Since I created my website from time to time I get asked what model instrument someone has, or to confirm what someone thinks the model is they own. So, this article is my attempt to provide a guide to recognizing the different models trumpet produced by Conn over the years. As usual, this guide doesn't cover models first produced after 1969. Also, I assume that an instrument is in original, unmodified condition. I am not claiming that this is a complete guide covering every single model, but it should cover most bases.
There are two approaches to figuring out what model an instrument is. The first is through the serial number and either the model number stamped on the instrument or the model name engraved on this instrument. The second approach is to look at the features of the instrument. I will first deal with recognizing a model through names and numbers. If you don't know or can't tell the name and numbers on an instrument, scroll down to the section titled "Recognizing an instrument by its features".
Recognizing an instrument through names and numbers
The very first thing you need to do is to check and look up the serial number. The serial number is alway stamped on the second valve casing. Check the number stamped there against the Conn serial number list by Lars Kirmser. This should tell you what year the instrument was built. There are some pitfalls here though. If your instrument has a serial number in the 500,000 and possibly 600,000 range and it turns out to be a 38B Connstellation then a red warning light should turn on in your head. More about that later. Also note that serial numbers on Pan American models don't match Conn serial numbers.
The next thing to do is to check for model names or numbers. For a period during the 1930's and 1940's Conn stamped the model number underneath the mouthpiece receiver. I suspect this is the case for instruments with a serial number starting with "3" (1935-1952). It might not be easy to see (worn, not stamped very deeply, dirty, etc.), so look closely under a bright light. If you see a model number there (such as "2 2 B"), you are home free. See picture below. Else check if there is a name engraved on either the side of the mouthpiece receiver/leadpipe or the bell. Check that name against the list below, which also gives some distinguishing features.
If the name engraved on the leadpipe is "Director" it is either a 14B, 15B, 17B or 18B. If the instrument has a Coprion bell it is either a 17B or an 18B. If it has a brass bell, it is a 14B or 15B. The 15B and 17B are 1960's models, the 14B and 18B were produced in the 1950's (check the serial number). The late model 14B's and 18B's closely resemble the 15B and 17B. Earlier 14B and 18B's have distinctive diagonal braces.
It's probably a 77B. The 77B was produced from 1957 into the 1970's. In 1954 and 1955 Conn produced a 20B Connquest. These are quite rare. If your Connquest has a serial number in the 400,000 or 500,000 range it should be a 20B. If the serial number is 600,000 or above, it is almost certainly a 77B.
The "Victor" name covers seven models: 6B Early model, 6B Late model, 8B, 10B Early model, 10B Late model, 22B, 25B, 34B and 35B. The 25B and 35B are a C and D trumpet, respectively. If you don't know if you have either a C or D trumpet or not, then you almost certainly don't. The 34B is an Eb Alto trumpet. Here too, if you have one you'll know about it.
If your Victor has a Coprion bell, it is a 10B. Late models 10B (serials 7xx,xxx-9xx,xxx) also have a Coprion leadpipe in addition to the Coprion bell, earlier models 10B (serials 5xx,xxx-6xx,xxx) only have a Coprion bell.
If your Victor has a Coprion leadpipe but not a Coprion bell it is a late model 6B, serial number 7xx,xxx and up.
If your Victor doesn't have any Coprion parts it is either an early model 6B, an 8B or a 22B. The early 6B will have a serial number dating it to 1955-1957 (serials 5xx,xxx-6xx,xxx), the 8B will date to 1963 or later (serials Cxx,xxx and up) and the 22B will date between 1955 and the 1970's. Telling the difference can be a bit of a challenge.
The 8B is either completely lacquered brass or completely silver plated. The 8B doesn't have any nickel trim. It has top spring valves, and a 4 5/8" bell and an adjustable 3rd slide finger ring. Any Victor without any Coprion with a serial number of 1963 or later that doesn't have any nickel trim or is entirely silver plated is an 8B, else it is a 22B.
The 1955 22B is easy to identify: it has lacquered brass valve casings with a nickel band around each valve casing, about an inch wide.
It also has nickel trim on the leadpipe and slides. It has bottom spring valves and a fixed 3rd slide finger ring. It closely resembles
the 22B New York Symphony Special, except for the engraving.
Telling the difference between a 1956-1957 6B and a 1956-1957 22B can be tricky. The 1956-1957 22B has nickel trim on the leadpipe, while the 1956-1957 6B doesn't. The best way is by the bell size: the 6B has a 5 1/8" bell, the 22B has a 4 5/8" bell.
If your 6B or 10B has the letter "A" stamped on the mouthpiece receiver, it is in fact a 6A or 10A long model cornet. Don't be unhappy that it isn't a trumpet. The 6A and 10A models are quite rare and very nice instruments! Read The Long Model Cornet: Fish Nor Fowl? for more information.
