Glad to have some happy New Year tidings for you all! I took a gamble on eBay (UK) after seeing a Besson International with two tuning slides (so possibly a C/Bb) and engraving being offered as the result of a house clearance. Was on for £75, ended at £91 + £16 p&p, so £107 all up. The seller didn't know anything about it, and was only describing it as it looked infront of him. Did I strike it lucky? Or did I get shafted.... Let's have a look to find out:
It has the original case, made from leather covered wood, lined with red (now orange haha!) velvet, and stamped with "BESSON LONDON". [This was an indicator of the actual age]
The case was stuffed with four or five mutes, all dented and very well loved, some old valve springs, and some very neatly hand-scribed scores of Opera, Jazz, and church music.
The trumpet came with a Rudy Muck 17c cushion rim mouthpiece, well used and some plating worn off.
On to the main item:
The underside of the bell is engraved with "50 medals of honour", "FB", "BESSON & CO LONDON", *star*, "British Throughout"
The topside of the bell has "BESSON INTERNATIONAL" and the characteristic Art Deco engraving
It comes with two tuning slides (of which the Bb has two parts)
The serial number is 130097, dating very early in 1935, I think? I checked and rechecked all the Besson Loyalist sites available (some no longer work) and that's the best I could come up with before the eBay auction. Anyone with further info, I would be very glad to have it! Hornucopia have this type of engraving (although not in silver plate, but looks like with double tuning slides) here (look for the image with a red background)
It has interesting hexagonal valve stems and finger buttons (which are mother of pearl inlaid)
And although the plating has been worn in most places where hands have held it, there are virtually no dents anywhere. Here is a pic compared against my Bb Strad
Valves are a bit worn, but each tuning slide pops when pulled out (something I never do with my strad), indicating that compression is there (and I hadn't even oiled the valves!). They sound a bit clunky and loud, and the whole thing needs a good bath as there is visible gunk inside.
However, I think I am pleased with my purchase....the only thing now is it is still so early in the morning here, that the rest of the house is still asleep so I can't play it!