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Bart Reiter Banjos

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valuation estimate wanted

From atleson on 8/5/2020 5:31:54 PM

Hi all,  I have to trim my collection for many reasons, and one on the possible list is a Bart Reiter Grand Concert ,bacon type banjo, with the full flower pot inlay on the headstock.  Any idea what it might be worth?  Excellent condition.

5 Comments

Patrick Dengate says:
5/21/2020 10:59:59 AM

Oh, those things are hard to unload. I'll give you $100 to take it off your hands.

Seriously, though… it would depend on the current market and whether it's the "Professional" (2 f-holes in the resonator) or the "Grand Concert" (8 f-holes). Also, extras like an armrest, frailing scoop, some exotic bridge, head signed by Pete Seeger, etc. might bump the value, but I'm not sure about that. Given that yours has the flower pot inlay, it's probably the GC.

I bought a Reiter "Grand Concert" last year for $1,400. It was originally $1,500 but the seller discovered some small damage to the neck and volunteered to lower the price. Seeing what Bart's "Whyte Laydies" go for here, I'd say that's about right.

jbalch says:
8/6/2020 4:56:33 AM

The Grand Concert model is differientated by having Bacon-style engraved flowerpot peghead and engraved fingerboard inlay . The Professional has only a simple (non-engraved) star in the pegead & fingerboard dots.

The number of f-holes in the back is determined by when the banjo was made. From what I understand, prior to the early 1990s the f-holes were individually cut by hand. Two (2) holes was standard on both the GC and PF models. If you wanted eight (8), that was a custom order at extra cost. Sometime prior to when I ordered my first GC (1994), Bart set up a jig to make cutting those holes easier. From that time forwatd, eight holes was the standard on both models. I have a 1988 grand Concert with two f-holes that is a KILLER banjo (best sounding internal resonator I've ever played).

Earlier models also have fingerboard binding, I don't remember for sure what year that was discontinued as a standard feature. Some earlier examples are more likely to have figured or birdseye maple veneer on the resonator too. Custom features were available into the 1990s (carving, extra inlay on heelcap & back of peglead, peghead bindings ...etc).

One very important thing to consider is that these Reiter banjos have a complete Bacon-style Internal resonator system. Most (not absolutely all) have the spun-brass Bacon tone ring inside the resonator chamber. The Bacon system is designed to create a specific sound which enhances the bass tones and "resonates" giving the banjo a bigger sound overall ... hence the "ff" double "forte" designation. Some maker today produce so-called internal resonator models today which are often nothing more than a wooden ring screwed or glued on the back of a rim. That configuration has the look of an IR - but not the function & sound of the complete Bacon system.

These Reiter IR banjos are very hard to find now. They have been out of production for many years. They are not often available ... so the market is "thin," Prices depend completely on who is more motivated - the buyer or seller.

One thing to consier is - what would it cost to have a custom builder duplicate someting exactly like it today. The answer (I think) is: easily $3,000+. So IMHO a price of $2,000 - $2500 is very reasonable for a good Grand Concert. Custom models (with extra inlay & carvings) should command a good bit more. If you are fortunate to find them for much less - congratulations ... that is awesome for you!

For disclosure - I have a few of these banjos which are NOT for sale at any price. Best wishes!

jbalch says:
8/6/2020 5:02:37 AM

One more thing - the title photo for the Bart Reiter Banjos" group - is a 1994 Grand Concert (with many custom features). The engraved flower pot inlay in that photo is standrd for the Grand Concert model. It is one of my all -time favorite inlay patterns ... which as I stated above ... would be VERY expensive to duplicate by any custom builder today.

Lamar Peckham says:
8/6/2020 11:20:33 AM

I have Reiter Double F Professional. I've had it at least 25 years, maybe more. What can you tell me about it?

atleson says:
8/13/2020 4:56:54 AM

I'M not sure what I can add to John Balch's comments above. The Grand Concert is in fine condition, I think never repaired, has that fancy flower pot inlay on the headstock is special, and Bart is unlikely to ever make another.


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