The style 1, priced at $50, was a mainstay of Gibson’s lower-priced non-Mastertone line of the 1930s. Style 1 had nickel-plated hardware and a dark-finished maple neck and resonator, with white binding on the neck and both edges of the resonator; the tailpiece was an inexpensive type referred to in Gibson catalogs as the “Grover first model”. The fiddle-shaped peghead was retained on the style 1 even though the Mastertone models had by this time gone to the double-cut peghead shape. The rosewood fingerboard was normally inlaid with a fleur-de-lis inlay pattern which is also known by such varying names as “bats” and “flying birds”.
#154-5 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) is a catalog-standard TB-1 of the period and was originally shipped on September 19, 1935 to Althea Halsted, a Gibson teacher-agent who operated the Halsted School of Music in Oclott, New York; the banjo remains in excellent original condition in its flannel-lined #511 case by Geib and Schaefer.
Photos courtesy of an anonymous owner.