1959 Gibson RB-250 banjo with FON of 9-552-6. This banjo is from a Reverb listing. Text reads as:
Banjo purchased from original owner who bought brand new in 1959. Banjo matches all details to date it as a 1950s: Mastertone block in the next to last fret, and a bowtie in the last fret, wide Les Paul guitar type frets, 4-hole archtop tone ring, does not have the Gibson sticker inside the rim, thick rim of 3/4 ply, and 3 thumbscrews holding the resonator on.
Banjo head has small tear and likely needs to be replaced. Frets show moderate wear but plays fine. Small separation of binding around headstock and neck, easy repair. 3-ply rim and 4 hole tone ring. Cam style D tuners were installed but removed by original owner (now inlay covering old placement). Moderate scratches on resonator. I cannot tell if there is an old neck heel repair or if someone glued/laquered over seam. It is stable. It had string tension on it the entire time it was stored before I bought it and was holding fine (>10 years). I have manually placed plenty tension on it with hands and examined to test, and it doesn’t gap or move. Though it could be cleaned up cosmetically, it has never bothered me. Banjo comes with non-original Epiphone hard case. Tailpiece non-original. Tailpiece is vintage ODE. Minor pitting/corrosion on sides of metal parts, front and back clean. Missing armrest. I can include an armrest if desired but non-original and plenty pitting/surface rust.
SN: 9-552-6. I have received lots of questions about the serial number photo. The red arrow is not pointing to this banjo, but rather the era of 1959 banjos to show where in the production numbers it fits in.