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Holton Chicago trumpet



 
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Ronnie3435
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:06 pm    Post subject: Holton Chicago trumpet Reply with quote

Hey everyone, I was just wondering if anyone could help me find more information and potential value of a trumpet i picked up at an antique store recently. I will post some pictures eventually if I can figure out how, but I guess for now you’ll just have to go off of my description. On the bell is engraved “made by frank holton and co.” along with a flower design. On the valve casing there is a serial number “25897” and a stamp that says frank holt and co, Chicago. From what I can gather, it’s just called the new holton trumpet and was made in 1914. The trumpet itself is not in great shape. The silver playing is okay, the is a decent dent and a small crack in the side of the bell by the valve block, the hole for the water key has widened and leaks terribly, and two of the valves are quite sluggish and stick when pressed down (although this could simply be due to the sheer amount of gunk in the horn. The thing is filthy) I only paid 45 bucks for the horn, original case (bad shape) and original mouthpiece. I was wondering if this is a quality horn with working on, or if the cost of the repairs would exceed the value. I’ve seen other restored holton horns sell for quite a bit, but none of them were this exact model. If this trumpet has the potential to be a good playable horn again, I wouldn’t see any issue investing some money into it. I’m not looking to resell it, so I’m not worried about making a profit quickly. I’m just fascinated by the trumpet and I’d love to see it play again. Any info in the horn anyone has would be greatly appreciated. Anything from playing characteristics (if anyone’s played one) to current and potential value.
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Dennis78
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At one time it was as good as money could buy. That was way back then. It’s not an investment
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Holton Chicago trumpet Reply with quote

Ronnie3435 wrote:
Hey everyone, I was just wondering if anyone could help me find more information and potential value of a trumpet i picked up at an antique store recently. I will post some pictures eventually if I can figure out how, but I guess for now you’ll just have to go off of my description. On the bell is engraved “made by frank holton and co.” along with a flower design. On the valve casing there is a serial number “25897” and a stamp that says frank holt and co, Chicago. From what I can gather, it’s just called the new holton trumpet and was made in 1914. The trumpet itself is not in great shape. The silver playing is okay, the is a decent dent and a small crack in the side of the bell by the valve block, the hole for the water key has widened and leaks terribly, and two of the valves are quite sluggish and stick when pressed down (although this could simply be due to the sheer amount of gunk in the horn. The thing is filthy) I only paid 45 bucks for the horn, original case (bad shape) and original mouthpiece. I was wondering if this is a quality horn with working on, or if the cost of the repairs would exceed the value. I’ve seen other restored holton horns sell for quite a bit, but none of them were this exact model. If this trumpet has the potential to be a good playable horn again, I wouldn’t see any issue investing some money into it. I’m not looking to resell it, so I’m not worried about making a profit quickly. I’m just fascinated by the trumpet and I’d love to see it play again. Any info in the horn anyone has would be greatly appreciated. Anything from playing characteristics (if anyone’s played one) to current and potential value.

It's really hard to know things without seeing or holding it but I'll try...

- Trumpets that old are different than modern horns. They don't have the same blow, same tone, and just play differently. Old French Besson horns from that era were the instruments that ended up being the template for almost all modern trumpets, and that's not what you have. Trumpets from about a decade or slightly more later are decently regarded, some old Conns of that era and the old King Liberty are well regarded instruments. I have one of the latter, and while a fine player in excellent shape, it doesn't play like my modern Yamahas and Benges - being rather tight (or efficient) in it's blow and a very, very compact sound - think old Louie Armstrong recordings.

Your trumpet is even older than that. Cornets were the solo instruments in that era, the trumpet was regarded as a unrefined instrument, not for soloists. The French Besson incorporated many cornet-like features in it's trumpets. These improvements provided the basis of the modern trumpet. But, this is a Holton, not a Besson, and the Besson ideas didn't really filter into the non-French makers until the mid 20's at least.

I haven't played a trumpet that old. So, no idea.

- Sounds like it needs a lot of work. I'm sure it could be done. It's not going to be cheap. Instruments in poor shape probably need to have the valves refitted / replated because they'll be very leaky at this point. They weren't super tight fitted when new, back then. So, that's probably in the ballpark of $400-600 just for the valves, not to mention the other stuff. You'd probably be looking in the ballpark of $500-1000 for everything.

