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Vintage Trumpets / Cornets Discuss Refinished vs original condition in the Equipment forums; When considering a vintage trumpet that has a rather high level of collectibility, how does relacquering affect the trumpet's value? ...
  1. #1
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    Feb 2009

    Refinished vs original condition

    When considering a vintage trumpet that has a rather high level of collectibility, how does relacquering affect the trumpet's value? Does a horn that has been freshly (and properly) redone have more or less desirability and value than the same horn that has honest but significant wear? How about a trumpet that has been relacquered quite some time ago and is showing a second round of patina? Are horns more like vintage cars, where restoration usually adds value, or vintage guitars where restoration detracts value?

  2. #2
    Piano User Ursa's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Northern Michigan

    Re: Refinished vs original condition

    JayVee, when it comes to a relacquered trumpet, it really comes down to a the preferences of the potential buyer.

    Relacquering can change the response and tone of a brass instrument. Any serious trumpeter who is considering a relaquered horn is going to want to give it a thorough trial to make sure that the new lacquer job didn't "ruin the horn." If the relacquered horn plays well, the refinishing may add some value to a buyer.

    On the other hand, just as with guitars, some players will not consider purchasing relacquered trumpets at any price.

    Do keep in mind that a potential buyer of a relacquered horn is going to buy with the understanding that the refinished horn may be more difficult to resell in the future, or may resell for less than an untouched instrument. A relacquered instrument may very well be worth less to some buyers.

    Myself, I would consider a relacquered horn if it looked magnificent, played well, was not especially rare or valuable, and was one I planned on keeping as a regular player rather than as an investment. But a valuable vintage horn? Restoring the full functionality of the horn and rebuilding the valves if needed would add significant value to me, but leave the finish alone--I like old things that look old. 'Nuff said.
    Ursa's collection...
    1929 Holton Monster E-flat tuba
    1932 Conn 6E New Wonder alto horn
    1937 Indiana Band Instrument Company E-flat sousaphone
    1956 Holton Super Collegiate trumpet - Copper/Nickel/Brass
    1964 Holton Collegiate cornet
    1966 Conn 4D Artist "French" horn
    1967 Olds Ambassador cornet
    1969 King Silver Flair trumpet
    1995 Yamaha YEP-321S euphonium
    2006 Blessing XL-CR cornet

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