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Antiques Roadshow banjo segments

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Jul 6, 2020 - 4:05:04 PM
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2271 posts since 12/31/2005
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Just bored, so I compiled these for your collective aggravation, I mean enjoyment:

Gibson RB-11

Gibson RB-1

1928 Gibson Granada

1922 Vega Fairbanks Tubaphone 9

1927 Gibson Florentine Tenor

SS Stewart

Another SS Stewart

Fairbanks Whyte Laydie 7

Edited by - Brian Murphy on 07/06/2020 16:05:34

Jul 6, 2020 - 4:28:11 PM

pjfolino

Australia

652 posts since 9/20/2011

"The more heavy they are the more valuable they are"......?????

Jul 6, 2020 - 4:30:26 PM
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beegee

USA

21753 posts since 7/6/2005

Ken farmer said the RB-1 looked all-original and had an East Indian rosewood fingerboard(he actually said "neck") I guess he missed the Paramount tailpiece...

Jul 6, 2020 - 5:03:44 PM

38 posts since 3/4/2017

Wow, that Florentine with the Style 6 fingerboard....interesting!!! If that man is looking to liquidate that banjo now in 2020, please call me! :)

Jul 6, 2020 - 5:10:32 PM

5394 posts since 9/21/2007

watch.knpb.org/video/appraisal...5-ws3t5w/

There was no "S. S. Stewart Company" in 1900-1905. That banjo was not made by Stewart & Bauer or The Bauer Company.

It is clearly an early R&L product with the MOP fingerboard.

It is extremely rare to find a Stewart banjo that was unmarked, I think I have only seen one and it was a very early fretless (like 1884 or so).

These are always disappointing.

Jul 6, 2020 - 5:24:29 PM

895 posts since 10/31/2007
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Thanks for finding these.
It is unfortunate most if not all are not being played and are not set up. If I was on the Roadshow as an appraiser who played, I would have picks, a tuner and tools and take a couple minutes to tweak it before recording an out of tune, loose head banjo.
Nevertheless, it is great to see them!

Jul 6, 2020 - 8:06:33 PM
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75 posts since 2/4/2009

A local women, who appeared on Antiques Roadshow, described the process as a few minutes of review by the expert and then being told they would tape a segment within a few hours. They set up for the taping and the expert does the questions, looking for the "Gee Wiz" moment and then they are done. Its entertainment, not serious appraisal!

Jul 7, 2020 - 4:30 AM

95 posts since 9/2/2014

The coolest one was the guy's story about the florentine....

Jul 7, 2020 - 5:25:13 AM
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4665 posts since 3/22/2008

Brian - Thanks for collecting and posting the Roadshow segments. Great fun!!
I was very interested in Joel's "it's not an S. S. Stewart" post.
Wow. I love that banjo.
To repeat Joel's assessment it is a Rettberg & Lange product which I would peg as a Manhattan brand R&L with an added dynomite pearloid fingerboard. (see attached).
I find the peghead shape to be very attractive and is kin to R&L's early Orpheum banjos.
It's very rare to find an R&L Manhattan banjo and I think an R&L collector would be interested in that banjo.
I'm thinking the appraiser was so taken with the drawing of the girl in panties he forgot to look at the banjo.


Jul 7, 2020 - 5:26:09 AM

5394 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by tjmangum

A local women, who appeared on Antiques Roadshow, described the process as a few minutes of review by the expert and then being told they would tape a segment within a few hours. They set up for the taping and the expert does the questions, looking for the "Gee Wiz" moment and then they are done. Its entertainment, not serious appraisal!


In other words, the expert has two hours to search the BHO archives for answers...

Yet they still get it wrong.

Jul 7, 2020 - 5:37:24 AM

hbick2

USA

215 posts since 6/26/2004
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This is great. I have seen some of them before, but it's always fun to watch again.

The worst think I ever saw on the Roadshow was a guy, I don't know who it was, appraising a cheap, ugly tenor banjo. The fingerboard and resonator were totally covered in perloid or perlon or mother-of-toilet-seat, whichever you like to call it. The appraiser actually told him it was covered in real mother-of-pearl and very valuable. I can't remember anything more about it but I cringed at the time.

Jul 7, 2020 - 6:22:39 AM

10340 posts since 1/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by hbick2

This is great. I have seen some of them before, but it's always fun to watch again.

The worst think I ever saw on the Roadshow was a guy, I don't know who it was, appraising a cheap, ugly tenor banjo. The fingerboard and resonator were totally covered in perloid or perlon or mother-of-toilet-seat, whichever you like to call it. The appraiser actually told him it was covered in real mother-of-pearl and very valuable. I can't remember anything more about it but I cringed at the time.


