Style 00, introduced in 1935 with a list price of $30, made the Gibson name accessible to Depression-era banjoists. Its affordability made it a top seller in Gibson’s banjo line and it remained in production through the early 1940s. While higher-end Gibson banjos were often taken out multiple times as salesmen’s samples and shipped to numerous dealers before finally being sold, less-expensive models such as the TB-00 generally appear in surviving shipping ledgers only once. #DG-2719 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers)is an exception; it first appears in the ledgers on October 21, 1938 being taken out as a sample by an unidentified salesman in a case noted as “SH 511”. Salesmen’s samples were routinely taken out in cases indicated in the ledgers as either “SH” (“second-hand”) or “SW” (shop-worn), and quite often the cases would be a higher grade than that normally shipped with the banjo (the typical case for a TB-00 banjo was the soft #120 “Challenge” case by Geib rather than the hardshell #511 “Faultless”). On December 2, 1938, this TB-00 appears again being taken out as a sample by Gibson salesman George Post, this time in a #511 case not indicated as “second-hand” or “shop-worn”. The banjo appears in the ledgers a final time on December 22, 1938, being shipped in a #120 case to the D.S. Andrus Company, a large Gibson dealer in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Photos courtesy of an anonymous collector.