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Thread: Frank Benko F5 copy

  1. #1
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Frank Benko F5 copy

    Interesting mandolin here:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-20s-...item234ca5cc13

    The seller's wrong about the age of the instrument. Frank Benko wasn't born until 1925, and emigrated from Croatia in the '40s. He set up shop as a luthier first in Montreal and later in Toronto:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-20s-...item234ca5cc13
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  2. #2
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Would it be too much to ask for ONE picture to be in focus?
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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  4. #3
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    ONE picture IS in focus.
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  5. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Fuzzy focus or not... we need to document before the listing disappears...

    Martin... are you actually familiar with this maker? Have you seen others? Was he from Pittsburgh? Where did you get your info?

    Item description
    Inside markings are as follows "Radiona" "Tambura Mandolina Gitara" Frank Benko " Cant make out bottom words but center word appears to be dominione.
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    Jim

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  6. #5
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Which one Martin? They are pretty bad, the peghead one is almost in focus, at the tip.
    Maybe one of us needs better glasses
    Sorry but, they aren't worth much in my opinion.
    Too bad, it is kind of interesting. I second Jim, what can you tell us about this guy?
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  7. #6

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    20's-30's ? Riiight. " Flat back is solid looks really nice no cracks. Best looking part of the instrument." Would be surprised if it is flat. Too bad he didn't take a blurry pic of it ! Looks pretty interesting though.

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  9. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Aha! I can't wait for Martin to return -- he prob is at some rehearsal, really playing music, or something.

    This article about Frank Benko is where he got his info. Interesting. He is also famous for his handmade cases.
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  11. #8

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Hello, I a the guy selling the Frank Benko Mandolin on Ebay

    I will be uploading new and better pictures within the next hour or so.

    Look at my other listings, this was found with the Wurlitzer Saxophone which I was able to precisely date in the late 19 teens.

    My wife inherited these from her grandfather when he passed away. All I know is what google taught me and a few people who were asking questions about it. I deal in sports cards and sports memorabilia not antique instruments.

    Here and on Ebay Ill do my best to answer any and all questions that Im able to. I understand on here you try to document these things for historys sake and I respect and will gladly support that in anyway I can.

    Please any questions do not hesitate to ask me. You can reach me here, on ebay or email, Joestutz@rocketmail.com
    Thanks, Joey

  12. #9
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Nice A model in the Benko article, much more refined looking than the F-5 model. I thought the headstock of the F-5 would have "Gibson" on it like so many early 70's examples by various makers.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

  13. #10
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Very cool Jim!
    Joe, after seeing the article I am very much looking forward to seeing better pictures. Most of the folks here have far more in depth knowledge than I, if someone asks a question you can't answer, put it to the folks here, you will get answers by the page!
    I apologize for my crack about picture quality, it's just kind of a pet peeve of mine. The better the picture, the more interest you might generate.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  14. #11

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    No problem on the crack lol. I deal in sports card,I get crystal clear pics of them by scanning them but I cant scan a mnadolin. To be honest I had no clue what this mandolin would be worth. I started it at 169 more as a fishing expedition, if it sells it sells if it didnt id put it in a closet till I learned more. Now with all the interest and ovious value I am getting more and better pictures. My oldest niece has one of them fancy ipones and is coming by when the snow stops to take more and clearer pics of both the mandolin and the saxophone for me.

    In the mandolin case was also a wired thing that when i googled it I beleive it to be a guitar pick up. It says The Turner co cedar rapids model nxc 1957 , would yous happen to know what thats about? I dont think it goes to the mandolin but was in the case with it.

  15. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Welcome, Joe. I am looking fwd to seeing the new and better photos. While you are at it, take pics of that pickup. I never heard of that brand but it could possibly be a mandolin pick up. Martin who started this thread hosts an electric mandolin site and he might know what that is.

    Even from the fuzzy pics it looks like your grandfather-in-law played this one a lot. It does look like it has a bit of wear. A potential buyer would also be concerned about any cracks, sinkage of the top or warpage of the neck.
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Mar-05-2015 at 10:18pm.