I remember that one and he appraised it for $5000.  I think it was a Leedy Collegian model.  Hilariously wrong with the pearl and value.

Jul 7, 2020 - 6:41:14 AM
Players Union Member

Eric A

USA

701 posts since 10/15/2019
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I have to admit, that Whyte Laydie did set my heart aflutter.

Jul 7, 2020 - 6:41:23 AM

7382 posts since 8/28/2013

I have no plans to watch any of these. Although I might get a laugh or two from some of them, I'd probably mostly find only digust at people's eyes lighting up with avarice: "Oh. gosh, if Auntie only knew she'd have been rich!"

I've seen a couple of episodes of the Road Show, a few with instrument appraisals, and what bothers me is that so many times, the appraisers get things wrong and with their unfounded optimism and entertainment-based appraisals, the "values" are almost always inflated. This, in turn, helps foster a culture where some old disaster pulled from someone's attic is put up on ebay at an absurd price, and, when it is sold to some other ill-informed sucker (probably another Road Show watcher) causes the prices of better items to increase.

Jul 7, 2020 - 6:46:45 AM
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beegee

USA

21753 posts since 7/6/2005

Antiques Roadshow and American Pickers and such have really destroyed the antiques and auction markets. It used to be that you could find stuff that was affordable and flippable. Now everybody wants full retail plus and have unrealistic expectations concerning the quality of what they have.

I have two theorems:
1. Old junk is still junk
2. "Rare" oftens means the same in merchandise as it does in meat..."Not well-done."

Jul 7, 2020 - 7:18:27 AM
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5394 posts since 9/21/2007

G Edward Porgie , yep, with as bad as the instrument appraisals are it calls into question all of the items I know nothing about that are shown.

The guy with the R&L banjo was so certain that it was built by a company that did not exist at the time, if I did not know better I would have had little doubt about what he said. That is a problem.

I am not willing to give any kind of pass to these "experts" as they present themselves as professionals. If an amateur enthusiast with an internet connection, some collector friends, and a few boxes of sheet music can call them out, perhaps it is time for them to retire, or admit they are just guessing based on some limited knowledge that they have.

Jul 7, 2020 - 7:40:40 AM

1643 posts since 2/12/2009

the British AR do not usually accept instruments for all the above reasons, the few I have seen, old concertinas, old Hofner guitars are usually wildly over valued by an "expert" who describes all the superficial details wrongly and fails to even notice who the builder is as if that is an irrelevant detail .

Jul 7, 2020 - 9:40:14 AM

10340 posts since 1/15/2005

Most of the appraisers are real experts, but unless the item that comes in is exactly what the appraiser knows about then you are liable to get anything in the way of the answer and value. Ken Farmer is not an instrument expert. I think he may play mandolin a little, but still not knowledgable about all stringed instruments. Fred Oster is and gets about everything right. As an antique collector, and son of an antique dealer, I see a lot of mistakes on there, but see a lot more that are right. Some values are inflated, but quite often they will give an auction estimate and an insurance estimate which are two different things!

Jul 7, 2020 - 10:17:32 AM

5394 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by BanjoLink

Most of the appraisers are real experts, but unless the item that comes in is exactly what the appraiser knows about then you are liable to get anything in the way of the answer and value. Ken Farmer is not an instrument expert. I think he may play mandolin a little, but still not knowledgable about all stringed instruments. Fred Oster is and gets about everything right. As an antique collector, and son of an antique dealer, I see a lot of mistakes on there, but see a lot more that are right. Some values are inflated, but quite often they will give an auction estimate and an insurance estimate which are two different things!


So here is the problem...

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/appraisers/kerry-k-keane/

It is no small detail to mistake the company and city of manufacture.

Perhaps it would have been better for him to just say he was not sure who made it-- yet me, a keyboard warrior (with a follow up by John Hoft), knew exactly who built it (John even having a close match to the model series) after viewing a video clip on my IPad. 

I am NOT an expert or professional.  I am just an enthusiast (in fact, I am no longer a part of the Banjo Collectors Facebook group because a senior collector and moderator deleted my post and told me I was not qualified to comment with my limited knowledge). 

Kerry IS an expert, claiming to specialize in banjos.  I would expect him to get that right.

Jul 7, 2020 - 11:15:09 AM

5394 posts since 9/21/2007

Okay, so this guy Kerns just does not know what he is taking about.

pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/season/3...99804T02/

Really? 1885!

The Common Sense tailpiece was introduced in June of 1891.

