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French Horn/Sansone 5 valve French Horn

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QUESTION: I have my mom's Sansone 5 valve French Horn that I just dropped off for a professional cleaning- she would like to sell it. Lorenzo Sansone was her teacher in the 1940's. Do you have any idea what it is worth and where I might be able to sell it?

I do not have a picture yet but would post one as soon as I get it back.

Thank you!

ANSWER: Hi, valuing old horns precisely is a pretty impossible task. As with antiques and collectables, the value is simply a combination of what the seller thinks they can ask and what the buyer is prepared to pay. But unlike antiques, there's not much to go on in terms of a history of auction prices. There are quite a lot of old horns around and not a huge amount of collectors, and most sales are private.

In the case of an interesting horn like yours, you might find someone who is interested in the historical aspect. But more likely, if it's in good playing condition, someone who just wants to play it. I'm not sure exactly what type of horn it is until I see it anyway, so I can't really offer anything in terms of a possible price yet. Send some nice photos!

The repairer who is doing the work might have some idea as well...

AJ

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QUESTION: I am attaching some photos of this horn I told you about. It's been cleaned, oiled and greased and everything works very nicely. I am living in NH and the instrument place where it was cleaned was not very helpful on prices. Would you be able to advise me on a possible price or where I might be able to try and sell it?

Answer
OK, so it's a 5-valve Bb single horn, the thumb valve is an A/stopping valve and the little finger (sorry, pinky) valve is an F extension. That may not mean a lot to you but will to a potential buyer :)

As a Bb single it's not really a horn for a beginner or student. It will probably be mainly of interest to someone who likes to collect horns and play on them, it's probably quite a good quality instrument. And, of course, it has an interesting history.

One good place to advertise it would be here: http://www.hornsociety.org/hornplayer-dot-net  where you can post for free. If you do, take some better pictures, lots of close-ups, and write as much history as you can into the ad.

There is one quite similar horn listed there, an original Geyer Bb single for which they are asking $4650... sounds like a very optimistic price to me. But if you trawl through the other listings and look at the more "historic" horns you might get an idea. If someone is interested they will probably bargain with you a bit anyway. So I guess it's best to start quite high.

Alternatively, if you are after a quick sale, put it on Ebay and see what happens. Start at whatever the minimum is that you would accept, and see how much it goes for. If you're prepared to ship it to Japan (for instance) you will get more buyers although there are plenty in the US as well.

It's really impossible to give too much price guidance, but I suppose if it was me I would start at  $1500 on Ebay, see if anyone bites. Maybe put it on hornplayer.net at $2500? Or try for more! It's really your decision. If you do sell I'd be very interested to know the outcome...

Good luck!

AJ

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Alan Jones

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Can answer just about anything on playing the horn, repertoire, buying instruments, repairs, care and maintenance

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25 years of professional playing and teaching in the UK

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GRSM (Hons), LRAM, ARCM

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