Creek Don't Rise

Value of Style 9 Vega/Tubaphone
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Author:  paulrace [ Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Value of Style 9 Vega/Tubaphone

A reader writes:

Hi Paul..... I have a Vega Banjo, (was my fathers'Uncles.) I would like to find out its honest value in order to sell. The info. from the banjo is: Style #9, The Vega Co., Boston. #59571 Tu Ba Phone. If not yourself, is there someone here in the Chicago area I could bring it to?
I did send this info w/ pic's to a place in Michigan, (Elderly Instruments) and they would like me to bring it to Lansing to check it over, & give me an evaluation.
I'd rather not drive that far if I don't have to. I appreciate any help or advice you can give me. thanks,

You have one of the more highly desirable collector's banjos. I assume it's a 4-string. How many frets?

I've seen similar instruments in playable or at least restorable condition go in the $700+ range,

Here's a fellow trying to sell his for much more than that: ... ne-tenor-0

Of course what people are asking versus what they get can be very different things. I have an article on how to investigate such things here: ... _value.htm

If that doesn't help you, send me some photos, and I'll try to help you get more specific.

Have a great day,

- Paul

Author:  paulrace [ Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Value of Style 9 Vega/Tubaphone

The writer reponded:

Hi Paul.......... Thanks for the e mail. I brought my Vega to a place in Frankfort IL. called, Down Home Guitars. Their repair guy is fixing up the banjo, (new head, etc.) and will take photo's & advertise it. They take a percent off of the sale price. Not sure yet what it will list for. He did tell me that if it were a 5 string it might bring a higher price.
If you have any ideas, or are interested in it, let me know. thanks.


If he's going to advertise it on eBay or, you'll probably do about as well as you can expect short of doing all that yourself. Many of the "Gibson" 5-strings from that era actually started out as 4-strings and got aftermarket necks because the 5-string banjo became more popular. (One reason I'm not always impressed by someone telling me he has a 1920s-era Gibson Mastertone 5-string - the neck is almost always NOT built by Gibson - even if it has the Gibson inlay on the headstock).

This was less common with Vegas, since they had a different pot design. Your repair guy is right that a 5-string would bring a higher price today, but my preference would be to find someone who appreciates a fine 4-string for what it is. Even if it brings less $$$ than a "Frankensteined" 5-string might.

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