An unfretted banjo marked "W. Hardy of Lincoln" as the maker was passed through A.P. Sharpe’s hands but no details of this maker details have been found. Being unfretted indicates the instrument was made about 1880.
The recently discovered maker Williamson also of Lincoln made fretless banjos in a very similar genre to Hardy and they were no doubt contemporaries although the neck of this example is made of mahogany.
Images courtesy of AE Dowse & Son, Sheffield