The three octave neck was introduced in 1893 on the Special Thoroughbred (which was a 10.5" rim and pitched to D, a custom made banjo just for Alfred Farland). By the late 1890s the three octave neck was being offered to everyone on some models like the 20th Century as well as other sized Thoroughbred banjos. After George Bauer ruined the SSS family business with pure nastiness, they offered a lower priced "Monogram" banjo with a three octave neck.

That particular pattern of peg head and neck inlay does not show up until after SSS died. That puts this banjo post April of 1898. Since it is unmarked it is even later, likely Bauer Co, era of the early teens. That is if it was actually built by the Bauer Co. I'd have to see it in person as it could have been one of the B&J transition models that John Hoft is watching out for.

These are major construction changes that an "expert" of his credentials should know.

20 years is a big gap when talking banjos of the classic era.

Now, this was done in 1998 and a lot has changed since then (the availability of information today makes the 90s look like the dark ages). But a phone call to Eli Kaufman would have provided all of the above info I just posted.

Jul 7, 2020 - 11:29:10 AM

10340 posts since 1/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by BanjoLink

Most of the appraisers are real experts, but unless the item that comes in is exactly what the appraiser knows about then you are liable to get anything in the way of the answer and value. Ken Farmer is not an instrument expert. I think he may play mandolin a little, but still not knowledgable about all stringed instruments. Fred Oster is and gets about everything right. As an antique collector, and son of an antique dealer, I see a lot of mistakes on there, but see a lot more that are right. Some values are inflated, but quite often they will give an auction estimate and an insurance estimate which are two different things!


So here is the problem...

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/appraisers/kerry-k-keane/

It is no small detail to mistake the company and city of manufacture.

Perhaps it would have been better for him to just say he was not sure who made it-- yet me, a keyboard warrior (with a follow up by John Hoft), knew exactly who built it (John even having a close match to the model series) after viewing a video clip on my IPad. 

I am NOT an expert or professional.  I am just an enthusiast (in fact, I am no longer a part of the Banjo Collectors Facebook group because a senior collector and moderator deleted my post and told me I was not qualified to comment with my limited knowledge). 

Kerry IS an expert, claiming to specialize in banjos.  I would expect him to get that right.

 

 


Have you ever made a mistake on assessing a banjo?  I can send you a dozen examples of items they got wrong on Antiques Roadshow, but anecdotal incidences of mistakes is not necessarily an indictment of the entire show.  I would guess that you know more about early banjos than anyone of their experts ont he show, maybe even Fred Oster.  I would also bet that Kerry Keane knows more about Fender guitars than you do.  Because someone is a stringed instrument expert does not mean they know everything about every stringed instrument.

Jul 7, 2020 - 11:43:46 AM

5394 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by BanjoLink
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by BanjoLink

Most of the appraisers are real experts, but unless the item that comes in is exactly what the appraiser knows about then you are liable to get anything in the way of the answer and value. Ken Farmer is not an instrument expert. I think he may play mandolin a little, but still not knowledgable about all stringed instruments. Fred Oster is and gets about everything right. As an antique collector, and son of an antique dealer, I see a lot of mistakes on there, but see a lot more that are right. Some values are inflated, but quite often they will give an auction estimate and an insurance estimate which are two different things!


So here is the problem...

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/appraisers/kerry-k-keane/

It is no small detail to mistake the company and city of manufacture.

Perhaps it would have been better for him to just say he was not sure who made it-- yet me, a keyboard warrior (with a follow up by John Hoft), knew exactly who built it (John even having a close match to the model series) after viewing a video clip on my IPad. 

I am NOT an expert or professional.  I am just an enthusiast (in fact, I am no longer a part of the Banjo Collectors Facebook group because a senior collector and moderator deleted my post and told me I was not qualified to comment with my limited knowledge). 

Kerry IS an expert, claiming to specialize in banjos.  I would expect him to get that right.

 

 


Have you ever made a mistake on assessing a banjo?  I can send you a dozen examples of items they got wrong on Antiques Roadshow, but anecdotal incidences of mistakes is not necessarily an indictment of the entire show.  I would guess that you know more about early banjos than anyone of their experts ont he show, maybe even Fred Oster.  I would also bet that Kerry Keane knows more about Fender guitars than you do.  Because someone is a stringed instrument expert does not mean they know everything about every stringed instrument.


Yes, you are correct-- I am not an expert.  I know nothing of guitars or violins or even tenor banjos.  Heck, I don't know anything about Gibson banjos either.

The big difference is, when I am presented with a violin or Fender guitar, I would say "I don't know anything about these".

