Alessandro Liberati's Conn New Wonder Cornet
This Conn New Wonder cornet with "A. Liberati Virtuoso" engraved
near the bell rim, was built in 1921 when Alessandro Liberati was 74
years old.  A skeptical mind would wonder what use such an old man
would have for a brand new custom made cornet and indeed, I don't
have any documentary proof that this cornet ever belonged to Signor
Liberati.  It seems quite reasonable, however, when considering the
fact that it wasn't his last cornet.  The photo below, reproduced from
the May, 1923 issue of The Lyceum Magazine, shows him at age 76
holding what appears to be a Holton Clarke model cornet. The
accompanying article tells of concerts and recordings done by
Liberati that year.  At one concert "He played and played and
seemed to never get tired.  He filled the whole Coliseum with his
notes."  Also, there is a very similar gold plated cornet in another
collection with "Sig. A. Liberati" engraved in the same position.  This
cornet was made in 1915.

That discussion aside, this is obviously a custom ordered variant of
the model Conn model 86A New Wonder Cornet.  The only obvious
differences from the standard model are the lack of both the "opera
glass" tuning wheel on the main tuning slide and the A tuning stop
rod on the auxiliary slide.  This cornet has it's original gold plated
finish and shows no sign of those parts being removed.  The
engraved motif is from Greek mythology and shows Leda, queen of
Sparta who was seduced by Zeus, who took the form of a swan for
the deed.  And we think that celebrities come up with wacky stories
today!  I don't think that the griffins and Mephistopheles that are also
pictured are directly related to the same story but rather thrown in to
make it visually more interesting.  I am reasonably sure that this
engraving was accomplished by Julius Stenberg who was known for
rather simple faces but other decorations that are absolutely beautiful.

This cornet is 16 5/8" long, the bell rim diameter is 4 9/16" and the
bore measures .438".

The last two photos show another elaborately engraved and gold
plated cornet, but this one made by Martin for Signor Liberati.  This
was recently purchased from the daughter of Liberati's landlady in
New Jersey.  It was late in his life and must have been one of the
very last cornets that he owned.  It was made in 1921, the same year
as the Conn described above.  Liberati must have owned many
cornets in his lifetime and there may be more out there to be

Click on image to see larger view.