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Sep 26, 2021 - 4:14:54 PM
1252 posts since 3/21/2013
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it's me again, I am looking at a few banjos from an estate but they're a bit outside my knowledge.
This one is a flush fret Fairbanks & Cole, serial number 1093, which places it at the early 1880's. I was curious if anyone could help me with an ID as well as an approx price that would be fair to pay for this one... I know the later Fairbanks and Vega's are worth quite a bit, but I have had a harder time figuring out a fair price for these earlier ones, or if they're decent players. The workmanship looks quality IMHO. Thanks!






Sep 26, 2021 - 4:27:20 PM

1252 posts since 3/21/2013
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two more, apologize as I know the quality of the photos is not ideal.




Edited by - jun3machina on 09/26/2021 16:27:37

Sep 26, 2021 - 5:33:45 PM
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csacwp

USA

2929 posts since 1/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by jun3machina

two more, apologize as I know the quality of the photos is not ideal.


I see at least one replaced tuner, added inlays, unoriginal nuts (and possibly hooks), and steel strings (so there could be neck or fingerboard damage or a strained pot). I personally wouldn't pay $100 for it. 

Sep 26, 2021 - 6:39:50 PM
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8990 posts since 8/28/2013

Too many questionable "updates" for me.

Sep 26, 2021 - 7:13:59 PM

1252 posts since 3/21/2013
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quote:
Originally posted by csacwp
quote:
Originally posted by jun3machina

two more, apologize as I know the quality of the photos is not ideal.


I see at least one replaced tuner, added inlays, unoriginal nuts (and possibly hooks), and steel strings (so there could be neck or fingerboard damage or a strained pot). I personally wouldn't pay $100 for it. 


while I am quite aware it's not original, I'm more interested in it as a player, than necessarily a collectable piece. I think it's worth a bit more than $100, but of course the value is always up to whomever will pay. 

I suppose what I am asking is how often do these earlier banjos pop up? I did some searches and there's a few youtube videos and a few threads, but not much. I know fairbanks went through numerous iterations and the banjos they produced obviously have different collectability markets. Are these fairly hard to find? are they overall well built banjos? I am asking as I am aware of the popularity and numerous makers around this time. While later fairbanks can be very high quality, I am truly in the dark in my knowledge of these early ones. The rosewood interests me, and I would be wiling to pay more than a hundred for this one in particular.

Sep 26, 2021 - 7:21:47 PM
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csacwp

USA

2929 posts since 1/15/2014

They were mid-grade banjos back when they were made, and they do turn up fairly often today. Don't expect it to be anything like a later Fairbanks, but if the neck isn't toast from the steel strings, it should still be an OK banjo, at least for the period.

Sep 27, 2021 - 8:01:47 PM

1252 posts since 3/21/2013
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Thank you Mr. Cohen

Oct 15, 2021 - 9:40:22 PM

1252 posts since 3/21/2013
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so it's been a few weeks but I managed to purchase this. I just got it today. sad to say someone chose some bad choices and made it playable again but the upgrades are downgrades in my book. So I will need to fill a reamed 5th peg tuner hole they shoved a huge tuner into... find replacement hooks for the godawful shiny things they popped on. Apparently the hide head is off an old SS stewart, but is about 1/2" up too high, which then made them think the neck was not aligned and so they popped in this ugle shim to make the neck fit the pot. I quickly removed the thin steel strings, and 5th peg tuner. Not too fond of the reproduction no not tailpiece either. They seemed to have put a taipiece screw about 1/4" too long on there as well, so wondering if I can find something to match the round shoes that may be a better fit. So defintely not playable as is, but seems like some minor things to fix to get it back up to playable.

the pot and neck numbers match. I wonder about the random giant MOP inlay that was put in, but the shell is pretty so I'm okay with it even if the diamond is a lil drunk. The pot appears to be birdseye maple on the interior, with the rosewood laminate around the ourside. Tomorrow I will go over and clean it all, probably reglue a few of the flush frets that have lifted a bit and access it for any other thing it needs done to it. I am not sure if the tuners are original or not, but they seem at least as old, and fit okay, and function as far as I can tell.

Oct 15, 2021 - 9:54:29 PM

1252 posts since 3/21/2013
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Some photos...








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