- While Holton is a good quality brand, there's no mystique about this era or make of horns. Once you invest all of the money into the horn, it's probably only worth $400 at the most. Maybe less. There's not much of a market for horns from this era. Collectors tend to collect notable instruments, certain makes, certain eras. Old Bachs from NY, Martin Committees, horns that are the equivalent of the 50's Corvettes. Yours is not, it's old, I guess it's historic because it's old, but it's nothing that would be of special attraction to many buyers. Maybe somebody wants it, if it was restored, but frankly, the supply of these horns far outstrips the meager demand. There are often a lot of wildly overpriced vintage horns on the bay that don't move because no one wants them at that price. Look at items that actually sold for a better estimate of market and value.

- So, in short - will the cost of repairs exceed the value? Yes - maybe by a fairly wide margin.

- If you want to get a cheap and dirty repair, you can probably get it flushed an minor repairs for a few hundred. Then see what you've got.

You can do whatever you'd like, but that's kind of the nuts and bolts of the situation, sans pictures of actually holding it. I worked in a shop, it had a repair shop, people brought it old stuff all the time thinking it was maybe valuable or something. I chalk it up to Antiques Roadshow giving people the idea that old stuff is valuable. Sometimes it's just old stuff. Usually, they just belong on a wall at a bar.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and you post pictures by finding somewhere to host them, publicly and then link to them in your post - either as a link (which will only link to the pics) or with the img tag which will load them.
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its impossible for me to say without seeing the horn. Most of what you mentioned is not a huge deal, but you used the word "crack", which is typically a very bad thing.

The emergence of the trumpet as the new lead in popular music happened in the 19-teens, and not with what we would think of as orchestral trumpets (Vega George, Boston Boss-tone, etc.). The New Holton Trumpet was the first serious American orchestral trumpet, and held that distinction until the Greenleaf-era Conn trumpets appeared starting in 1920.

Vincent Bach had no trumpet when he arrived in the US as a refugee, and arguably deserter from his reserve status in the Austrian Navy, at the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914. Winning assistant principle in the Boston Symphony with an ad-hoc audition on a compact Besson cornet, he began his trumpet playing career using one of Gustav Heim's Holton demonstrators (horns sent to their stable for review prior to production). That horn was a low-pitch only ("LP" on the receiver) 1914 New Holton Trumpet. The bore size was probably Heim's preference of 0.453" and would have been denoted by "00-1/2" at the top of the markings on the back of second valve. You did not mention any markings there, so yours is likely the standard 0.458" bore (Bach got his habit of not marking the standard versions from Holton).

If you read the short bio on Vincent Bach at http://www.trumpet-history.com/Vincent%20Bach.htm , the second photograph is Bach's 1914 BSO publicity photo, holding that 1914 Holton.

To the modern ear, a New Holton Trumpet is very bright, and narrow in spectrum. The dominant French sound at the time in orchestras was not that different, though perhaps with a little more core (and a lot of orchestras still used baroque trumpets at that time, so that's the dominant sound for chromatic trumpets if allowed).

A horn like that is a link to the past history of the instrument, and something great to have as a serious trumpeter - just not for performing on. Cosmetic and functional work (cleaning, corks/pads, smoothing out any bad dents, and maybe a crack patch if it can be done without being obvious are worth it. Valve rebuilds are not.
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great and informative post, OldSchoolEuph! Thanks!
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Ronnie3435
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A little update, the first two valves no longer catch or stick and they screw in and out easily now, but somethings wrong with the third one, it moves up and down, but it won’t come out. It’s like it’s catching on something, but there isn’t anything there?
Wow, all that history is so cool to me. It’s why I like old instruments like this. The part about Bach playing a Holton is so cool, especially that it’s the same model and year. I realize that trumpets from this time have a different sound, but personally I like that old, compact sound. Obviously not for playing in a section now, but there’s just something to it that I like. It’s part of why I was looking at older trumpets in the first place. my goal was to find a matching trumpet and cornet form the early 1900’s.
I didn’t figure an instrument like this would have much resale value even after restored, but I don’t plan on selling it anyway. It would be worth much more than a couple hundred bucks to me. I just want to keep it because I think the history is cool and I like the unique sound if the older instrument. I’m definitely not having the valves replated. That’s a serious amount of money into a horn like this, but I want to get everything else in playable confidtion. I don’t mind if it looks a little bit rough, it’s over a hundred years old after all. I just want to be able to display it, and pick it up and play it if I feel like it. Or maybe even use it for period pieces if I ever get the chanceAs far as the valves leaking, I understand the make special, thicker oil for vintage horns. Would that be worth a shot?
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Last edited by Ronnie3435 on Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ronnie3435
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also tried to post the pictures, but could get it to work properly. If anyone wants the pictures I guess they could pm me and I can email them. I at least know how to do that😂
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Beyond16
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ronnie3435 wrote:
... somethings wrong with the third one, it moves up and down, but it won’t come out. It’s like it’s catching on something, but there isn’t anything there?

