Selmer Manhattan Trumpet Serial Numbers
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This list applies to trumpets only. It is incorrect for cornets and other instruments. Selmer started making trumpets in 1931 after buying out Millerau. French Cornet EstimateNumberYear3631937442193852519399001941124819551639195717301958205919593507196442981980Factory Confirmed serials:Cornet 1162 made in 1957. Fluglehorn 9xx made in early 1960s, 1035 made in 1965 The above table was partially constructed based on Alan's Trumpet World
Firstly, they are some of the most well-documented saxophone manufacturers in the world. There is also a big difference in quality between their models so knowing the best serial numbers will prevent you from picking out a poor-quality horn.
The Big B engraving on the bell is an obvious sign that we are looking at an Aristocrat model, not a Super 400. As you can see there is an overlap with the serial numbers, but the above-mentioned differences between these two instruments should help you recognise whether you are dealing with the 400 or the Big B.
The best Martin Magna horns are those produced between 1956 and 1963 with serial numbers ranging from 196213 to 218854. After 1964 Wurlitzer bought the rights to Martin and slowly shifted the focus to student and intermediate horns.
Over the years, the company produced several ranges of trumpets, cornets, flugelhorns and trombones, using the brand names Apollo, Minerva, Mercury, Mercedes and Stradivarius. The Vincent Bach Corporation moved in 1953 from New York City to Mount Vernon, New York. Mt. Vernon Bach horns are prized for being hand-assembled instruments. Mt. Vernon horns can be identified by the Bach manufacturing stamp listing Mount Vernon NY on the second valve casing along with the bore letter code and serial number.
BUFFET - "Orfeo" excellent instrument. Has solid metal tenon on upper joint composite material- cracking (rare) still possible "Virtuoso" Composite or wood. Excellent instrument. Different bore from the "Orfeo" Lacking left C# - in my estimation an oboe with this level of mechanical sophistication should truly have a left C# key. Also, the "natural C" touch seems far too tiny to be of much use.The most recent wood professional model 3613 oboes tend to be excellent. Exquisite key-work. Impeccable scale. Lacking in the complexity, "character" department. The "composite" Buffet Greenline 3613 is, in my estimation, an unabashed "reed trumpet," extremely "brassy" sounding, lacking subtlety altogether. However, I did find one example at the 2011 IDRS convention that I liked. Perhaps best to try a bunch... The "Greenline" oboes can (and do) crack! Not possible to repair if cracked, except to have a new joint made at great expense if not still under warranty. AVOID any of the Buffet "student" model and "modified Conservatory" oboes - dreadful! The "Buffet" oboes from the 1960s and 1970s were in fact made by Marigaux- even having the Marigaux serial numbers- some good- some excellent oboes. Same as the "King-Marigaux" oboes.
CHAUVET - Excellent maker. Imported and sold by Laubin in the 1950s- serial numbers: numbers only. Ben Storch took over the importation of Chauvet instruments from the late 1950s to the mid 1960s- serial numbers: "BW" followed by numbers. Ben re-voiced the "BW" oboes to his own specifications. From the c. 1964 to the mid 1970s the Chauvet line was imported by Linx and Long in Manhattan - serial numbers: "AC" followed by numbers. The pre- Storch Chauvet oboes - not memorable. Some of the Ben Storch "BW" series Chauvet oboes may be described as first class, especially from about serial number BW100 to about BW330. I played on a sublime Chauvet "BW" as a primary instrument for some years, until I discovered Hiniker oboes. The AC Chauvet oboes- not as desirable as the BW oboes, though at times very good. Usually the "AC" oboes seem brighter in timbre. The BW series Chauvet oboe is darker in timbre than almost any of the other French oboes, comparable to the "thick wall" late "B" series Loree oboes model, or the present day Loree "Royale" model. Warren Sutherland used Chauvet BW oboes throughout most of his career as princpal oboe of the Indianopolis Symphony and Tucson Symphony. The Chauvet oboe was very well made. It is not uncommon to find Chauvet oboe still playing well even after 40 years of school/university use.
F. LOREE - The most famous maker of all, founded 1881. For chronological chart of serial numbers see Lars Kirmser serial number pages. About 80% of professional oboists in the US play Loree instruments. At present, Loree is making 3 different styles of instrument bore: "regular" bore, "ak" & "dm" /"German" bore. Loree makes all bore available in two models: "Standard" and the premium "Royale." The "regular" bore oboe is an "all around" instrument, excellent for most any musical endeavor. The "ak" bore oboe (introduced in the late 1980s) is designed for maximum projection in an orchestral setting. Personally, I find the sound of the "ak" oboe to be "brash" and overly "aggressive" - a "reed trumpet" perhaps. Sweetness and lyrical subtlety seem missing to great extent, though once in a while a will come across an "ak" with a tinge of sweetness, especially the early "ak" oboes from H-J series. I am very partial to the "dm" bore oboe. The "dm" seems to have more "sparkle" and "character" than the "regular" bore, with still an element of sweetness. I do not find the "dm bore to be in "darker" in sound than the "regular" or "ak" instruments. I find that the "regular" and "dm" bore seem to have plenty sufficient projection for orchestral solo playing. To me, the "late model" Loree oboes have a very "pretty" sound, though lacking "core" "depth" and "complexity" to the sound, skating over the surface of the "acoustical pond."
