1950 King Silvertone, Liberty
I looked long and hard for this gorgeous show-stopper expecting it to be on par with a Bach Stradivarius. The Silvertone exceeded my expectations by a fair margin. The warmth and clarity of sound is a notch above a Strad and, over-all, I found it easier to play. It is free-blowing, but with a well-centered tone and it can take a fair amount of air. Despite the sterling silver bell, it is not all that heavy to hold and did I mention it is just exquisite to see?
Care was taken to make every part of this instrument aesthetically beautiful from the sculpted mouthpiece receiver to the valve caps and decorative slide bracing. The Art Deco floral engraving on the bell announces its vintage character and it will probably draw some attention from your wide-eyed band mates.
Structurally, the Silvertone has some unusual features. The slides are constructed of very soft brass and they are easily bent. This horn has one slide with a very small internal fracture. Luckily, it does not seem to affect the instrument's playablility and it is located on one of the less-used joints, the second of three telescoping parts on the main tuning slide. The valves work smoothly and are performance-ready. I wish I could have had this trumpet when I was in college. Alas...