This is a 1968 TB-500 conversion to RB-500 with an aftermarket neck. FON is 849818. Information taken from a Banjo Hangout ad.
The ad read:
When I got the banjo in a couple of years ago I was a little surprised to find that what appeared to be a 1967/68 TB-500 Gibson still had a 3 ply rim. Come to find out, I guess even though they started using multiply thin rims on their 250 banjo in about 1964/65, I guess they saved some of their 3 ply rims for the later model 500/800 banjos. That was great news in itself, but the even better news was that it appeared to have a Faulkner tone rings on it. I knew that the Faulkner tone rings were well thought of, and while I had originally bought the banjo to flip, after looking it over, I put a 5 string shop neck on it just to see what it sounded like. Wow! It sounded so good that I decided to do as exacting a reproduction RB-500 neck as I could for the banjo. All that I can say is that the results far exceeded my expectations. I hope the pictures do it justice. It is a great example of Gibson history at some of it’s best. The banjo plays great with the reproduction neck profiled to templates that I made from an original 1937 RB1 neck, and the sound is what you would expect from a 3 ply rim and a Faulkner tone ring. It does come with both necks and a fairly new hard shell case. Price is $3900. Thanks…Bill
PS: I did forget to mention that whoever had it before me thought that it would be a good idea to put thumb tacks under the tone ring. Go figure. They did effect some of the finish inside the rim as can be seen in the picture of the lag screw, but the ring to rim fit is perfect. The serial number on this banjo is 849818.