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Tech: Bay State Banjo Serial Numbers

banjocircus 16 Feb 09 - 05:29 PM
bill\sables 16 Feb 09 - 05:45 PM
banjocircus 16 Feb 09 - 06:38 PM
banjocircus 17 Feb 09 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 17 Feb 09 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,dbrooks 14 Mar 09 - 05:28 PM
JohnInKansas 14 Mar 09 - 11:19 PM
GUEST 15 Mar 09 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,dbrooks 15 Mar 09 - 10:18 AM
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Subject: Bay State Banjo Serial Numbers
From: banjocircus
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 05:29 PM

I'm looking for the year of manufacture for Baystate Banjo serial number 301, which a friend found in his dad's attic. It has enough dust on it to show it is at least a few years old. The brand and serial number are stamped on a square wooden dowel. The manufacturer is harder to read, also stamped on the dowel. May be Haynes & Co. or something like that. It was manufactured in Boston.

Does anybody know about this Baystate brand or where on the web to find a list of relevant serial numbers?

Thanks,

Jonathan


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Subject: RE: Tech: Bay State Banjo Serial Numbers
From: bill\sables
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 05:45 PM

John C Haynes built banjos in Boston between 1865 and 1897. Their brand name was Bay State Excelsior. Can't find any record of serial numbers


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Subject: RE: Tech: Bay State Banjo Serial Numbers
From: banjocircus
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 06:38 PM

Thanks. Any more leads? (And also trying to bring this back to the top.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Bay State Banjo Serial Numbers
From: banjocircus
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 09:41 AM

Does anybody know if these banjos are rare or common? Their approximate value (obviously depending on quality and condition, but just to generalize)?

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Bay State Banjo Serial Numbers
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 03:37 PM

I suggest that you contact Jim Bollman author, banjo player, collector at the Music Emporium in Lexington, Mass. You might want to check out his book "America's Instrument - the banjo in the nineteenth century" published by Chapel Hill.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Tech: Bay State Banjo Serial Numbers
From: GUEST,dbrooks
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 05:28 PM

I have two Bay State banjos: a 300 and a 318. John C. Haynes Company was a leading musical instrument dealer in Boston in the 1890s. Bay State Banjos were manufactured after the Excelsior lion, I believe. As far as I know, there are no serial numbers. The mdoel numbers do not have much consistency, and the peghead, neck scale length and inlays, and pot size can vary widely. For example, my 318 has a fiddle shape peghead and rather fancy inlays. Bernunzio had a 318 with a scroll peghead and dot inlays.

Model 300 was the bottom of the line, and the numbers run up through the 350s and maybe 360s. There are Bay State catalog reprints available for sale, though they provide only a little guidance since the models varied so widely.

I enjoy playing my Bay States. They are not so highly values as an S.S. Stewart, but the quality is similar in the low and mid-range instruments. The banjos are not as common as Stewarts or Dobsons, and the lack of consistency in the models may hurt their "brand." Depending on the condition, your 301 may be worth $200 to $600. If it's an 11" pot with all-original hardware, a straight neck with nice inlays and in playable condition, it may be worth $500-700 to some. Replacing the friction tuners with modern geared tuners will make it more playable but probably hurt its value. Friction tuners, new or old, work well with nylon or Nylgut strings which is probably what it should use to avoid damaging the neck.

I think you may have a nice banjo there.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Bay State Banjo Serial Numbers
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 11:19 PM

Isn't the "301" then probably a model number rather than a serial number?

There might still be some info on when a given model started and ended production(?).

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Bay State Banjo Serial Numbers
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Mar 09 - 09:50 AM

i have a B and D silver bell banjo that is mint and at least from the 30s, i am not lookin to sell it. i just want to date it


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Subject: RE: Tech: Bay State Banjo Serial Numbers
From: GUEST,dbrooks
Date: 15 Mar 09 - 10:18 AM

Yes, "301" indicates the model, not the serial number. I should have made that clearer. Bernunzio has a reprint of an 1890's Bay State Banjo catalog for $9.00 (a great price since they have been offered for $18.00 on Ebay). I have a copy of this catalog, but it offers limited help since the descriptions do not often match the banjos I have seen on the web.
http://www.bernunzio.com/item.php?sku=R-B-193

The "301" is described "11 Inch Rim, Ebony Pegs and Fancy Tailpiece . . . $16.68." The Models 300-307 are generally described:

"Bay State Banjos with twenty latest style brackets, with protection nuts and grooved top hoops, all Nickel plated. German Silver covered rim, spun at lower edge. Selected heads, best strings, polished arm, thick Ebony fingerboard, Pearl positions, raised frets."

They also offered, "Rosewood Veneered Rims to order at same price as above. Arms made of selected hard woods and elegantly polished."

The neck on my 300 is cherry. The neck on my 318 appears to be maple. My 318 has an 11" rim, but the catalog says it should have a 10" rim. (The even-numbered models have 10" rims; the odd-numbered models have 11" rims.)

In Bollman's book (America's Instrument: Banjo in the 19th Century), there is some interesting history about the John C. Haynes company and its relationship with the Ditson company, but I haven't found any detailed information on production runs for any of the banjo models.

Bay State banjos show up on Ebay every month or so as well as in shops like Elderly. Many have been modified or are in bad shape. I try to save the photos of these various models and intend to post them on a web page at some point. There is relatively little information about Bay State and John C. Haynes beyond the general story line.


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