1892 Columbus Banjo
Shameless commerce, American style, ca. 1892. Remember the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, in 1892-3? Of course you do, huge expo-type-thing, major hoopla nationwide, “The Fair That Changed America" and subject/location of a best-selling novel of a few years ago, "Devil in the White City”. Murder, mayhem, intrigue, all that. You may have hoped you’d never see it, but here’s the banjo to go with it. Probably made by Lyon and Healy (looks like their stuff, and they were located in Chicago), replete with either the Nina, Pinta, or Santa Maria (take your pick), inlaid into the peghead in glittering mother-of-pearl, abalone, brass, and white plastic (yes, it existed back then). Followed by……an American flag, an Italian flag, a Dove of Peace, “1492 " and “1892" writ large, a floral thingie, and of course, “Columbus”, in flowing script over a rising, or maybe a setting, sun; once again take your pick. Thing is, this is a real, high-quality open back 5-string banjo of its day with metal-clad rim, all set up to play beautifully. The tuning pegs are later improvements, geared Grovers from the 1920s, the friction 5th peg from a similar period. Frets excellent, a few fingerboard grooves from some overzealous banjoist of the faded past. Small, minor repair just below fingerboard at fifth peg, inconsequential. Be your own Gem of the Ocean with this 125-year-old rare, fabulous piece of American musical instrument history. $1595 w/hsc.