Vintage Japanese Banjo Sales on eBay®

Last Sale Recorded February 4, 2009

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October 25, 2008 - After five years, the number of good vintage Japanese banjos appearing on eBay has diminished to a trickle. It is no longer worth my time to track these aggressively. I will continue to pay attention to eBay sales of Vintage Gold Stars.

This is a list of some of the better Japanese-made 5-string banjos that sold on eBay. I include models with a selling price of at least $500 or that have some interesting quality.

I do not appraise. Please do not ask me what your banjo is worth - I don't know.

Alvarez

Date US $ Model Year S/N Inlay Case Notes
07/17/03 405 Minstrel Varied
04/11/04 799 Denver Belle 70s Flying Eagle pretty; Schaller Ds; Kulesh; T&P Flange
01/25/05 795 Denver Belle 1976 Flying Eagle Pittman 5th capo
02/08/05 735 Denver Belle 70s Flying Eagle Keith Tuners, worn
03/17/05 490 Minstrel 70s Wreath Keith Tuners, VG+
03/27/05 600 Whyte Eagle 70s Whyte Eagle Carved neck, case worn exterior
03/29/05 795 Artist 1978 B787903 Vine Blond; T&P flange
04/01/05 515 Silver Princess 70s Snowflake Open-back; Pittman capo
05/07/05 606 Whyte Eagle 70s 52438 Flying Eagle Holes where capo was installed
06/02/05 585 Silver Belle 70s Hearts & Flowers
11/28/05 858 Denver Belle 70s Flying Eagle Some rust on hooks
12/03/05 850 Whyte Eagle 1984 1584 Whyte Eagle
12/05/05 636 unknown 70s Dotted Xs Heavy wear on gold finish; clunky tuners
01/16/06 565 Denver Belle 70s Flying Eagle D-tuners; wear on low frets; played by pro
01/26/06 681 Whyte Eagle 1980 49124 Whyte Eagle Well-played but reasonably clean
03/19/06 734 Denver Belle 70s Flying Eagle Archtop. Questionable pedigree.
03/27/06 535 Whyte Eagle 70s Whyte Eagle Haze in resonator finish.
03/29/06 880 Denver Belle 70s Flying Eagle
04/22/06 800 Whyte Eagle 80s Whyte Eagle Milky resonator finish.
05/01/06 609 Silver Princess 70s 6077 Snowflake Open-back
05/17/06 711 Silver Princess 70s Snowflake Open-back
05/22/06 532 Silver Belle 70s 2559 Hearts & Flowers
05/26/06 750 Whyte Eagle 70s Whyte Eagle
05/30/06 570 Denver Belle 70s Flying Eagle No photos
06/06/06 510 Silver Princess 70s 6077 Snowflake 11" tension hoop on a 10-7/8" rim
06/16/06 577 Artist 70s Wreath
06/28/06 1,000 Montana Belle 1973 Dotted Xs Gold hardware, klunky tuners; inlaid resonator; crowned peghead. Price seems high for what is a basic model, just in gold.
08/30/06 795 Denver Belle 70s Hearts & Flowers D-tuners
10/22/06 660 Silver Princess 70s Snowflake Looks Pristine
12/10/06 510 70s Snowflake Brackets; clunky tuners; Schaller D-tuners.
01/12/07 500 70s Bowtie Buyer overpaid; slots with ovals on flange; ugly peghead
02/01/07 545 70s Dotted Xs Gold hardware, klunky tuners; inlaid resonator; crowned peghead. Probably a Montana Belle.
02/18/07 668 Silver Princess 70s 6077 Snowflake Open-back
02/22/07 585 Silver Belle 70s 3569 Hearts & Flowers Very clean.
03/11/07 606 Silver Princess 70s Snowflake Open-back. Very clean.
03/23/07 720 Denver Belle 70s 80485 Flying Eagle Clean with some dings.
04/04/07 611 Denver Belle 70s Flying Eagle Clean. Appears well-used.
04/04/07 611 1973 Bowtie

Low-end pot, prob. one coord rod, friction pegs. Not worth reserve of $450.

