American Five-String Fretless Banjo

American Five-String Fretless Banjo

<< >>
Usage conditions apply

This banjo was made by an unknown maker in the United States around 1880-1882. It is a Five-String Banjo with a nickel-covered hoop, twenty-four brackets, black walnut fingerboard, and friction pegs. There is a medallion on the lower part of the fingerboard:


John Howard Foote (1833-1896) was a musical instrument dealer with shops in New York City and Chicago. This instrument listed in an 1880 J. Howard Foote catalog, sold as a “Stage Banjo” (#6969), for $10.00.

Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
place made
United States
Physical Description
nickel (overall material)
walnut (overall material)
overall: 35 in x 11 1/4 in x 2 3/4 in; 88.9 cm x 28.575 cm x 6.985 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of J. Howard Foote
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Note: Comment submission is temporarily unavailable while we make improvements to the site. We apologize for the interruption. If you have a question relating to the museum's collections, please first check our Collections FAQ. If you require a personal response, please use our Contact page.