjos began featuring simple dot fingerboard inlays as early as 1936 (see RB-1 #919-5), this example retains the “fleur-de-lis” inlay pattern more commonly associated with the model. As was common practice in this period, this banjo is marked with a true serial number stamped on the back of the peghead; the numeric portion of the serial number is also written in chalk inside the resonator.
While #EA-5317 does not appear in Gibson’s original shipping ledgers, an entry for October 20, 1939 does list RB-1 #EA-5312 and RB-1 #EA-5315 being sent to Polliack. There is a high probability that #EA-5317 was also shipped to Polliack on that day but was not duly recorded due to a shipping clerk’s error. This banjo remains in exceptionally clean, original condition with a pristine prewar 5 string red-line case .
You will be hard pressed to find one in this original condition and fantastic sound anywhere, and I have seen many of the original 5 string style 1s over the years!
It has never had spikes installed in neck and was virtually un-played IMO.
Metal is like brand new condition……Original Frying pan Kluson tuners with 5th and nice original catalin buttons!
Pics show a prewar presto on banjo but a few years back I put the original Grover windowpane tailpiece back on banjo so that is what it will sell with!
Price $12,500 banjo and HSC
Price $11,000 for banjo without case
Don Bryant NC banjo luthier


United States, Thurmond, NC, 28683


Would rather not ship banjo....prefer pickup in person

Payment Methods:

Check/Money Order, Cash (in person)

Return Policy:

Returns not accepted.

Condition of Item(s):

Used - Excellent Condition




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