Probably corrosion in the casing above the valve. The section of casing where the piston travels during normal playing is constantly cleared of moisture. But the section of casing above that only gets touched when the valve is removed. So if someone oils the valves through the bottom cap for years and never removes the valves, corrosion could build up and prevent valve removal.

To use the Img tag, the URL you supply must start with https. Plain http won't work.
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beyond16 wrote:
Ronnie3435 wrote:
... somethings wrong with the third one, it moves up and down, but it won’t come out. It’s like it’s catching on something, but there isn’t anything there?

Probably corrosion in the casing above the valve. The section of casing where the piston travels during normal playing is constantly cleared of moisture. But the section of casing above that only gets touched when the valve is removed. So if someone oils the valves through the bottom cap for years and never removes the valves, corrosion could build up and prevent valve removal.

To use the Img tag, the URL you supply must start with https. Plain http won't work.

You have to host the pictures on a publicly available site also.
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ronnie3435 wrote:
A little update, the first two valves no longer catch or stick and they screw in and out easily now, but somethings wrong with the third one, it moves up and down, but it won’t come out. It’s like it’s catching on something, but there isn’t anything there?
. . .
I understand the make special, thicker oil for vintage horns. Would that be worth a shot?


I use Yamaha "vintage" but there are several good heavy oils out there for old valves.

In all likelihood, the brass valve guide in third has corroded and stuck to the notch in the casing. Resist the urge to try and drive it out from below as that is how so many horns have been ruined - the piston cannot withstand the force involved. For now. Oil the valve by removing the bottom cap, putting oil on the casing wall with the horn inverted and work it up and in. If you store the horn inverted, it may eventually loosen the guide. If not, that is definitely a job for an experienced tech.
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1965 Besson British Baritone
1975 Olds Recording R-20
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1 to the above post regarding stuck valves. I see horns come in that have had all manner of things jammed into the bottom of valves. Just don't.

Ronnie3435 wrote:
As far as the valves leaking, I understand the make special, thicker oil for vintage horns. Would that be worth a shot?

Yes. A thicker oil should help leaky valves be less leaky and hopefully also move up and down - to some degree.

- Yamaha Vintage is excellent. OldSchoolEuph mentioned this above.
- Ultra Pure Black Label Classic is also quite good. Someone with knowledge here on TH mentioned they use this now, instead of...
- Hetman #3 Piston "Classic." The thickest of the Hetman piston oils.

Which works for you depends on the interaction between oil, horn, and player. It's hard to know, so just try one and see.
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Ronnie3435
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://postimg.cc/rKSsTLhp
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https://postimg.cc/06ZJsqyS
https://postimg.cc/VS03yzRG
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Follow individual links for images.
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, so $45 was a fair price.

It is salvageable as a historical curiosity, but skilled and immediate repair is a must to prevent complete destruction.
- The bell has been folded back. There are multiple cracks and any wrong move will see it completely sheer off. A skilled tech can save it as one piece after removing it to work on, and apply structural patches that while big, will be behind the valve block when viewed from the front so not completely disqualifying it as a display item.
- The stop rod for QC to A is missing, as is the microtuner for the rear of the nested slides (The insert one is the actual tuning slide, the front one with the crook was purely for quick change - they are probably seized together now and appear as a single tuning slide if you dont know what's there)
- The water port is missing - a good shop should have a reasonable substitute that can be installed cheap.

The last horn I encountered like this was a 1917, and it was in far worse shape with seized valves, a broken leadpipe and the bell had detached when someone tried to fix it without the requisite experience and tools. Its third slide assembly will restore a museum piece, its trim parts went to other horns I have as did one high pitch valve slide it had, and its bell flare now tops a Christmas tree each year . . . . Hopefully you can prevent that happening to this one.
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1962 Mt. Vernon Bach 43
1927 Conn 22B NYS
1957 Holton Model 27 Stratodyne
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1975 Olds Recording R-20
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