Please click here for information about visiting the collection.


The Vincent and Ethel Simonetti Historic Tuba Collection

Welcome to the Vincent and Ethel Simonetti Historic Tuba Collection web site. The 300+ instruments in the Collection, currently housed in Durham, North Carolina, represent a cross section of the history and development of the various members of the tuba family, from its inception circa 1830 to the present.

The Collection began with a beautiful Cerveny helicon dating from circa 1910, which I found in Boston in 1965 while I was playing tuba in the orchestra for the North American tour of the Russian folk ballet troop, the Moyseev Ballet Company. The majority of the Collection was acquired during my twenty-seven year ownership of The Tuba Exchange, which I founded in 1984. Ethel and I sold The Tuba Exchange to its current owners in 2011, but we have retained ownership of the Collection with the idea of developing it further and to make it more accessible to the public.

We invite all of you to learn more about the various members of the tuba family, by visiting our unique Historic Tuba Collection in Durham, and by looking through this web site – both of which we hope will be helpful to you as you further expand your knowledge about the instruments that we love.

Vincent Simonetti

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55 thoughts on “Welcome”

  1. Barry Wolfe said:

    A voice from the past. Barry Wolfe. 21 Southard St. Paterson, NJ. We played in the North Jersey Brass Quintet and the Paterson Lyric Opera together when I was in H.S.
    Saw this listing on Facebook site of Vince Belford.

  2. cam jaques said:

    i have a Helicon Bass serial # 154543 made 1917 and 1918,it is in fairly good shape,the valves still work smooth,the intserment is playable,I am trying to figure out its value and mabey sell it to someone interested,thanks! my name is Cam # is 919 437 7764

  3. Karl Koga said:

    Hello Vincent,
    My name is Karl Koga, Kevin from The Tuba Exchange referred me to you.
    I’m in possession of a old York Artist Sousaphone, it actually belongs to my church. To clear space I was asked to try to sell it, (I was told they used to have a marching band years ago). The serial number is 582078 and don’t have any other information other than that it might have actually been bought used from The Tuba Exchange years ago.
    I have photos I took for Kevin, if you’re interested in looking at them, please let me know the email address I can send them to. I’m in Raleigh, and my phone # is 919-279-0580. Thank you, Karl

    • Hi Karl,

      Please send the pictures and any price(s) you have for the instrument to vsimonetti@nc.rr.com. Based on the serial number through Horn-u-Copia, the sousaphone appears to be newer than 1971, possibly from the 80s. (the newest date they have listed is 1971 for serial numbers). If this date doesn’t seem right, please check the serial number again or send a picture of the serial number on the instrument.

      Thank you,
      Aiyana (collection curator)

  4. I just edited Google Maps to add the Museum to the 1825 address. Hope it helps people find you.
    My favorite tuba pieces: Tuba Smarties and Dance of the Big Fairies both by Sky, a British group from the early 80s.
    Oystein’s humorous demo of what he can make his tuba utter is here… a great intro for beginners who might think a tuba is dull.

  5. John Breese said:

    This is great! All the best Vincent! I know where I’ll be stopping next time I’m in the area!

  6. Bill Krupp said:

    Dear Vincent:
    I’d love an invitation to visit your collection on March 5th. I played a King upright four piston finishing up 50 years of playing. (Ten years ago I lost my wind and contribute my horn to a college music program that specialized in lower brass players.) My father, Paul Krupp, played with the Richmond and Norfolk Symphonies and the Richmond Brass Quintet. He studied under John Glover with the Philadelphia Ballet and at the University of Cincinnati. The played first chair in the band at West Point USMC. You might know him since he repaired tubas and other musical instruments in Richmond and worked with Boykins Music store there.
    Please send the ticket so I can visit your collection and relive some of my youth and memory of my father. We always had several tubas around the house.
    With regards- Bill Krupp 919-562-2245

  7. Julian Hasse said:

    You should have your own video channel. A good name would be: YouTuba.

  8. Robin Robert said:

    Hi Vince…my name is Robin. I have acquired a… La Monte BBb tuba…serial number 2931. It looks pretty old. I got it from a local music teacher. It had cobwebs in the bell.. Lol. It sounds great for an old girl. Valves are still very responsive with a rich tone. Would you have any information that you could pass on. Thank you… Robin.

  9. Richard McCleery said:

    Where is it on the web site that we print out tickets for the grand opening tomorrow

  10. Daniel Adams said:

    Are you still adding to your collection? I am possession of a Colonial e flat tuba from the 1920’s.

