Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's my horn worth?

This is a favorite topic of mine, as I deal with it on a daily basis. What is my horn worth? How do you determine value?

The first thing to remember when trying to figure out what anything is worth is that any collectible objects value is NOT concrete. The value of an instrument can change from day to day and from person to person. 

So how do you attempt to pin down a value? A good start for a ballpark figure is to search websites that sell used instruments to see what they are going for. This makes eBay an especially handy tool. If your horn is a popular model, you are likely to find a wide variety of values. This will give you a good place to start. 

Once you have a "ballpark" value there are other factors that can potentially add value to your instrument. Is the piece collectible or is it meant to be played or both? What is the condition of the instrument? If it is collectible, how much of the horn is original parts? Has the horn ever been overhauled? These factors can all add or DETRACT value. 

There are a few key items to remember that will help you buy and sell horns:
- Age doesn't automatically add value - Just because you have an antique Tuba or Sousaphone doesn't mean it's worth very much money.

- Rarity doesn't automatically add value - The rarity of an item can add value, but just because an item is rare doesn't make it more valuable. The value is ultimately based on demand. In the US, Besson Sousaphones are somewhat rare, but not that valuable (relatively). On the other hand, a 4 valve Conn 40K Sousaphone is rare and valuable for a vintage Sousaphone. 

- Authority DOES add value - When selling a used item, being a respected authority will help you sell an item. If you have a reputation for the items you are selling, it will be easier to sell. This is important to consider if you have something you wish to sell. It may be easier and potentially make you more money if you sell your item on consignment through a store or shop that is an authority on your particular item. 

This is just my opinion of course, your experience may vary.

What are your experiences buying and selling? Let me know! 

1 comment:

  1. I have a great condition USA by York eb sousaphone which I am looking to sell. I just bought a Pan American silver Bb sousa from the late 40's. Any idea of a ballpark estimate for the worth of the York (or the panam for that matter)?