1929 Conn Trombone & Ephemera
Appraised Value: $3,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:03)
Vice President & Department Head, Musical Instruments
GUEST: It was given to my husband-to-be in 1968 by a friend of the family-- Mr. Zimmerman's son, who felt, because we loved music so, would enjoy having it. He was very proud of his father, Leo Zimmerman, and his involvement with the Sousa Band and gave it to us, and we've kept it ever since.
APPRAISER: Right, and Leo Zimmerman was a celebrated trombonist in John Philip Sousa's band. We can talk a little bit about the maker here, Charles Gerald Conn, an American success story. He was a producer of rubber stamps, a decorated Civil War veteran. He sold sewing machines, and he was a part-time horn player who had a lip injury, and he patented a very special mouthpiece. From this, business grew, and he started a company, C.G. Conn in Elkhart, Indiana. If Conn is the Ford of brass instrument making, then Elkhart became the Detroit, because it became this great magnet for other makers, mass-producing them in great scale, sending them out all around the world. These manufacturers, and especially Conn, were adept at marketing these pieces. And here we've got a great instance of endorsement. Zimmerman was a well-respected and celebrated trombonist in the Sousa Band, and we've got this wonderful history here and ephemera that comes along with it. Sousa had a very strong linkage with Conn. All the brass instruments were produced by Conn that they played with. Conn was supplying them; Sousa was helping him market them. We looked at the serial numbers here, and in the beginning, we thought maybe this was a little bit earlier from the documentation we have-- 1913 or so. It turns out it's a horn from 1929, so a bit post his career with working with Sousa but a wonderful piece. On the ROADSHOW, we see a lot of instruments made by Conn, but rarely are they ones of this sort of quality. It's signed here, C.G. Conn, Limited, Elkhart, Indiana, with wonderful engraving that terminates out of the bell and right up into the horn. It's really a great piece. Condition is immaculate. And anyone playing it in the family?
GUEST: Our son started to play it when he was in seventh grade and was told by his teacher, "Do not bring it to school again. It's too valuable." But he does play the trombone to this day.
APPRAISER: You know, this sort of package, topping it off with Zimmerman's custom mouthpieces here along with the cutters, the John Philip Sousa ephemera as well as the Zimmerman ephemera, it's obviously not a piece you want to sell. This is a family item. I think for insurance purposes, you want to insure this in probably about the $3,000 range.
GUEST: Very, very good.
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