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I recently purchased an old tuba from an estate auction. No case, just the tarnished beast and mouth piece. By looking up the serial number on it, I am finding that it was built in 1891. I am doubting myself. Did I do this right?

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  • It certainly looks old, why do you doubt that it's from 1891? Feb 14, 2023 at 12:39
  • The middle valve looks like it has seized. Did you buy this to play or as a decoration? (I ask because a friend of mine has a very ancient weathered tuba hanging outside his front door with plants growing out of it.) If you're going to play it, it will need at least a wash out, and may well need the attention of a brass tech to free seized slides/valves/mouthpiece and replace valve felts and water-key corks/springs. Feb 14, 2023 at 13:18
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    Valves are not seized, neither are the slides..already taken apart and started cleaning it...I am so surprised of the condition considering the age. Feb 14, 2023 at 13:40
  • The dealer marking corroborates: "Brass instruments can be dated with the bell marking. “Emil Wulschner” = 1879-1892; “E. Wulschner & Son” = 1893-1902; “Wulschner-Stewart Music Co.” = 1903-1914" ( brasshistory.net/Wulschner%20History.pdf )
    – Yorik
    Feb 15, 2023 at 20:38

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I suppose you looked up some serial number table such as this one (page 19+):

https://docplayer.net/21438578-A-guide-to-dating-boosey-co-boosey-hawkes-instruments-based-on-serial-number.html

and chose the closes matching date. While this will most likely not give you the exact year of production you probably get a good idea, give or take a few years maybe.

I would not doubt that this tuba was from that time period, it does definitely look the part.

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  • Thank You for your responses. I just had a hard time thinking this could be 130 years old and be in as good of shape as it is. Very minor dents, all slides and valves are great. It is cleaning up nicely from the tarnish also. I am debating on keeping or selling..where would I find a value if I were to sell it eventually? Sorry for all the questions..but I am a euphonium player by nature,but this spoke to me when I saw it. Feb 14, 2023 at 13:13
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    @PattiLaRockShirley In my town there's a tuba shop called "The Tuba Exchange." The founder, Vince Simonetti, amassed such an eclectic collection of historic instruments that it eventually split off the shop to become a museum. I had a tuba friend at Eastman who drove all the way to NC to explore it with me. Their website says they're "actively acquiring instruments for the collection" and gives Vince's email and phone number; you could get in touch. Whether you sell or not, he's probably one of the most qualified people on earth to figure out its backstory. Feb 14, 2023 at 17:37
  • @PattiLaRockShirley simonettitubacollection.com Feb 14, 2023 at 17:37

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