  16. #13

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Check out the 12th Fret in Ontario. - www.12fret.com - . Frank Benko made his instruments there. There's an interesting article there about him.

  17. #14

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

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  19. #15

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Hope these help, the bottom pic of the hole , i have the white thing that goes in it, just took it out for pic

  20. #16
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Sorry, I meant to link to that 12th Fret article in my original post, and instead posted the eBay link twice.

    Looks like it's in rough shape. Heel crack: Ouch. Needs a lot of cleaning up and repair. At one point someone played the snot out of it, but it has been neglected for quite some time.

    A photo of the label might help determine when it was made. Tailpiece suggests pre-1967.

    Still an interesting curiosity, since prior to 1980 very few indie builders made F5s that weren't Gibson copies.

    Not likely to go much higher than the current bid price, given all the work it needs. The thing to do would be to call the 12th Fret and ask if they're interested in it.
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  21. #17
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    The pictures help - a crack at heel of the neck is always a concern plus the one close to the end pin. Could be a project for someone to fix up. Thanks for the photos.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

  22. #18

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Thank you for your feedback. Any bidders not happy with it are welcome to back out and I will still honor whatever the ending sale price is. Its of no use to me and I would for someone to get it who is gonna use it and love it.

  23. #19
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Sheehy View Post
    Check out the 12th Fret in Ontario. - www.12fret.com - . Frank Benko made his instruments there. There's an interesting article there about him.
    Yes, Martin meant to link to that article and I linked to it above.
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  24. #20
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Joe: Is there a label? If so, if you can photograph it, that would be great, otherwise let us know what is says on it or even if there is any writing inside the body.

    Also, does your wife or her family have any photos of her grandfather playing it or does any family member remember him playing? It is always nice when you find out tidbits of provenance like that.

    Also, any photos of that Turner co cedar rapids model nxc 1957 pickup? Know of that one, Martin?

    BTW photo #10 seems to show a patch of Bondo or plastic wood on the lower point.

    I agree that this looks like a fixer-upper. Interesting tho.
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  25. #21

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Joe: Is there a label? If so, if you can photograph it, that would be great, otherwise let us know what is says on it or even if there is any writing inside the body.

    Also, does your wife or her family have any photos of her grandfather playing it or does any family member remember him playing? It is always nice when you find out tidbits of provenance like that.

    Also, any photos of that Turner co cedar rapids model nxc 1957 pickup? Know of that one, Martin?

    BTW photo #10 seems to show a patch of Bondo or plastic wood on the lower point.

    I agree that this looks like a fixer-upper. Interesting tho.
    Photo 10 is where the small piece came off but i have that piece in the case.

    Cant get a clear photo of the inside label. Heres best I can describe it. "Radiona" "Tambura Mandolina Gitara" Frank Benko " Cant make out bottom words but center word appears to be dominione and the numbers 359 to the left of what i think is dominione , its hard to read label is dirty, ive tried to wipe some dirt away with a Qtip but not much luck.

    Here is a pic for the "pickup" thing i was talking about.Click image for larger version. 

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  27. #22
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Not sure what the label means esp "Radiona" and "dominione" unless those were Croatian words -- maybe he sold radios and dominione means dominion?

    As for the pickup... I found a Turner Microphone Company catalog online and it had this pickup. Yours may be missing one knob.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  28. #23

    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Not sure what the label means esp "Radiona" and "dominione" unless those were Croatian words -- maybe he sold radios and dominione means dominion?

    As for the pickup... I found a Turner Microphone Company catalog online and it had this pickup. Yours may be missing one knob.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Your absolutely right it looks like there should be another knob there. Thank you

  29. #24
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    I've seen pickups like that, although the brand name doesn't ring a bell.

    Radiona means "workshop" in Croatian.

    359 Rue Dominion could have been Benko's address in Montreal, before he moved to Toronto: https://www.google.com/maps/place/35...625895dd1c2f93
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  31. #25
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frank Benko F5 copy

    Ah.... now we are getting somewhere. I didn't know you spoke Croatian, Martin.

    Turner was a big microphone maker. Attached is the whole catalog.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails turnermiccat.PDF  
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