My favorite Loree vintages: "Classic C" series late 1960s, early 1970s lyrical, with a most appealing "core" to the sound. Paul Covey remarked: "The Loree C series is unlike anything else Loree has ever made." According to Tom Hiniker, the C series oboes have more undercutting of the tones holes than the B series oboes. Expect to pay premium prices for a fine examples of a Loree C series. "Classic B" series circa 1960-1969 a most appealing "majesty" and core" to the sound. Expect to pay premium prices for B series oboes, especially serial numbers BK-BP. The (rare) late B series oboes with the heavy wall- much sought after- very "dark" sound
The major saxophone companies that made stencils were Conn, Buescher, Martin. Selmer, Holton and York. Some of these companies were purchased in time and became stencils themselves. There are many ways to tell if a saxophone was produced by a certain company. Tone hole construction, G# key cluster design, key guard design, key layout, octave mechanism type, serial number markings and more. Speaking of serial numbers most stencils did not follow the parent companies serial number range so it is hard to tell the year it was made. Unfortunately, little, to no, documentation is available for these instruments.
On this page I collected the available information. Starting with his pre WWII career in the F.X. Hüller company in Graslitz, the war years, his patents, and an overview of his instruments that appear not only under the Emo brand but also under names like Ludwig, Buffet Crampon, Rudy Muck, Smith Music Sales and Waterloo. I made a list of their serial numbers. Trying to connect things and hoping for additional information to come. And I researched the Armstrong connection.
Ernst Modl started in 1951 with the production of signal horns. The production of rotary valves was added and he picked up the production of bugles, trumpets (piston valves and a few with (top action) rotary valves). Also a few cornets, several slide trombones, a valve trombone and some mellophones are known and then euphoniums are mentioned (but I haven't seen any pictures of them). Throughout his career in Germany Modl used the model names that we know from his time at F.X. Hüller & Co: Professional, Champion and World, with the extensions Super, De Luxe, De Luxe Color and an incidental Standard, Ideal.... As far as I can see now, the signal horns, trombones and rotary valve instruments have no serial numbers. The others have, the Emo branded as well as the stencils he made for companies like Ludwig, Smith Music Sales, Buffet Crampon and Rudy Mück. In the serial number list at the bottom of this page I have listed them. The serial numbers I found so far (some 180, including the stencils) reach from 2 till 8125, with one outlier at 12750.
An Emo Standard with serial number 492, with F.X.Hüller & Co engraved on the bell was sold in an auction in Stockholm in 2019. This Emo Standard is very much identical to the Emo Professional model. A similar one, with serial number 155, was obtained around 1970 by Magnus Anderson who was living in Stockholm as well. And a third Emo Standard with number 319 was sold in December 2020 from Karlshamm through a Swedish auction site. All three have F.X.Hüller & Co on their bell. That would make you guess that Modl used this model name for the Swedish market. After the war Modl used the F.X. Hüller name for his company until the end but he didn't use it on his trumpets, except for these ones. It's also found on the trumpet Louis Armstrong got with serial number 2503 but that one got a special inscription with Armstrongs name on it as well.
An Emo Champion bass trumpet popped up in a music store in Carmichael, California and was sold to Chicago. According to the seller it is a .480 bore, small shank trombone receiver, and the rotor drops it like a F attachment/4th piston would. The ring finger trigger operates a main tuning slide. Water keys have been replaced. It has a low serial number, 59 so probably it's another type of instrument that Modl tried and then gave up.
Like F.X.Hüller & Co, Bohland & Fuchs and other musical instrument makers in Graslitz, Czechslovakia and like Julius Keilwerth, Wohlrab and other brass instrument makers in post WWII West-Germany Ernst Modl was active in the production of stencils, instruments bearing another name than his own Emo brand. There is a lot of fuss about the relation between Ernst Modl and brands like Buffet-Crampon, Rudy Mück, Monke, DEG and others. As far as I know Modl made bugles and trumpets for others. But those others sourced their instruments from other suppliers as well, maybe not at the same time. That and the fact that Modl and other makers used parts from different suppliers makes it very difficult to draw lines. What adds to the confusion is that Modl copied a lot of 'Selmer' into his trumpet design. Comparing design and details is one way to connect instruments to a maker. The other line is by looking at the serial numbers. The serial numbers of Emo instruments form a consistent line from 2 till 8000. The presumed stencils have serials that fit in that range nicely. These brands also have serials in totally different ranges, as well as serials that would fit but are from instruments of a different (pre-war) period. So far I collected some 160 serial numbers from Emo and 'related' stencil instruments. I don't have pictures of all of them. And the ones I have pictures of, not always are identical to an Emo instrument. My hypothesis for now is that when it looks like an Emo and it fits in the serial number list, it is made by Modl. 2b1af7f3a8