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Aug 14, 2022 - 9:32:39 AM
6 posts since 11/23/2018

Can anyone help identify this instrument? Maybe also let me know how much you’d pay/ask for this instrument. Thanks!


Aug 14, 2022 - 12:31:30 PM
Players Union Member

TLG

USA

1699 posts since 10/11/2004

Probably a Supertone

Aug 14, 2022 - 12:54:41 PM

1406 posts since 1/9/2012

Is the rim all metal underneath the spun cladding and welded at the heel joint?

Aug 14, 2022 - 1:15:11 PM

Shelato

USA

6 posts since 11/23/2018

quote:
Originally posted by davidppp

Is the rim all metal underneath the spun cladding and welded at the heel joint?


All metal under cladding- yes. Not sure about weld (banjo currently 3 hours away).

Aug 14, 2022 - 1:41:09 PM

1870 posts since 1/13/2012

Built by Rettberg & Lange. It's not a Supertone without the paper Supertone label... R&L built Supertone banjos for Sears, but also built many other similar/identical instruments for other retailers that were not marketed under the Supertone brand name.

The rim is what's known as "double clad"... a single ply of wood with metal cladding on both sides. R&L did a lot of them.

Aug 14, 2022 - 4:23:18 PM

10009 posts since 8/28/2013

I got here too late to say Rettburg and Lange. Andy is faster, or maybe just looks more often.

Aug 14, 2022 - 5:05:15 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

26315 posts since 6/25/2005

Those double-spun R&Ls are great-sounding banjos.

Aug 16, 2022 - 3:47:38 PM

454 posts since 10/8/2018
Online Now

I agree with what has been said! When I first looked I thought Supertone, but it looked a higher quality than most I’ve seen as it looked like a double clad rim which I’ve never seen on a Supertone. I have a Buckbee made WTB Sterling from the 1890’s that has the same commonly used 4 inlay patterns from the star down the fretboard that is on yours. R&L bought the Buckbee company so I’m thinking that this may have been one of their earlier banjos using some of the old stock. Value is hard to pin point and has more to do with what some one is willing to pay. My guess would be plus or minus the 4 to 5 hundred dollar range. Could be a lot higher or a bit lower. I’m always amazed at how high some banjos go on eBay.

Edited by - TriMD180 on 08/16/2022 15:48:54

Aug 16, 2022 - 6:07:23 PM

7098 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by TriMD180

I agree with what has been said! When I first looked I thought Supertone, but it looked a higher quality than most I’ve seen as it looked like a double clad rim which I’ve never seen on a Supertone. I have a Buckbee made WTB Sterling from the 1890’s that has the same commonly used 4 inlay patterns from the star down the fretboard that is on yours. R&L bought the Buckbee company so I’m thinking that this may have been one of their earlier banjos using some of the old stock. Value is hard to pin point and has more to do with what some one is willing to pay. My guess would be plus or minus the 4 to 5 hundred dollar range. Could be a lot higher or a bit lower. I’m always amazed at how high some banjos go on eBay.


Sears first used the "Supertone" name in conjunction with banjos in the fall catalog #129 of 1914.  In that catalog the "Diamond" model is listed with "brass shell, heavily nickel plated, with both edges spun on wire... The inside of the shell is lined with nickel plated brass..."  That model was listed in 10-5/8" and 12" sizes.  All banjo models but two in that catalog came with gut strings.  The two with steel strings are the cheapest ($1.95 and $2.95) compared to the "Diamond" at $19.45 and $21.35 (which was still very cheap compared to better makes at that time).

The Diamond is listed until the fall of 1917 where "The Artist" takes the price point place, with a "nickel plated metal lining."  Gone is the ebony fingerboard and The Artist is listed with a "Boxwood imitation ebony fingerboard" at $14.95 and $19.65.  Strings are silk (there was a gut string shortage caused by the war).

That said, like Andy wrote, no label- no "Supertone".

But Sears did offer "metal lined shells" for a time as quality continued to get worse and worse until all they sold were BSO.

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