04/05/07 625 Denver Belle 70s 49350 Flying Eagle A little more wear than normal.
04/11/07 850 Denver Belle 1978 4300 Flying Eagle Belt marks on resonator. Pittman capo.
04/30/07 625 Denver Belle 70s 49350 Flying Eagle Fingerboard wear, "inlay separation." 5 May sale did not go through.
05/16/07 900 Whyte Eagle 1976 Whyte Eagle Waverly tailpiece, Pitman capo. Archtop.
05/18/07 599 Silver Belle 70s 3308 Hearts & Flowers Looks clean.
05/26/07 512 Minstrel 70s Wreath Clean, with scratch on resonator
05/27/07 827 Whyte Eagle 70s Whyte Eagle Very clean. Archtop.
06/06/07 535 Silver Belle 70s Hearts & Flowers Looks clean.
06/17/07 443 Minstrel 70s Wreath May have sold low due to inlay design on resonator.
06/20/07 810 Denver Belle 70s Flying Eagle
07/29/07 560 Denver Belle 70s Flying Eagle Very clean, almost unused. Pittman capo.
08/13/07 825 Whyte Eagle 1977 Whyte Eagle Archtop. Looks very clean.
10/07/07 500 Deluxe 1973 Dots Low end with clunky tuners, inlaid resonator; gold hardware.
10/30/07 810 Denver Belle 70s 1534 Flying Eagle Looks very clean.
11/23/07 710 Denver Belle 70s Flying Eagle Archtop. Looks very clean.
11/25/07 685 Whyte Eagle 70s 16459 Whyte Eagle Archtop, but has "Kelly" flat top conversion ring. Original tailpiece broken.
12/12/07 1,075 Denver Belle 1985 Flying Eagle Purchased new in 1985. Vintage uncertain.
01/05/08 627 Whyte Eagle 70s Whyte Eagle Archtop. Pitman capo. Vintage uncertain. Looks very clean.
07/17/08 663 Whyte Eagle 70s Whyte Eagle Archtop. Looks very clean.
08/03/08 925 Whyte Eagle 70s 1139 Whyte Eagle FLAT TOP!. Not original resonator. Probably a conversion.
08/17/08 675 Denver Belle 70s Flying Eagle Poor photos; hard to assess condition.
02/04/09 586 Silver Belle 70s Hearts & Flowers Poor photos; hard to assess condition.

Aria

Date US $ Model Year S/N Inlay Case Notes
07/23/03 600 Pro II '70s Hearts & Flowers
08/05/03 400 Deluxe Pro '70s Bowtie
10/11/03 465 '70s Vine
12/15/03 465 '70s Vine
12/21/04 600 Pro II 70s Vine FANC engraved on armrest
01/05/05 610 Pro II 70s Hearts & Flowers
01/30/05 570 Pro II Archtop 70s Aria Archtop Archtop, clear head
02/11/05 700 Pro II Archtop 70s Aria Archtop
02/21/05 732 Pro II Archtop 1977 Aria Archtop Keith Tuners
02/26/05 550 Pro II 80s Hearts & Flowers
03/10/05 700 Pro II 70s Hearts & Flowers Schaller D Tuners
03/23/05 510 Pro II Archtop 70s Aria Archtop Shubb 5th capo
04/14/05 600 Pro II 70s Vine Spikes
12/14/05 695 Pro II 70s Hearts & Flowers
06/24/06 681 Pro II Archtop 70s Aria Archtop Pitman capo; very clean
08/07/06 602 Pro II 70s Vine Resonator may not be original
02/22/07 700 Pro II Archtop 70s Aria Archtop Hard do assess condition from photos.
06/04/07 842 Pro II 1977 Vine Poor photos. Pittman capo.
07/04/07 735 Pro II 70s Vine
08/11/07 825 Pro II Archtop 70s Aria Archtop Sullivan rim & tone ring, Price tailpiece. Originals not included.
11/06/07 480 Pro II 70s Vine Mis-identified in listing as plectrum; sold well under value. Signs of aging but looks okay.
12/07/07 850 Pro II 1977 Hearts & Flowers Spikes at 7/9/12. BIN $950 nogo; BIN $850.
04/08/08 644 Pro II Archtop 70s Aria Archtop Carved heel, split wood resonator, laminated neck. Reasonably clean.
09/19/08 938 Pro II Archtop 1977 Hearts & Flowers Looks clean. Seller claimed Keith tuners but they don't show in the photos.

Epiphone

Date US $ Model Year S/N Inlay Case Notes
12/29/05 600 '90s Hearts & Flowers "Gibson" vertical on rod cover
01/01/06 585 '70s Hearts & Flowers Shubb capo; Kershner tailpiece; "by Gibson" on peghead
01/21/06 1,525 EB88 1964 201339 Parallelograms Cam tuners; friction 5th; single coordinator rod
03/18/06 500 "Pete Seeger" 70s 118967 Dots Appears to have rim delamination at neck
12/13/06 500 70s Dots Clunky tuners; dark neck, light reso.

