A crown jewel of pre-Depression Americana. 89-year-old TENOR banjo & case in great condition, with loads of decorative details! Indian-head multi-colored marquetry in natural woods covers the resonator's back and the peg head's front side. Orange-and-brown inlaid wood, punctuated with mother-of-pearl arrowheads and crosses , surrounds the walnut resonator's sides.
Neck inlays on the front complement the 19 frets and consist of a light-toned wood, ebony? , and more mother-of-pearl insets in fancy shapes. The peg head's back is hand-engraved with an eagle , plus "LUDWIG" and BIG CHIEF. A strip of inlaid wood runs down the neck's mid-line, on the back. Near the heel on either side of the neck.Is a hand-carved peace pipe. Below the tailpiece, on the ring, are "78" and "63, " probably the serial number, dating this to 1929. Tuning keys (pegs) are thick, smooth mother-of-pearl. The b rass rim (pot) & tailpiece look to be gold-plated , as do its brackets (J hooks)--all very brightly shiny, while the entire rim--base & sides--looks hand-stamped & engraved. The brass arm rest also seems gold-plated, with expected wear. Drum head and strings look new; all else appears original.
Crazing (crackling) in the shellac/lacquer covering both Indian heads is consistent with its original finish. Scratches at about 4:30 on the resonator affect mostly the brown background area between the tips of the lowest-two headdress feathers (near their tips): two scratches total about 1.5 inches long by about 1/8 inch wide, plus smaller nearby chips, none affecting the marquetry's or background's integrity. Fuchsia-velvet-lined hard-shell brown-leather case is intact & in very good condition, although its rubbed edges will leave a slight powdery deposit unless brushed off. Velvet banjo cover closes with a fully functional zipper going the length of the case. Underneath the case's neck portion is a built-in fully-lined lidded box.Leather trim on the case's lid has a few cracks (on the bottom end), but its handle, brass latch & three hinges, and "bumper" knobs (on sides, ends, & bottom) are tight and intact. Inside the case's lid is a metal banjo-trademarked emblem: "Ludwig BANJOS", "THE ULTIMATE IN BANJOS, " CHICAGO, U. Look soon for my separate listing of an INDIAN-HEAD LUDWIG PLAQUE, same size & detailed marquetry as on the resonator, with a illustrated "map" taped on the back that labels each type of wood used--even more rare than the Big Chief banjo! The item "Big Chief Tenor Banjo & original leather case by Ludwig ULTRA-RARE! Indian heads" is in sale since Sunday, December 23, 2018. This item is in the category "Musical Instruments & Gear\Vintage Musical Instruments\Vintage String\Folk & World\Banjos". The seller is "imaginaryindians" and is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. This item can be shipped to United States.