Smithsonian Collections

Banjo, Lindbergh, King Collection

Image for Banjo, Lindbergh, King Collection
Smithsonian Museum
National Air and Space Museum
Physical Description
A custom made tenor banjo with four strings. The case for the banjo is a white faux alligator skin with gold colored latches with red fabric interior. The carrying case is blue with padding inside on the top and bottom. White lettering on the case reads "Lucky Lindy Stan King" red lettering reads "Dale Small Custom Banjos" Lettering on the internal support brace reads "Lucky Lindy" and can be seen through the clear head along with the decorative resonator. The decoration on the resonator shows an eagle grasping the American and French flags in its claws and the Spirit of St. Louis below the eagle in front of an American flag. The blue portion of the flag has white lettering "New York to Paris" The fingerboard is made of abalone with alternating patterns between the frets, such designs include "Stan King, Paris, New York" an image of the Spirit of St. Louis and a horseshoe with feathered wings. The peghead has a carved eagle with a white banner hanging from its mouth with black lettering "Spirit of St. Louis" on either side of the banner are the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower. Below the banner is the Spirit of St. Louis. The back of the peghead features four ivory pegs with an eagle carved into each one. Red white and blue lettering reads "Spirit of St. Louis" with a pair of wings below the lettering. The heel features a carved mock up of Lindbergh's head wearing a flight cap and goggles. The backside of the resonator has the Spirit of St. Louis flying above the earth with the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower standing tall above the ground. Above the Spirit of St. Louis lettering reads "Lucky Lindy" with an eagle grasping an American flag in its claws with a banner hanging from its mouth with black lettering "The Lone Eagle". An American flag is on either side of the back panel. The resonator has a band running its perimeter with individual letters between the brackets; these letters spell out "Charles A. Lindbergh" The base of the resonator has an alternating pattern of winged horseshoes and the Spirit of St. Louis. The tailpiece has an engraved image of the Spirit of St. Louis.
On May 20-21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh literally flew into history when he crossed the Atlantic Ocean in his Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis, thus becoming the first pilot to fly solo and nonstop from New York to Paris. This flight made Lindbergh a household name and catapulted him into fame and celebrity. The objects of popular culture in the National Collection display everything from ashtrays to wristwatches reflect the public adulation for Lindbergh and the powerful commercial response to his celebrity. More than 75 years after the Spirit's historic flight, Lindbergh's name still has the power help sell manufactured goods.
Dale Small
Credit Line
Gift of the Stanley King Family.
Metal, plastic, fabric, wood most likely rosewood, ivory, ebony, abalone
3-D: 106.7 x 43.8 x 19.1cm (42 x 17 1/4 x 7 1/2 in.)
MEMORABILIA-Popular Culture