kijiji.ca/v-guitar/muskoka/chu...489582725 Any idea what this might be worth? My birthday is coming up and this banjo is dangerously close to home.
The ones that have come to my attention over the last five years ran from $8k US dollars to perhaps $14k.
The 8k banjo had replacement hooks and 5th string tuner but was otherwise original with finish wear to the back of the neck in the first position. The 14k banjo had a few factory original custom features, including a presentation grade fingerboard inlay and a rare heel carving design.
Originality has a significant influence on the price, there is no condition statement from the seller of the banjo you are looking at, and the photos are not clear enough to discern much. It appears that the tuners have been changed and the peghead over-sprayed and at least slightly altered to accept the tuners. The fingerboard inlay is not a standard Bacon or Fairbanks pattern, so it is possible that the inlays and/or the fingerboard have been changed. I recommend that this instrument be inspected in-hand by someone who knows Fairbanks and Bacon banjos very well prior to purchase.
I'm not going to give a number, but I would suggest the price on this one should be lower rather than higher.
I would check with Shawn McSweeny (BanjoHangout - esmic). He is exceptionally knowledgeable about Bacon Professional FF banjos.
I would say that among banjo collectors, that particular banjo is probably among the most desirable non-Gibson five strings to have.
Seems to have a few issues, but none fatal. Last one I saw for sale was about 5 years ago and it was a little beat up, but all original. The seller wanted over 10k for it. I don’t think he ever sold it and has since passed. His kids probably garage saled it for $50.00.
No real idea as what that one is worth, but I would say easy over 6-8 K USD.
Interesting to see this banjo, Im talking to a builder about making an internal rez banjo. This one is a beauty.
Bill Rogers (Moderator)
The market for early 20th c. premium openbacks has been drifting downward for some time. Particularly given the damage from installing the guitar tuners, I would not rate this as an $8k banjo at all, though I may be wrong. I doubt the seller knows what it is worth, though perhaps he or she knows what it was worth.
totally concur Bill. It looks like a gorgeous banjo but the market for these is nowhere near what it was even in the last decade.
When an ad says things like, "I know what it is worth, no low ballers", then I know that even if I want the item, I won't be able to purchase the item.
He's going to have difficulty selling it to anybody without posting a price, better pictures, and an accurate description.
After further study, it is my opinion that the fingerboard on this banjo is a replacement, and that the work was not done by Fairbanks/Vega, the Bacon company, or any of the other builders associated with Bacon during the time these banjos were being made.
Note the lack of a fingerboard inlay at the 12th fret, and the presence of inlays at the 10th and 14th frets. Apparently, whoever inlaid the fingerboard referenced a Stewart or similar banjo when they decided where to place the inlays. The style of the "trillium" or "fan" at the first fret is not right for a Bacon Pro; and in general, the style of the inlays are not characteristic of Bacon or F/V products of the period.
Reference http://www.billsbanjos.com/Chubby.htm for a good example of an early Dragon.
In its current configuration, this banjo should be considered a "player's instrument" rather than an "original collector's piece," and should be priced accordingly.
It still might be a really good banjo if the tone ring has survived intact. From what little I can see in the pictures, it looks ok; but an in-hand inspection would be necessary to make sure.
Edited by - rcc56 on 03/13/2020 15:42:34
I agree with what's been written about the tuners and downward market drift.
However, regarding the fingerboard : the first fret inlay is Consalvi engraved so the fingerboard is likely original. Additionally, this is not the only Chubby Dragon with Stewart position inlays. A peghead shot of mine was used in my Fretboard Journal Consalvi article (Boston's Pearly King) a few years ago. Not pictured was the fingerboard, with its inlays in Stewart positions.
To promote Bacon's new line of banjos, a number of the early Chubby Dragons went to banjo teachers or top performers. if one of them was using a Stewart, the easist way to get him to switch to Bacon was to send him a top of the line Bacon banjo with inlays in Stewart positions.
I'll defer to Shawn's opinion on this one-- he's seen many more of these banjos than I.
It would still be nice to see some clear pictures.
But a question . . . doesn't the combination of a 14th fret inlay with one at the 9th instead of the 10th seem like a rather bizarre choice?? 9 + 14 + 17 spells E minor on the first string, rather than C major with the usual 10 + 14 + 17 Stewart placement.
Oops. Ignore my last comment about fret placement. My sense of observation is not functioning well tonight.
Too bad about those tuners. Otherwise, I see no obvious issues with his banjo except that I don’t own it.
I enquired. Asking Can. $12K. Works out to about US $8,300.
I was going to say, our dollar is pretty bad right now. Maybe one of you can get a deal.
I would not advise anyone to purchase that instrument without much clearer pictures.
8300 USD is pretty much what I would pay for this instrument from a reputable dealer like Smakula, Bernunzio or Gruhns. Restored and perfect. From them I would get a accurate description and some reliable and trusted assurance that the instrument was exactly as described.
8300 from a internet posting. No way on earth. Even at half that. The guy is dreaming and living in the 80’s, hoping and waiting on a call from a dealer in Japan. Not going to happen.
'Mr. Mike Gregory...' 11 min
'"Saskatoon" wood' 45 min
'Tascam CD-GT2' 57 min
'Fret work' 3 hrs
'Mom passed away' 4 hrs
'Tabledit' 8 hrs
'Good Tuesday Morning' 11 hrs