The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ SS Stewart American Princess Open Back 5-String Banjo, 1899


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The SS Stewart American Princess 5-string open back banjo was built in the 1890’s in Philadelphia, and was aimed towards female players with its compact size and light weight.

This wonderful SS Stewart American Princess example is in great condition and does not look at all like it’s over a century old. An open back design featuring a 10″ pot and Cherry neck with Ebony fingerboard and head plate, the SS Stewart American Princess had a relatively short (24.3 inch) scale length and light weight. The inlay set is Mother of Pearl with a bit of metal standing in for ‘stems’ on the headstock.

The tailpiece is the SS Stewart ‘Common Sense’ model, and is best used with gut or, as used here, nylon strings. The tuners are complete and work well. The adjustable neck brace is a Stewart patent and appeared in 1894; the serial number is over 60,000 and so the banjo is from the year after Stewart’s death.

This lovely SS Stewart American Princess is sold with a custom-built case, likely of Cherry. The case has a small interior strap to hold the tensioner wrench.

SS Stewart at the time was a prominent builder, delivering well over 20,000 banjos from 1878 to 1904. Stewart himself died in April 1898, and the company passed to his partner George Bauer and Stewart’s sons, who worked together till 1901. Bauer and the sons split, and Bauer continued to make Stewart banjos till 2010, at which point the company was sold twice, to Keenophone and then B&J – Buegeleisen & Jacobson, a prominent publisher and music retailer, in business to this day. During WW2 and later, the Harmony company of Chicago built a large number of archtop guitars with the name SS Stewart (among many other names).

Price: $1,550.00 CAD
  • Model: American Princess
  • Year: 1899 | Approximate year
  • Finish Gloss
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 64035, likely built around 1899 in Philadelphia PA
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Very Good
  • Date Posted: 04/07/2023

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 4.004lbs 1.82kg
  • Scale Length: 24.2913in 617mm
  • Nut Width: 1.294in 32.87mm

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