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Mar 6, 2020 - 8:53:43 PM
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CamC

Canada

299 posts since 7/12/2012

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.

Mar 6, 2020 - 11:16:31 PM
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rcc56

USA

2740 posts since 2/20/2016

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.

Mar 7, 2020 - 3:31:16 AM

4646 posts since 3/22/2008

I would check with Shawn McSweeny (BanjoHangout - esmic). He is exceptionally knowledgeable about Bacon Professional FF banjos.

Mar 7, 2020 - 5:40:15 AM

863 posts since 5/19/2018

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.

Mar 13, 2020 - 12:09:03 PM

9 posts since 6/5/2005

Interesting to see this banjo, Im talking to a builder about making an internal rez banjo. This one is a beauty.

Mar 13, 2020 - 2:00:38 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

23406 posts since 6/25/2005

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.

Mar 13, 2020 - 2:43:50 PM

813 posts since 2/17/2005

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.

Mar 13, 2020 - 3:21:44 PM

23 posts since 4/26/2018

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.

Mar 13, 2020 - 3:22:16 PM

rcc56

USA

2740 posts since 2/20/2016

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

Mar 13, 2020 - 5:16:16 PM
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esmic

Canada

255 posts since 6/27/2011

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.

Mar 13, 2020 - 9:55:15 PM

rcc56

USA

2740 posts since 2/20/2016

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.

Mar 13, 2020 - 10:25:03 PM

rcc56

USA

2740 posts since 2/20/2016

Oops. Ignore my last comment about fret placement. My sense of observation is not functioning well tonight.

Mar 24, 2020 - 6:35:25 AM

10679 posts since 10/27/2006

Too bad about those tuners. Otherwise, I see no obvious issues with his banjo except that I don’t own it.

Mar 24, 2020 - 1:21:11 PM

10679 posts since 10/27/2006

I enquired. Asking Can. $12K. Works out to about US $8,300.

Mar 24, 2020 - 1:49:21 PM

CamC

Canada

299 posts since 7/12/2012

I was going to say, our dollar is pretty bad right now. Maybe one of you can get a deal.

Mar 24, 2020 - 7:34:18 PM

rcc56

USA

2740 posts since 2/20/2016

I would not advise anyone to purchase that instrument without much clearer pictures.

Mar 24, 2020 - 8:02:24 PM
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863 posts since 5/19/2018

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.

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