H.C. Dobson “Silver Bell Patent” 5-string pony banjo, S/N 7598, Circa 1883
This fine banjo was made by or for Henry Dobson following a patent he filed in 1881 for one of the first tone ring designs ever to appear in a production banjo. This is a heavy, well made instrument that is clearly a cut above the banjos that were routinely sold in the 1880's. Although many Dobson banjos were probably made by Buckbee, this instrument is several grades above the usual Buckbee banjos, with a Brazilian rosewood neck, engraved tuning machines with pearl tuner buttons, and very nice pearl, silver, and brass inlays on the neck and peghead. The ebony heelcap is carved much like the heel on a new shoe!
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