Horns With A Story To Tell

I've been adding horns to my collection for about twenty years.  Many of them are unique and some of them have an interesting story behind them.  I'm going to start with a Raphael Mendez trumpet and Raphael Mendez cornet.  These horns were produced by Old in the 50's.  At first glance the two horns in each image appear to be the same.  The fact is that one is a trumpet and the other is a cornet.  The horn with the red felts in the top caps is the cornet.

In the above side view the cornet is on the top.

In the above back view the cornet is on the bottom.

In the above top view the cornet is at the top.


In the above bottom view the cornet is at the top.

Just for the record...  here is the bell engraving on the cornet.

Despite looking the same the two horns are actually quite different.  The leadpipes have a different taper.  The receivers are different..  one takes a cornet mouthpiece and the other takes a trumpet mouthpiece.  The bells are very close to the same diameters but the tapers are different.  Note that although the bracing is similar some of it is reversed from the other.

Now for the brief story about each horn....

Raphael Mendez trumpet…  serial number 86004.  According to serial number records this horn was produced in the early 50’s with the first hundred or so numbers of the 86,000 series reserved for Mendez’s personal horns or his personal friends.  I purchased this horn sometime between 2010 and 2015 from Jim Sermersheim…  a personal friend of mine.  Jim played professionally in the Evansville, Indiana area in the 50’s and 60’s.  According to Jim…  the Mendez trumpet was a gift from his parents when he graduated high school in 1947.  It’s been well document that these horns were not on the market until 1951.  When the horn came to me it was in a Selmer case.  Jim said they purchased the horn from a jeweler in Jasper, Indiana…  who also sold music instruments in his jewelry store.  He didn't like the original case and they opted for a Selmer case.  The date it was purchased has to be questioned due to the actual production records.  Perhaps Jim was mistaken and the original graduation present was really a Selmer trumpet (also a very respected instrument) and he acquired the Mendez a few years later.  Who knows?  Anyway…  Jim is gone now along with anyone else who would have known about the original purchase.  However…  I can’t help but think that since this is #4 of the 86,000 series…  this horn has to be somewhat special. 


Raphael Mendez cornet…  serial number 189222.  I saw this horn perhaps a year or so before I finally purchased it from the original owner.  I listed it for sale with information to contact the owner directly.  Apparently there wasn't much interest because the owner brought it back in early April 2018 to see if I would be interested in buying it.  I ended up purchasing the horn from Bernard Klein on Thursday, April 5, 2018.

Bernard told me that the cornet was personally given to him by Raphael Mendez after a concert at Memorial High School in Evansville, Indiana in the late 50’s.  According to Bernard…  Mendez missed a ‘high C’ toward the end of the first half of the concert and slung his horn (not this horn) across the stage, bending the bell A La ‘Dizzie Gillispie’.  Klein picked up the horn during intermission and began to try to straighten the bell when he was approached by Mendez, who said that horn is not good and took it from him…  handing him the near new Mendez cornet as a replacement.

This page was just added on April 6, 2018

Last updated on April 6, 2018