View Full Version : Found old banjo uke - Van Allen

Howlin Bob
03-03-2011, 10:25 AM
Hello everybody! Sorry If this is the wrong place for this, or it's been discussed elsewhere, but I'm having a really hard time getting any info on Van Allen banjolele ukes.

After taking up the uke, the father-in-law mentioned he had one in his loft that had been there about 40 years since his uncle died. To cut a long story short, it's in prety good nick, I've got a floating bridge and re-strung it and it sounds pretty nice, but I would love to know more about it.

On the headstock the Logo reads "New Revelation" "Will Van Allen" "Banjos London". I've found snippets of info here and there, and think it was built c.1920 by New Revelation and were branded as Will Van Allen after the entertainer. But thats all I can find.

As a relatively novice uker I'd love to hear from anyone with an oopinion on these, whether theyre good/bad quality, if anyone else has one, and I'd be interested in its value, although wouldnt want to sell. Probably.

Sorry for the relatively poor quality of the pics.https://files.me.com/rob.bartlett/wj1o1ihttps://files.me.com/rob.bartlett/z7ef1dhttps://files.me.com/rob.bartlett/nxaetl

03-03-2011, 02:47 PM
looks fantastic.
Here's some info:
If it's good enough for Formby, I think you've found a winner.

Uncle Leroy
03-03-2011, 02:58 PM
That looks very cool.....great vibe I bet.

03-03-2011, 04:13 PM
Very nice, Bob!

Van Allens have an almost legendary status in the UK because they were likely built by Abbott, the maker of what's arguably the very best banjo uke ever made - the Monarch - and also because of the George Formby connection; he's known to have had a couple and he only kept the best.

however, Formby had the model A which had 14 tension hooks and a large flanged resonator, and you've got the junior model, which has 10 hooks and a flat recessed resonator. As to possible value - two student models - similar to yours but with 8 tension hooks - moved on ebay recently for 82 and 77 pounds. Your model moved over a year ago for 124 pounds. Value has softened a little in the market recently - so I'd estimate that your value is somewhere in that range.

However, it only matters if you plan to sell, which I wouldn't do just now. It looks great - I've never played one, so I really would love to hear it, if you were to ever do a video that'd be great!


Howlin Bob
03-08-2011, 08:40 AM
Thanks for the feedback my ukulele brothers, I'll report back to the in law. Certainly excited about the find, just need to get a bit better at playing to get the best from it!

Thanks again

03-08-2011, 09:15 AM
Gimme... ;)..


03-08-2011, 09:19 AM
Am happy for you, and am envisioning similar luck for myself.

*visualizing playable banjo uke for free*

03-08-2011, 10:49 AM
Am happy for you, and am envisioning similar luck for myself.

*visualizing playable banjo uke for free*

I always do that. So far, no Gibson UB-4...but I keep seeing it, very clearly... :)