Banjo’s journey: NH to Portland and back

Jamey Winchester of Portland bought a 1922 banjo at a garage sale and shipped it back to its builder's family in Massachussetts (April 2013)
Jamey Winchester of Portland bought a 1922 banjo at a garage sale and shipped it back to its builder's family in Massachussetts (April 2013)

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Jamey Winchester is a set and prop builder by trade. At a garage sale recently, he found a banjo for $25.

“I don’t play banjo but I thought it was pretty cool,” he said. “At the very least I could hang it on the wall.”

But when Winchester dusted it off and did a little research, he found this banjo had a tale to tell.

Calvert Parker of Keene, New Hampshire received a patent for this banjo in 1922.
Calvert Parker of Keene, New Hampshire received a patent for this banjo in 1922.

It was built by Calvert Parker in 1922, the same year he was awarded a patent for his design in Keene, New Hampshire.

He posted a note on the Internet about the banjo and it led him to a woman near Boston who is married to Calvert Parker’s great-grandson.

“She emailed and told me they’d been looking for one,” Winchester said. “And she said ‘It would be the greatest thing to give to my husband for his 50th birthday.'”

It’s not known how or when the banjo made its way from New Hampshire to Portland, but it’s now back east, in Belmont, Massachussetts, with the family of the man who made it almost 100 years ago.

Jamey Winchester of Portland bought this 1922 banjo at a garage sale and shipped it back to the builder's family in Massachussetts (April 2013)
Jamey Winchester of Portland bought this 1922 banjo at a garage sale and shipped it back to the builder’s family in Massachussetts (April 2013)

“I couldn’t see her, but I thought she was going to cry when I said, ‘I’ll just sent it to you,’ and I told her, ‘Well, you’re going to have to pay for shipping,'” he said, laughing.

“She was kind of in shock and she said, ‘Why would you do that?’ And I said, ‘Because it’s your heritage, it’s your family’s heritage.'”

He isn’t making any money off the banjo. Just getting it back to where it belongs is enough for him.

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