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Author Topic: Identifying antique trombone  (Read 3854 times)
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snk01
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« on: Mar 14, 2008, 06:03AM »

I am trying to identify (age, etc.) a very old Olds trombone, and perhaps the value of such an instrument.  Is there a source I can contact in order to obtain this information?  Thanks.
« Last Edit: Mar 14, 2008, 06:10AM by RedHotMama » Logged
BGuttman
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« Reply #1 on: Mar 14, 2008, 06:32AM »

Firstly, don't think that you can retire from the proceeds of selling the Olds trombone.  Even "prized" instruments rarely go over $1000.

There is a Web site called "Olds Central" (don't have the link here, but I believe it is in our Link Library) that gives information on older Olds trumpets and trombones.

Can you describe the instrument?  There were a number of "branded" instruments and there were instruments that did not have brands on them.  Here are a few:

1.  Olds Standard (never called that except in catalogs).  Has tuning in slide (2 straight and 1 curved brace on the slide).  Made from 1912 to about 1930.  Great playing instruments but not excessively rare.

2.  Olds Ambassador.  Student line Olds.  Has "Ambassador" on bell.  Made from late 1940s to the end of the Olds line in the early 1970s.  Comes with and without F-attachment.

3.  Olds Special.  Step-up horn.  Comes straight.  Made from 1960s to end of the Olds line.

4.  Olds Super.  Professional horn.  Comes with and without F-attachment.  Has "octagonal" or "fluted" (actually hexadecagonal) slide.

5.  Olds Studio.  See Super.  Different bore size.

6.  Olds Recording.  See Super.  Different bore size.

7.  Olds Opera.  Profesional horn.  Usually in large (.547") bore.

S-series Olds trombones are considered "student" instruments.
P-series Olds trombones are considered "professional" instruments.

An instrument newer than 1972 is generally considered not an Olds since the name was bought by other successive makers.

Edit: Frodo pointed out that I made an error in the Special and Super.  Fixed.
« Last Edit: Mar 14, 2008, 10:36AM by BGuttman » Logged

Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #2 on: Mar 14, 2008, 07:46AM »

The very early Olds horns didn't have model didn't have model designations. They were sometimes marked "F.E. Olds" and sometimes "The Olds." They were generally referred to by their features, like "Self Balancing" to refer to one with a tuning slide in the bell. Models with Tuning in Slide were generally identified by numbers stamped into the bottom of the slide connector. LP means "Low Pitch" and is generally more desirable than HP, which is "High Pitch." Low Pitch horns are generally able to play in modern ensembles. You'll have a designation of bore size, which will run S M or L. Finally, there will be a designation of bell size--somewhere between 6" and 8". Some had counterweights shaped like a bear, some like a bat's wing, some had none. The bear adds the most value to the horn. Some had fluted slides (ridges on the inners) and some didn't. The small bores aren't worth much. Some people like the large bore and small bell combination, but for my money the best you can do is an LP/L/8/Bear CW/Ridged slide. And that's what I play!

If you're talking about this one on Ebay:



it's worth what someone is willing to bid for it. I was going to bid around $25 and cut it down into a TIS alto. The condition of the horn makes a lot of difference in the value, and this one looks like it's been gracing the wall of a TGIFridays for awhile and chances are the inner stockings are shot. It's also generally not a good idea to buy from someone who knows nothing about horns, since they tend to miss detail which can have a strong effect on the horn's playing characteristics.
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« Reply #3 on: Mar 14, 2008, 09:20AM »

I think that the Super should be considered a professional instrument - they have a nickle silver/brass tone ring and are highly reckoned jazz horns. The super trumpets were used by Jonah Jones and Chet Baker among others with much success.
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« Reply #4 on: Mar 14, 2008, 09:58AM »

If you're talking about this one on Ebay:



it's worth what someone is willing to bid for it. I was going to bid around $25 and cut it down into a TIS alto. The condition of the horn makes a lot of difference in the value, and this one looks like it's been gracing the wall of a TGIFridays for awhile and chances are the inner stockings are shot.

I won one of these old old Olds in pretty good condition a year ago for $175 shipped ($145 + $30). Couldn't be happier at that price. I paid more than this for my Super and Recording, but I won't say since it was a while ago. Check eBay sales for a snapshot of current pricing.

 Good!
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