Essex Paragon

Clifford Essex

Paragon Artist, 1930s

This beautiful banjo is an escapee from the Tsumura collection, via Bernunzio's. It's an Essex Paragon Artist (serial number 1604), likely from the Thirties. The original rosewood fingerboard has been replaced with ebony, with inlays to match the original. It has new tuners and a Vega armrest. The tailpiece in the picture has since been replaced with the original Clifford Essex tailpiece.

The Paragon Artist and Deluxe were the top of the line for Essex. They were similar in design to the regular Paragon line, but with gold plated hardware and extra ornamentation. It has been said (translation: I read this several times on the internet) that, all together, Clifford Essex made a total of 27 Paragon Artist and Deluxe models. Anyway, they are certainly rare.

This one was last seen in the collection of Bob Allbut, aka Southend Bob.

Photo credit: Bob Allbut. Photos from his eBay listing, February 2013, used with permission.

Essex Paragon

Get in touch! I'd love your thoughts, corrections, additions...and any pictures of great British banjos you might happen to have lying around.