Fender

Date US $ Model Year S/N Inlay Case Notes
07/13/03 788 Artist '70s Star
08/05/03 500 Leo Deluxe unknown
08/09/03 400 Leo 1979 Dots
08/09/03 400 Leo Dots
08/10/03 327 Leo 1979 Dots
05/18/04 838 Leo Deluxe 70s Fender Keith Tuners
07/07/04 769 Leo Deluxe 70s 240130 Fender
10/16/04 430 Leo 70s 141359 Fender
10/31/04 475 Leo 70s 86504 Dots
12/04/04 406 Leo 70s Dots
02/04/05 999 Leo Deluxe 70s 470005 Fender
02/27/05 467 Leo 1978 86517 Dots Pitman capo
03/23/05 500 Leo 70s Dots Many accessories
05/01/05 525 Leo 70s Fender Very clean. Not Deluxe as listing said.
09/09/05 700 Leo 70s Fender
10/11/05 1,233 Artist 60s? 05015 Fender Keith Tuners. No-hole tone ring. Non-matching resonator. Clean.
11/10/05 561 Leo 1981 824321 Fender
11/20/05 570 Leo Deluxe 70s 447437 Fender Schaller D tuners
12/10/05 556 Leo 1981 Fender
01/19/06 1,614 Artist 60s 04636 Fender
01/21/06 800 Leo Deluxe 70s 241479 Fender Some wear on gold hardware
01/21/06 499 Leo 1981 702240 0881 Fender
02/05/06 585 Leo 70s Dots
03/30/06 565 Leo 70s 806747 Fender Clean
04/30/06 700 Leo Deluxe 80s 800047 Fender Almost Pristine
04/30/06 501 Leo 80s? Fender Clean
05/07/06 599 Leo Deluxe 80s 192163 Fender Clean
05/25/06 505 Leo 70s 44087 Fender
06/27/06 820 Leo Deluxe 80s 815043 pot 1502 Fender Looks clean
07/23/06 566 Leo Deluxe 80s 793285 Fender Reasonably clean, bargain price
08/01/06 590 Leo 80s 8361xx Fender
08/20/06 850 Leo Deluxe 70s 815xxx Fender Very clean.
09/04/06 668 Leo Deluxe 70s 192756 Fender
10/21/06 690 Leo Deluxe 70s 00390 Fender Some signs of wear, poor photos
11/19/06 838 Leo 70s 00291 Fender Looks pristine.
01/08/07 475 Leo 70s Fender
04/08/07 510 "Folk" A0072 Dots Long-neck, open-back model, Shubb capo. Crazing on entire neck.
05/13/07 500 Leo Deluxe 70s Fender Unknown 5th string capo; rim and resonator have holes for a Fishman banjo pickup. Horrible photos.
05/21/07 899 Leo Deluxe 70s 233595 Fender Holes from removed 5th capo. Looks very clean.
06/04/07 1,000 Artist 60s 04984 Fender Guitar tuners, unknown tone ring.
06/22/07 810 Leo Deluxe 70s Fender Sullivan pot and tone ring; originals included.
06/30/07 755 Leo Deluxe 70s 00414 Fender Fishman pickup; hole in resonator.
08/05/07 570 Leo 70s 470075 Fender Looks very clean. Schaller D-tuners.
09/29/07 750 Leo Deluxe 1983 Fender
01/04/08 526 Leo 1982 4574 Fender Schaller D tuners; unidentified 5th-string capo.
04/06/08 390 Leo 70s 836085 Fender Scratch on resonator, minimal wear. Bargain.
04/06/08 1,000 Leo Deluxe 1979 00204 Fender Looks very clean.
09/21/08 500 Leo 70s 180606 Fender Light scratches on resonator, one ding on neck, slightly tarnished hardware.
02/02/09 560 Leo Deluxe 1986 470921 Fender Beautiful condition.

GTR

Date US $ Model Year S/N Inlay Case Notes
12/23/04 800 70s Flying Eagle
03/29/05 510 70s Wreath Cam-style Scruggs Pegs
06/21/06 962 1975 Flying Eagle
08/26/06 1,425 1978 Hearts & Flowers
01/06/07 255 Hearts & Flowers Shubb capo; horribly damaged and in need of further repair
07/22/07 686 70s Wreath Pittman capo. Elite Fiberskin head. Well-used, showing signs of fingerboard pitting.
09/27/07 706 70s Wreath Very clean.
11/19/07 1,026 70s Wreath Flipped.

