Banjeaurine (unlabelled) , c. 1892

 Banjeaurine (unlabelled)  ,  c. 1892
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Item # 10477
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Banjeaurine (unlabelled), c. 1892, possibly New York City, natural finish, spunover rim, mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, gig bag case.

The Banjeurine was a creation of Philadelphia's S.S. Stewart, but starting in the late 1880s many other makers produced them as well, albeit in small numbers. With a short scale neck but full size head these instruments were meant to be tuned to a higher pitch to play melody parts in the banjo ensembles of the 1890's, but still have a full rich tone. While not as often seen or played today, Banjeurines are all considerably rarer than their full-scale banjo brothers.

This lovely little 5-string is plainly appointed but very well made; we would guess it to be a product of a New York builder, possibly Morrison. It features a fairly stout 18" scale mahogany neck with a rounded heel on a large 12" rim. The plain ebony fingerboard has simple dot inlay and a decorative pointed extension over the head. The plain veneered headstock mounts 4 black-button friction tuners. The body is a typical 1890s spunover type, 12" in diameter with the simplest dowel attachment; a couple of screws through the rim! This is not a fancy instrument but a good quality one, a fine player still and a delightful find for the banjo collector and/or the player with a taste for something different!
 
Overall length is 27 1/4 in. (69.2 cm.), 12 in. (30.5 cm.) diameter head, and 2 3/16 in. (5.6 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 18 in. (457 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/16 in. (27 mm.).

For being something like 130 years old this is a well preserved and playable instrument. There is some typical plating wear to the metal parts but all the rim fittings are original including a complete set of hooks and nuts along with the tailpiece. The banjo has been set up with a well fitted plastic head, it looks like decades ago. There appears to be an old French polish overcoat to the complete neck and dowel, which has considerable age to it as well. The tuners (friction on the headstock, violin-style for the 5th string) appear original or at least period. Set up with Nylon strings this is a charming instrument, fun to play and a fine survivor of the ago of banjos! Overall Excellent Condition.