Dating to circa 1929 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers), this banjo is most likely unique and is an interesting mix of two of Gibson’s high-end Mastertone styles. The neck’s inlay pattern and checkerboard trim are typical of style 6, as is the checkerboard binding on the sides of the resonator. The gold-plated hardware is engraved with the pattern used on the ornate Florentine, and the two-hump Grover clamshell tailpiece is also engraved “Florentine“. Other features of the banjo, including the mahogany wood, dark finish, and concentric rings of checkerboard purfling on the back of the resonator, are typical of no standard Gibson model. The flange is two-piece, the tone ring is a forty-hole archtop, the tuners are deluxe engraved Grovers with mother-of-pearl buttons, and there is an armrest-activated mute. The truss rod cover is engraved with the name of the original owner, Andrew Metzgar.
Photos courtesy of Bernd A. Gassmann.