Frequently Asked Questions:

How much is my Olds trumpet or cornet worth?

Used instrument values can vary significantly based on condition. The best way to estimate the current market value for your instrument is to look at “sold” listings on eBay and Reverb. Listing or asking prices are often higher than actual sales prices, but if you used the search features on these two sales sites, you may find some comparable sales. Look for items of the same type, vintage and condition of your instrument. Olds made more than a million instruments in its 70’s year history and due to the numbers and quality, many are still in use today, so while that is great news for Olds aficionados, it tends to keep the value lower for some of the more common models. A beat up Ambassador cornet might be worth less than $50 while a rare Olds Super Recoding trumpet in excellent condition might be worth $4,000; however most Olds trumpets and cornets have a value in the hundreds (not thousands) of dollars.

If you have an Olds trumpet or cornet to sell, please see our other website Centex Brass.

My Olds trumpet shows that it was made in Elkhart Indiana. What can you tell me about it?

The original Olds company was founded in 1908 and closed its doors in 1979. Instruments were made in Los Angeles and Fullerton, California. Olds purchased Reynolds in the 1960’s and for a time, some manufacturing took place in Abilene, Texas, but this was under the Reynolds name. The Olds name was sold and has been used on other instruments made in Elkhart Indiana and other locations after 1979, but these have no connection to the original Olds other than the purchased company name, so nothing on this site provides information about Olds instruments after 1979.

I have an Olds trombone (french horn, mellophone, bugle, saxophone, Olds Cutlass etc.). What can you tell me about it?

Not much. The focus of this site is Olds trumpets, cornets and flugelhorns. It’s A Bear is a website focused on Olds trombones but a lot of general Olds information as well. If you are looking for information about trombones or Oldsmobile vehicles, you are at the wrong place so look elsewhere.

Which is better? Olds instruments made in Los Angeles or Fullerton?

This is a frequent topic of debate among Olds collectors and players. The Los Angeles horns are older and there are less of them, so from a perspective of many collectors, they tend to be valued more because of their smaller numbers. The Los Angeles horns were made by a smaller factory and the workers were highly trained craftsmen. Instruments were produced in smaller batches often having custom variations from year to year making them more interesting and collectable. On the other hand, Olds quality in the 1950’s, 60’s and early 70’s was considered very good, so Fullerton horns from this era can be excellent players. Professional instruments from this era can often be found for a fraction of what a new professional instrument costs today, so they represent a bargain to the starting collector or player that wants to experience what the fuss is about Olds trumpets and cornets!

I have an Olds cornet that requires a large shank mouthpiece. What are my options?

We have a page that discusses this here.