1861 E.G. Wright Cornet with Letter
It was from my great-great-grandfather, passed down through my family. His name was George Warren. He was in the Civil War, and this cornet was given to him through the 15th Regiment of Indiana.
That's about all I know about it.
Do you know if he was actually a cornet player?
Yes. He was a cornet player, he was the leader of the band. Picture of him. It's been in my family for generations. It was in my grandmother's house when I was growing up. I'd seen it over there. And I've had it for probably 35 years.
Okay, well, this is an E.G. Wright rotary valve cornet, made in 1861. And these are called side action string rotary valves. There's four of them. And this is a large bore cornet, meaning a little bit fatter body than the average, more slender looking cornet. And you can see here the string rotary valves, which are actuated by these levers. And this one has the most superb engraving here. The engraving on the bell simply says that it's made by Wright. There's a little banner at the bottom, says "E.G. Wright", and it has the original mouthpiece, and the original carved wood case lined in felt. It has also, miraculously, the original price list from E.G. Wright. Most cornets in this period are either brass or what they call German silver, which is a nickel silver. This is pure silver—very, very rare. And I consider E.G. Wright to be the foremost maker of brass wind instruments in the United States in this period. He is born in Boston in 1811. He starts working as a brass instrument maker 1841, I think, and dies in 1871, ten years after this is made. And this being a presentation grade item, in silver, it's quite a valuable horn. And I think it's sort of what we might consider an organological treasure.
Had you ever thought about the value?
Well, no, not really. It's an heirloom. Only maybe for insurance purposes. Other than that, I would never sell it.
This is the best E.G. Wright horn I've ever seen. Would it surprise you to know that I thought this could sell in a retail environment at about $35,000?
Yeah, that would surprise me. Now it's for sale. (both laughing)
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