Gibson TB-3 Mastertone #347-10
Style 3 was the least expensive model in Gibson's Mastertone line. It was introduced in 1925 and remained in production through 1937, when its price was lowered from $100 to $75 and it was renamed style 75. #347-10 dates to 1934 (see Gibson banjo serial numbers vs. factory order numbers) and is one of a small number of 1930s TB-3s featuring the standard "leaves and bows" inlay pattern on the fingerboard but the much more elaborate peghead inlay pattern used on Gibson's ornate Bella Voce banjos of the late 1920s. TB-3s with this fancy peghead inlay are known from lots #271, #345 and #347, indicating that Gibson chose these runs of style 3 banjos to use up surplus peghead overlays that had been pre-inlaid for the discontinued Bella Voce.
A previous owner dressed the peghead up further with a few discreetly-placed rhinestones. #347-10 has been converted to five-string flathead and currently resides in Ireland. The tenor neck and resonator have been refinished and the factory order numbers inside the resonator have been rewritten. The banjo's current owner relates the rest of the story:
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Photos courtesy of an anonymous collector.