In the years before World War II, one of Gibson’s leading dealers outside the United States was South Africa’s H. Polliack and Co., Ltd., with locations in Johannesburg, Capetown, Port Elizabeth, and Pretoria. Boeremusiek, a South African folk style with similarities to the country music played in the United States, provided a market for banjos, mandolins and guitars. One of Gibson’s biggest boosters in South Africa was performer and teacher Charlie Macrow, pictured above in the company’s Catalog Y of 1937. Among Mr. Macrow’s banjos were this beautiful Florentine plectrum and this original five-string RB-7.
I am currently seeking more information on H. Polliack and Co., Ltd., Charlie Macrow, and the presence of Gibson instruments in South Africa. If you can be of any help in this regard, please let me hear from you!
Below is a listing of all banjos on this site known to have originally been shipped to South Africa:
PB-Florentine #9227-3, the “Charlie Macrow”