Gibson TB-3 Mastertone #212-5

Style 3, the least expensive model in Gibson’s prewar Mastertone line, was revamped in 1929.  The model’s straight-grained maple changed to mahogany, two concentric rings of white/black/white purfling were added to the back of the resonator, the brass tube-and-plate flange was replaced by a one-piece cast metal flange, and the headstock shape and inlay patterns also changed.  #212-5 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) dates to 1932 and bears a “Made In the U.S.A.” stamp on the back of the headstock, indicating that it was originally exported to Canada.  This banjo was sold in 1963 by Len Davies Musical Instruments of Toronto and was listed on the bill of sale as a TB-250, the then-current Gibson banjo model it most closely resembled.

Photos courtesy of an anonymous collector.