Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Hi--I posted this over on the collectors forum at Banjo Hangout, and wanted to post here as well--any help is appreciated!

I  just won an ebay auction for an old 19th century banjo with eagle brackets around the rim. I'd appreciate any help in IDing this along with any ideas about the possible date. I'm attaching some pics.

Thanks in advance!

Jim Jacquet

Olympia, WA

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Oh I love playing it. I have tuned it to F and keep the head semi taut because it is slightly warped and out of round. It has a nice thumpy sound. I've already started to wear the finder board which leads me to believe further that it is a fairly recent replacement neck. I think I remember that George W. had a Boucher like minstrel with eagle brackets which I think he said were "new". Could that be that someone is casting those today?

There was somebody at the June Early Banjo Conference at Antietam who had new eagle brackets on display.  I can't remember who it was, but maybe somebody does.  A little "googling" might find a source as well. 

I just picked up a pony size,possibly buckbee,with the same brackets as bernunzio's.

Skip sail, look again- the brackets on your Buckbee are pretty different from those on the Bernunzio banjo.  The eagles are different, and yours do not have "Union Forever" written on them.

Boy,you have good eyes! I managed to get some pics from ebay up on banjohangout, but i couldnt see the brackets too well.

i dont have the banjo in hand yet,only just bought it on ebay,so will investigate further.

John, seeing as the eagles head is drooping,and there is no Union Forever on them,when would you date them to?


There are some good ideas about the different eagle brackets in this thread, but nobody is certain when they date to exactly, or even how the different styles relate to each other (it does appear some of these brackets are older than others).  One thing I noticed about your banjo's brackets are the interesting wing nuts and parts that attach the bracket to the rim.  I'd want to see better pictures of those before estimating the age of the banjo.  It's certainly from the 1870s-1900s. 

I just received the banjo, its tiny, 7 and 3/4 rim,25" total length.

Eagle brackets with the drooping head and "union forever" underneath.

will try and post some pics later.

Is it a piccolo banjo or a pony banjo?

i would presume a piccolo,from the size

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