Buying & Appraisals


It is difficult, if not impossible, to price a horn over the telephone or even e-mail with photos. There is no substitute for examining the horn first-hand.

I’ve looked at (and bought) many a horn which the seller says is in excellent playing condition, but which is rife with non-sealing pads and clunky key action.

I typically evaluate horns on 3 criteria:

  • COSMETIC CONDITION: How pretty is it?
  • MECHANICAL CONDITION: Dents, broken or repaired or missing parts, bent bodies?
  • PLAYING CONDITION: Pads sealing well; horn well regulated and key action snappy; intonation good; plays well and easily, top to bottom? I might be able to give you a general idea, but to really come close to the value of a horn, I’ll have to see it in person and possibly do some research on it.

If you want a formal appraisal done, and the results written up and signed by me, it will cost $25. Whether for insurance purposes or whatever. I will say right up front that many horns are “worth” more than the price you might be able to sell them for.

I am personally most interested in so-called vintage horns – mainly horns from the ’40’s through the 60’s.  American, French, German, Italian, Japanese and other countries.


To be frank, any horn I buy from you will likely have to be at least a few hundred dollars under what might be considered retail price.  I have to sell the horn and make some sort of profit. Just like a used car dealer, I buy at a wholesale price and sell at a retail price.

can’t pay the rent and utilities with horns sitting on the shelf. Also, I assume I will have to do some work on each and every horn I buy. I have folks tell me that such and so horn is listed for $xxx dollars on eBay, but that doesn’t make much difference to me.