Gibson RB-1 #9527-18, the "A.E. Rawlonsory"




This very interesting original five-string RB-1 comes from proud new owner David Bootes.  I'll let him tell the story:

"I have no idea how I came to find this banjoMy searching lead me to the other side of the world just north of Sydney, Australia where I found this RB-1.  #9527-18 is an all original RB-1 in good conditionThis example is a rare original five-string that is especially unusual due to its non-standard peghead shape, sometimes referred to by collectors as the "Coke bottle" shapeIt also varies from standard style 1 by having the Mastertone label and the "Made in the U.S.A." sticker for exports. . .

This banjo was from the original owner who at eighty-plus years old wanted his banjos to go to a good person. He had owned it most of his life. He said everything is original to the banjo
Before I had even finished the purchase of this banjo I had named it "Sydney"The gentleman who had sold it to me thought that "Sydney" was a good Australian name as wellWhen it arrived I opened the original case's accessories compartment and underneath the flap was a vintage train pass sticker.  In bold print it read "SYDNEY"This was unknown to meI thought this was special since I had already had it named "Sydney".

I noticed On that old vintage train pass on the case his name is written in the old inkwell-and-pen calligraphy-style writing (A.E. Rawlonsory)The way everything went down was fate and even the person who sold it to me said "It was fate, mate"I feel very fortunate and proud to have an original five-string in my collection".

At least one other banjo from this lot, #9527-6 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers), is also known to have a Mastertone label although its inlay pattern is the diamonds and squares pattern normally seen on style 3 banjos of the 1920s.

Photos courtesy of David Bootes.