Kerns went on national television and was very wrong about two banjos.  Not only who made them, but major construction details like the three octave neck (which was a big deal when they came out) that clearly gives a before and after date. 

Always count the frets!

Tiny details like the month a tailpiece was put on the market can be forgivable.  But getting the company that made it wrong is not.

Jul 7, 2020 - 3:01:01 PM

10340 posts since 1/15/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by BanjoLink
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by BanjoLink

Most of the appraisers are real experts, but unless the item that comes in is exactly what the appraiser knows about then you are liable to get anything in the way of the answer and value. Ken Farmer is not an instrument expert. I think he may play mandolin a little, but still not knowledgable about all stringed instruments. Fred Oster is and gets about everything right. As an antique collector, and son of an antique dealer, I see a lot of mistakes on there, but see a lot more that are right. Some values are inflated, but quite often they will give an auction estimate and an insurance estimate which are two different things!


So here is the problem...

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/appraisers/kerry-k-keane/

It is no small detail to mistake the company and city of manufacture.

Perhaps it would have been better for him to just say he was not sure who made it-- yet me, a keyboard warrior (with a follow up by John Hoft), knew exactly who built it (John even having a close match to the model series) after viewing a video clip on my IPad. 

I am NOT an expert or professional.  I am just an enthusiast (in fact, I am no longer a part of the Banjo Collectors Facebook group because a senior collector and moderator deleted my post and told me I was not qualified to comment with my limited knowledge). 

Kerry IS an expert, claiming to specialize in banjos.  I would expect him to get that right.

 

 


Have you ever made a mistake on assessing a banjo?  I can send you a dozen examples of items they got wrong on Antiques Roadshow, but anecdotal incidences of mistakes is not necessarily an indictment of the entire show.  I would guess that you know more about early banjos than anyone of their experts ont he show, maybe even Fred Oster.  I would also bet that Kerry Keane knows more about Fender guitars than you do.  Because someone is a stringed instrument expert does not mean they know everything about every stringed instrument.


Yes, you are correct-- I am not an expert.  I know nothing of guitars or violins or even tenor banjos.  Heck, I don't know anything about Gibson banjos either.

The big difference is, when I am presented with a violin or Fender guitar, I would say "I don't know anything about these".

Kerns went on national television and was very wrong about two banjos.  Not only who made them, but major construction details like the three octave neck (which was a big deal when they came out) that clearly gives a before and after date. 

Always count the frets!

Tiny details like the month a tailpiece was put on the market can be forgivable.  But getting the company that made it wrong is not.

 

 


Joel, I didn't say you were not an expert.  I do consider you an expert on early banjos, but that is a pretty narrow field of expertise in stringed instruments, so I would not have expected Kerry to know as much as you.  Because someone is an expert doesn't make them infallible.  "I don't know" is a pretty good answer much of the time, but not often used.  I have done a number of "roadshows" for garden clubs, church groups, etc. and often tell people that have brought me things to look at that I flat don't know, or in other cases I can tell them a little about it, but encourage them to do the research after I point them in the right direction.  I hardly ever dwell on the value of an item although they almost always want to know, so I will give them a range if I have an idea.  I'll bet that I have made a mistake or two.  All of these appraisers on AR are professionals in their field, unlike some of the charlatans that are running around claiming to be experts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY2_sR-ERU4

Jul 7, 2020 - 6:11:51 PM

5394 posts since 9/21/2007

BanjoLink I am sorry if I am not making myself clear.

Here is a quote from the video:

"It is unsigned, unlabeled, but we know what it is soon as we pull it out of the case. It was made by S. S. Stewart in Philadelphia, Philadelphia being one of the more important schools of banjo making."

That is a statement without uncertainty. He is stating clearly that he knows for a fact who and where the banjo was made. And he is wrong on both counts. In fact, Stewart had been dead for nearly ten years by the time Kerry claims he made this banjo.

This is very basic stuff. Even if he did not know who built it he could have ruled out Stewart based on his own information of dating. This video was made in 2017, iPhones were pretty common then.

He should leave the banjos to someone else.

Edited by - Joel Hooks on 07/07/2020 18:13:48

Jul 8, 2020 - 1:48:58 AM
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RevD

USA

107 posts since 4/8/2019

 Well I guess he didn't tell them it was a 1880's civil war banjo so I guess he has that going for him lol. laugh

Jul 8, 2020 - 11:50:51 AM

ChunoTheDog

Canada

239 posts since 8/9/2019
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Some forget this is a TV show, with it's sole purpose being to entertain. Awful appraisals entertain.
If people wanted proper appraisals for insurance/auction/whatever, they'd be better served by paying a real expert in whatever field is concerned.

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