Antique Musical Instruments/My father's cornet


QUESTION: My father's cornet was purchased at a pawn shop in the late 30's or early 40's-his first musical instrument.  It is a Frank Holton & Co, serial number 13093.  It is to be given to his great-grandson, who plays trumpet and attends a performing arts high school.  When my father had the instrument refurbished in the 40's, he was told that the instrument previously belonged to someone of significance in the music world.  What can you tell me about the instrument?  Thank you so very much for any information.

ANSWER: The horn dates back to 1939.  But, unless there are some marks of significance on the horn, there is no way to know who may have previously owned it.

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QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Scott, for responding.  Thought I'd give you an update on my quest.  I hadn't a clue when I asked the question.  I've taken it to a local artisan for cleaning and he, too, thought the instrument dated to 1939.  That does not mesh with family lore or my father's notes. It was purchased in Indiana at a pawn shop, prior to when my uncle graduated from Dental School in June of 1938 (the family has the diploma).  It was badly dented when purchased with a bent mouthpiece.  It seems Frank Holton & Co started their serial numbers over again, perhaps when they moved?  There is also a serial number 13093 dated 1911, and I believe that that horn is my father's.  Might there be distinguishing marks such as Frank Holton & Co Chicago, that could help us place the date?  Chicago is part of the inscription on the horn.

Holton did indeed run two serial number lists when he was transitioning from Chicago to Elkhorn.  

But, I have to confess that I mis-read the serial number.  My old eyes put an extra digit in the serial number.  Let me revise my dating of the instrument to 1911.  That is before Holton started to move to Elkhorn.  So, Chicago is the only option for location.  

My apologies.  

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Kenton Scott


Please note: My area is BRASS instruments, not other wind, string or percussion instruments. I will provide information on antique, obscure and out of production BRASS instruments. 1) Please don't ask for evaluations, I'll not provide them on this site. 2) I am often asked very similar questions, so I'd invite you to first check on Much of the information I have garnered about this topic, I have posted on this WEB site.


I perform in several historical bands, have informally researched the area, repair brass instruments, and operate a Forum dedicated to the topic at

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