Ibanez

Date US $ Model Year S/N Inlay Case Notes
01/28/07 600 Artist 70s FB62529 Wreath Well used but good conditon; Pitman capo; D-Tuners. Paintings on head.
02/25/07 575 Woodsman 70s H787433 Florentine-like See Mar 2005; changed hands twice.
03/04/07 625 Artist 70s Wreath Clean.
03/21/07 767 Artist Tenor 70s Wreath Beautiful condition.
04/13/07 760 Artist 70s Wreath Beautiful condition.
04/22/07 647 Artist 1976 E767838 Wreath Beautiful condition.
05/03/07 535 Artist 1976 H767136 Wreath Beautiful condition. Hairline flange crack.
05/06/07 860 Artist (593FB) 1977 Vine Beautiful condition. Shubb capo. Keith tuners, originals included.
05/09/07 650 Artist 70s Wreath Looks clean; hard to tell from photos.
06/11/07 535 Artist 70s FB60300? Wreath Schaller D-tuners; some wear on low frets; otherwise appears very clean.
06/18/07 760 Artist 1977 H787314 Vine Vine inlay on resonator; Presto tailpiece; one owner.
07/09/07 567 Artist (591) 70s J778047 Wreath Finish damage on resonator wall. Looks well-used. Blonde finish.
07/31/07 566 Artist (589) 1977 H7777?2 Flying Eagle Looks clean with new WeatherKing head.
08/28/07 910 Artist 1977 J767167 Hearts & Flowers Moon bridge. Looks very clean.
11/16/07 687 Artist 70s B787624 Wreath
11/30/07 1,077 Artist 70s C787700 Wreath Hybrid - Ibanez neck and resonator on a Sullivan pot with 3-ply rim. Looks good.
07/27/08 621 Artist 70s Wreath
10/07/08 1,000 Artist 1978 H787212 Wreath Appears pristine.

Iida (sometimes listed as "Lida," "Jida," "Gida" or "Aida")

Date US $ Model Year S/N Inlay Case Notes
08/06/03 550 239? Florentine "Aida"
01/05/04 483 239 1979 M01639 Hearts & Flowers
03/05/05 510 235-1 70s Wreath Shubb Capo
02/02/06 565 233 1976 Leaves & Bows
10/14/06 699 240 70s Wreath Some wear on gold, poor eBay photos
02/06/07 820 239 1981 02019 Hearts & Flowers Very Clean
03/26/07 855 FB-550L 70s Flying Eagle Excellent condition but could not see fretboard. Rare long neck folk model.
05/22/07 661 FB-550L 70s Flying Eagle Conditions appears excellent. Long-neck folk model.
06/07/07 550 233 70s Leaves & Bows Pretty clean; one ding on resonator wall.
06/24/07 511 239T 1976 Hearts & Flowers Tenor.
11/01/07 522 239 70s Hearts & Flowers Looks good, but has the Nitchie 5th capo mod
07/19/08 499 237 70s Hearts & Flowers Pretty clean. 237 is best guess for model.

Saga

Date US $ Model Year S/N Inlay Case Notes
01/02/05 560 Style 1 79/80 RB-250 T&P Flange
03/21/06 860 Bella Voce 1979 Bella Voce Excellent Condition
10/30/06 971 Bella Voce 79/80 Bella Voce Excellent Condition
06/02/07 623 Style 1? 79/80 Wreath Like Style 1 except with more elaborate inlay, including Wreath on the fingerboard.
06/10/07 560 Style 1? 79/80 Wreath Like Style 1 except with more elaborate inlay, including Wreath on the fingerboard.
07/07/07 725 Bella Voce 79/80 Bella Voce Five-star head; metal is rough.
12/19/07 735 Special Florentine 79/80 Florentine Rare. Looks to be in good shape.
03/04/08 650 Style II 79/80 Leaves & Bows Pretty good shape with a few dings.

Sho-bud

Date US $ Model Year S/N Inlay Case Notes
05/01/05 601 7742 80s 1089 Card Suits mfg for Music City Mfg Co, Nashville

Tokai

Date US $ Model Year S/N Inlay Case Notes
02/06/05 637 T 650 R 1980 800018 Snowflake
03/10/06 1,497 T 1200 R 1980 800562 Flying Eagle
12/16/06 1,050 T 1200 R 1983 830153 Flying Eagle

Ventura

Date US $ Model Year S/N Inlay Case Notes
04/11/07 472 1979 Hearts & Flowers Unusual model similar to Alvarez