Hot or Not?

Recently I reunited another stolen horn with its owner.  That makes 3 in a little under 2 years.  I thought it would be good to share some of the subtle (and not so subtle) things that raise alarms when I'm offered a horn to purchase or sell which cause me to think the instrument is stolen.

More often than not if the deal is 'too good to be true' it probably is.

  • When a Pawn shop called me inquiring if I wanted to purchase a horn (which they legally aquired) the price was a few thousand dollars below what I knew the horn was worth.  I declined buying it, and almost 3  months later was talking with a customer who informed me they were replacing their stolen horn.   Yep, it was the one in the Pawn shop and it was still there.  This isn't a hard and fast rule.  Recently I declined buying an instrument which was again way under priced, but even though I couldn't find evidence of it being 'hot' I passed on it. 

Does the seller know anything about the 'trumpet' :) they're offeriing?

  • If walks into my shop and wants to sell me the 'trumpet' they've had in the family for ages it could simply be a case of mistaken identity OR it could be that they're trying to get rid of it fast because it's hot.  Craigslist and ebay are full of such items.  Buyer beware.  I always ask a few questions of the seller about the instrument if they claim to be the owner.  'Oh? where did you used to play?  Where did you buy such a cool horn?' yada yada yada - you get the idea.  If they're easily flummoxed you know they're lying (usually).

Purposeful removal of identifying marks.

  • Serial number scratched off?  College or H.S. ownership stickers defaced beyond legibility?  Red flags!

These are just a few obvious ways to tell if that beauty on the wall is a fabulous deal or something that could bite you back!

Happy Horn Hunting!
Ken Pope.  Freelance Horn Detective Agency Owner