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Fairbanks No.1 Senator value/year help?

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Feb 26, 2020 - 6:39:36 PM
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12 posts since 2/26/2020

Hey all,
Again, new here and really appreciating the expertise and help from the community. I have another banjo that I'm helping sell for a nice lady that was left a collection of Banjos when her husband passed.

This is a Fairbanks No.1 Senator...serial 21823. Could you help identify any replaced parts, issues, value? Pictures attached...

Any help is appreciated!

Thanks so much everyone.


Feb 26, 2020 - 9:34:45 PM

12655 posts since 10/30/2008

That looks pretty nice! I'm no expert but at first blush it looks all original (and nice). $1500+?? $2000+

It would be helpful if you provided head diameter and scale length, and maybe a clearer photo of the fingerboard -- some of that binding looks boogered up? Or is it just the photo?

Does it have a case?

Feb 26, 2020 - 10:28:20 PM



2562 posts since 2/20/2016
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The banjo was built approximately 1902, which makes it a "pre-fire" Fairbanks banjo. There was a factory fire in 1904, and shortly after Vega bought the Fairbanks company for $925.

Everything that I can see clearly in the pictures appears to be original, except maybe the nut, and perhaps the bridge and the head.  I just came across your Reverb listing, and all the hardware looks good.  

This model would have been in the lower mid level of the Fairbanks line when it was made. It's a little hard to put a price on it, we don't see a lot of pre-fire Fairbanks instruments.  Maybe $1500 [????], maybe more, probably not too much less.

Edited by - rcc56 on 02/26/2020 22:38:22

Feb 27, 2020 - 4:14:40 AM

2076 posts since 4/7/2010

A detail i notice is the ebonized hardwood fretboard has shrunk quite a bit. The dyes used to make the wood black, and now turned to brown 118 years after manufacture, cause the wood's cell structure to decompose often causing cracks, or just falling off the neck. 90% of banjos with that type of fretboard that come into our shop will receive a new ebony fretboard with the original inlays reinstalled. 

That said, a $1,500 price might be optimistic in it's current condition.

Bob Smakula

Edited by - Bob Smakula on 02/27/2020 04:21:48

Feb 27, 2020 - 5:49:01 AM
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5051 posts since 9/21/2007

BHO-- free appraisals for everyone!

Feb 27, 2020 - 6:15:15 AM
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301 posts since 5/29/2015

The price of an unsold banjo is only evidence of a price ceiling.

Feb 27, 2020 - 7:59:04 AM

1482 posts since 2/12/2009

Reverb pics are all blurred when I try to look !

Feb 27, 2020 - 9:12:28 AM

12 posts since 2/26/2020

I know, i know :/
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

BHO-- free appraisals for everyone!

Feb 27, 2020 - 9:16:59 AM



90 posts since 8/9/2019

I had a Vega 1925 Senator type N in great shape. Looked extremely similar to the one posted here. I paid about $1500cad

Feb 27, 2020 - 3:44:19 PM

12 posts since 2/26/2020

We priced it out at 999 with the case. Just looking to get them into a good home and at a fair price, so i appreciate the help everyone.

Feb 27, 2020 - 5:15:38 PM

12655 posts since 10/30/2008

Are you posting it on BHO Classifieds at $999? What kind of a case comes with it? Photos?

Mar 10, 2020 - 9:02:08 AM

12 posts since 2/26/2020

I posted it on reverb for 999 and took 750.  It is sold at the moment just waiting on the check....
Originally posted by The Old Timer

Are you posting it on BHO Classifieds at $999? What kind of a case comes with it? Photos?

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