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Trumpet/Besson Class A Proteano "Prototype"

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Question
Besson PROTEANO
Besson PROTEANO  
Hi,

I have an old cornet which I bought about 10 years ago from a second hand shop in Australia.

I am picking it up to start playing again and would like to know more about its history, for example:
- approximately how old it is.
- if it's a good quality instrument.
- why someone's name is stamped on the bell (perhaps they were a previous owner or the Australian distributor?).
- any other interesting facts you may know about this type of cornet.

It is silver plated and on the bell has engraved flowers. The stamp on the bell reads (see also attached pic):

CLASS A
PROTEANO

50 MEDALS OF HONOUR

BESSON & Co
"Prototype"
198 EUSTON ROAD
LONDON
ENGLAND

A P SYKES
MELBOURNE


=======

And on the 2nd valve is stamped:

BESSON & Co
BREVETTE
113398


=======


Thanks in advance!

Answer
Jeanette, The cornet was made around 1923 and is considered a professional model. Sykes was a distributor for the company in Australia at that time. There are still a lot of them around and they are very collectible. They play well and are built very solid. Without seeing more of your horn I would have to guess it is in high pitch. That means it is tuned higher than current day cornets. I have found that many of their horns can tune "down" to modern pitch by pulling slides. It does take a lot of adjustment with a tuner to do that though.

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I am familiar with most trumpets, cornets, and flugelhorns. I can answer most questions about playing and musicality. Best of all, if I can't answer it directly I play regularly in several bands and have many "old timers" that are familiar with most things that I am not. I collect, repair, and refinish old and new horns and have sold over 1700 with more than 900 on ebay

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