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Thread: Vintage Gibson Banjolin

  1. #1
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Vintage Gibson Banjolin

    Was strolling through an antique shop this afternoon and saw a vintage Gibson Banjolin in their case. It is in need of some love in order to be playable but it was still cool to see. I inquired about price and they said $1200... my response was "ok thanks" and walked away. For its condition, that seemed steep. Take a look and tell me what you think. Not really all that interested in buying it, but I AM curious.

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    aka: Spencer
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  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Gibson Banjolin

    Considering you can buy a similar or earlier Gibson mandolin (if you look for it) for less, I don't find it all that attractive. The pot might have some value to a banjo collector for a conversion but it's not even in that category as far as I can see.

    But.... If you like it buy it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Vintage Gibson Banjolin

    I'm really not interested more curious if others saw it as worth the price they had on it. I was thinking the same about how a regular vintage Gibby in playable condition can be had for less.
    aka: Spencer
    Eastman MD-305
    Silverangel Econo A #429

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.
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  4. #4
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Gibson Banjolin

    Looks like an early '20's MB-4 to me, like this one, which can be yours for $400 less, with a full restoration, new head and new compensated bridge.

    Tell ya which one I'd buy, were I in the market...

    IMHO both are afflicted with "Gibsonitis," by which I mean that "Gibson" on the peghead leads to a severe overpricing fever. There are scads of mandolin-banjos around, by a variety of makers, mostly from the period 1900-Depression or so. You could pick up a comparable Bacon, Vega etc. for much less; a "trade" instrument might set you back $100-150 at most.

    Antique dealers, pawn shops, others who aren't regularly in the vintage instruments market, still know the name "Gibson." This will still be true after Henry J takes the company down the plug-hole.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Vintage Gibson Banjolin

    I'm starting to see the way the people who run that shop operate; I also saw in the store while I was there something they had bought from a friend of mine for $75 with a $475 price tag on it. ... people must pay?!?!
    aka: Spencer
    Eastman MD-305
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    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
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    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage Gibson Banjolin

    You only need to sell a few items with a markup like that. That and people need to keep their antique stores full. There is a banjo in an antique store in Annapolis, MD that I laugh at every time I see it. It's marked at a price that is at least 5 times the value and it's been there for years.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Vintage Gibson Banjolin

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    You only need to sell a few items with a markup like that. That and people need to keep their antique stores full. There is a banjo in an antique store in Annapolis, MD that I laugh at every time I see it. It's marked at a price that is at least 5 times the value and it's been there for years.
    Well... it IS a banjo
    aka: Spencer
    Eastman MD-305
    Silverangel Econo A #429

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.
    -anonymous

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Vintage Gibson Banjolin

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    IMHO both are afflicted with "Gibsonitis," by which I mean that "Gibson" on the peghead leads to a severe overpricing fever.
    Antique dealers, pawn shops, others who aren't regularly in the vintage instruments market, still know the name "Gibson." This will still be true after Henry J takes the company down the plug-hole.

    I'm sorry Allen, that is an incorrect application of the term "Gibsonitis." "Gibsonitis" is a repair person's term for multiple loose braces and open seams, which are especially common on Gibson instruments from the 40's and 50's. Seems like they had a foreman whose life mission was to keep glue costs down. Anyway, we have been using the term "Gibsonitis" in this context for close to 20 years.

    Perhaps "Gib-flation" would be a better term for overpriced out-of-fashion or budget model Gibson instruments.

    Speaking of "Gib-flation," how 'bout some of the prices on "toneless wonder" 70's acoustics with summer camp arts-and-crafts class finishes and braces showing through the top? And people buy them anyway . . .

    As far as $1200 for a neglected MB-4, they won't get it from me. In a moment of foolishness, I might give $600 or $800 for a really nice one with a moccasin peghead and trap door resonator, but then I'd wonder if I needed to see a doctor . . .
    Last edited by rcc56; Jul-14-2018 at 12:17am.

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