A Connstellation trumpet can be either a 28B, 36B or 38B. If your Connstellation is lacquered brass with nickel trim, it is a 28B. In that case it will have a serial number dating to 1955 or earlier. The alternative is that your Connstellation is completely nickel plated, in which case it is either a 36B or a 38B. If it doesn't have a first valve trigger, and never did have a first valve trigger (!), then it is an early model 36B. Probably 1959-1963. Later models 36B do have a trigger and are somewhat more difficult to distinguish from 38B's. The 38B has a large 5 1/8" bell, the 36B's bell is 4 5/8". Also, the 36B's bracing isn't as heavy as that of the 38B. This is a bit difficult to describe here. Please compare the brace near the main tuning slide of the 36B and the 38B to see the difference. If your Connstellation has the letter "A" stamped on the mouthpiece receiver, you have a 28A Connstellation long model cornet. These are very nice instruments in their own right. Read The Long Model Cornet: Fish Nor Fowl? for more information.
This is a 1955, possibly 1954 12B Coprion. A rare instrument indeed, because in 1955 Conn modified both the 12B Coprion and 22B New York Symphony by increasing their weight and adding nickel trim. The 22B Victor (as it was now called) remained in production throughout the 1960's, but the modified 12B Coprion was dropped in 1955 and replaced by the 10B Victor. If you own one of these 12B's with "Coprion" engraved on the leadpipe: it is rare! And please drop me a line.
Recognizing an instrument by its features
In this section I will list several features, starting with the more distinct characteristics. There is a certain amount of overlap between the features, so please read through the entire section.
If it has a Coprion bell, it is either a 10B Early model, 10B Late model, 12B, 12B Special, 17B or 18B.
If it has a Coprion leadpipe in addition to the Coprion bell, it is a later model 10B. If it has a brass leadpipe in addition to the nickel plated valve casing and nickel trim on the slides, it is an early model 10B.
If the valve casing isn't entirely nickel plated but has some brass showing, the slides are nickel trim, and it has a fixed third slide finger ring it is either a pre-war 12B Coprion Special or a 1955 12B Coprion (both are rare; the 12B Coprion Special is very valuable, I have never seen a 1955 12B Coprion). The 1955 12B Coprion has "Coprion" engraved on the leadpipe, the 12B Coprion Special has extensive engraving on the bell all the way to the bell curve. The standard 12B has the fixed third slide finger ring without any nickel trim.
If the instrument has an adjustable third slide finger ring and nickel trim on the slides but not on the valve casing it is a 17B or an 18B. Early models 18B have diagonal braces. Later models 18B and 17B's have (in Conn terms) normal straight braces.
If it has a Coprion leadpipe and a Coprion bell it is a later model 10B (see above). If it has a brass bell, it is a later model 6B.
Trigger on first slide
The first valve trigger was used on the 2B Symphony, 8B Symphony Special, 25B, 28B, later models 36B and 38B.The 2B and 8B models are distinct because of the third slide finger ring which is below the third slide. Telling the difference between the 2B and 8B is very difficult. The 25B is a C trumpet with an adjustable third slide ring and bottom spring valves. To differentiate between the 28B, 36B and 38B see above under "Connstellation".
Nickel plated valve casing
If the instrument has an entirely nickel plated valve casing (and not brass with nickel trim) and doesn't have any Coprion to it, then it can be an early 6B (1955-1957) or a 22B Victor (1955-1970's). If it has a 5 1/8" bell, it is a 6B. If it has a 4 5/8" bell, it is a 22B.
Nickel trim valve casing
If the valve casing is brass with nickel trim (and not entirely nickel plated), it could be either a 12B Coprion Special, 22B New York Symphony Special or a 28B Connstellation. The 12B Coprion Special has a Coprion bell, the 22B New York Symphony Special doesn't.The 28B Connstellation has a trigger on the first slide. Other than the Coprion bell the 12B Special and 22B Special are identical except for one minor detail, it would appear: the 22B Special has a lyre holder on the third slide, the 12B Special doesn't.
Nickel trim slides only
If there is nickel trim on the slides, but no nickel trim at all on the valve casing, it could be a 14B, 15B, 17B, 18B or 77B. The 17B and 18B both have a Coprion bell, the others don't. The earlier models 14B and 18B have distinctive diagonal braces as opposed to the normal straight braces. The 77B has top spring valves, the others are bottom spring. This of course might be a bit tricky to tell from the outside.
No bell rim wire
Connqueror, 40B or 48B. These are the "vocabell" models. The 40B is long and narrower than the 48B and has the third slide finger ring underneath the third slide. The 48B has the third slide finger ring on top of the third slide and has a "normal" configuration.
Octagonal valve casing
Again, Connqueror, 40B or 48B "Vocabell". See "No bell rim wire".
Bottom third slide finger ring
Several models fall into this category: 2B Symphony, 8B Symphony Special, 10B New Era, 40B, 56B and 58B. The 2B and 8B both have a trigger on the first slide. The 40B is the one with the rimless bell and octagonal valve casing. The 10B, 56B and 58B are "New Era" models. The 10B, 40B, 56B and 58B all are longer and narrower than trumpets built more recently.
Saddle on first slide
2B New World Symphony. Warning! Eventhough the 2B New World Symphony (not to be confused with the later 2B Symphony) was the only Conn trumpet to have a saddle on the first slide, "post-Conn" 1970's and later trumpets tended to have saddles. So if your Conn trumpet has a saddle on the first slide, you better make sure of the serial number and check it against the picture of the model on this site.