    • Hi Daniel! We are always looking for more instruments to add to the collection! Please send pictures of the full front, full back, engraving, closeup of the valve section, and any damage/dents that may be on the instrument. Please also include measurements of the bell diameter and height. Send all this in an email to vsimonetti@nc.rr.com. Thank you and looking forward to seeing that tuba!

  11. Mexican banda music use tubas they are real popular.

  12. Stephen P Till said:

    I have a very early vintage french horn I am trying to obtain information on. Can you help? Thanks so much for your time. Because the horn is so early. I’m having difficulty finding history. Thanks Steve

    • Hi Stephen! We specialize in tubas, sousaphones, euphoniums, baritones, and helicons. We do not have any French horns in the collection but we do have French tubas. If you’d like, you can send the information you know about the instrument and pictures of the full front, full back, engraving, and valve section to vsimonetti@nc.rr.com. Thanks!

  13. Jane Mangle said:

    My husband ,who is a tuba player and I are traveling from Nova Scotia , Canada on a road trip and will be coming through Durham on Sunday the 19th of March. He would so much love to see your museum we are wondering if there is any way to make that happen on that day. We would be so grateful to you. Jane and David Mangle

  14. Mia kankare said:

    Can you tel me what is this tuba what i have betveen 1870-1914’hoflieferant ed kruispe singnatur and also kg fazer helsinki gelsingfors?how much you think i can sell it and who cud by it.i had git it from my mum when she dued last year.but she didn t have any paper from it.thank you very much if you can answear for me .mia kankare

    • Hi Mia, in order to give the value of the instrument we need to see the instrument. Please send pictures of the full front, full back, close up of the valve section, engraving on bell, and close up of any damage of the instrument. Please also include the serial number and diameter of the bell. Send this all in an email to vsimonetti@nc.rr.com. Thanks!

  15. Dear Mr Simonetti,
    You received another mention on NPR today, May 30,2017, albeit a sideways one, during an interview about the AtlasObscura website. Your magnificent endeavor was mentioned in conjunction with a museum devoted to…ticks. Obviously, it is the duty of all tubists to work in harmony to elevate your museum’s profile from obscure to slightly well known.
    Sousaphonically yours,
    Holland E Clem
    PS: I am a recent transplant from southern California to North Carolina and I very much look forward to visiting your wonderful museum in the very near future.

  16. Steven Katkowsky said:

    I believe I heard on NPR radio that you may be interested in acquiring mor tubas. I have a mid 1930’s for sale

  17. Stephen Gonnella said:

    Mr. Simonetti:
    I was referred to you by Kevin of the Tuba Exchange. I have a used Miraphone 3/4 BBb tuba–3 upright piston valves & 15″ upright bell–On the Bell it reads Miraphone, Standard, 9229. I cannot find a serial number. Can you give me any information as to the year, where it was made, is it a student moder, etc.
    Thank you,
    Steve Gonnella
    Deltona, Fl.

    • Hi Stephen, in order to get more information about your instrument please shoot an email to Vincent Simonetti at vsimonetti@nc.rr.com. Please include pictures of the full front, full back, close up of engraving, and close up of the valve section. Please also include the measurements of the height and bell diameter as well. Thank you!

  18. Do you sell saxophones?

  19. john h stenstrom said:

    Hi, Vince. Would you be interested in a 1885 Besson Bb baritone? Just serviced and acid washed. Beautiful horn, I am told it should retail for at least $1300. No pic with me, will send if interested.

    John Stenstrom, Richmond

    Btw, the Miraphone 186 you sold me in 1993 is now a school horn at Allegheny College where I go to Band Camp.

  20. Kathy Johnson said:

    Touring the museum was very interesting. I played saxophone through high school and at university. My brass class as a music student 25 years ago didn’t cover as much information as Mr. Simonetti did. My tuba playing friend would love this museum. I highly recommend visiting this treasure.

  21. Steven b Waddell said:

    Hi Vincent, My name is Steven Waddell and I live in Sheridan Wyoming. My friend Dan gave me a tuba yesterday. It came in its case it took the two of us put it in the back of truck. The case made me think of the early days of travel by train or ship, it’s built like a streamer trunk but twice as heavy. I got the horn in my house and started to clean up the bell and found the name C.G.conn LTD Elkhart Ind.It has three valves and on the number two valve is stamped 151675 .I think It was built in 1917 or 1918. It’s silver pleated and has a strait bell the nice young man at Conn selmer referred to IT as a rain catcher ,it’s 19 inches across . That’s when he told me about you to cool…what can you tell me about my new horn???.what is it called a tuba or a sousaphone???. I need a mouth piece the fellow at Conn suggested a Hellsberg what do you think..thank you.

  22. Fred Garrison said:

    I have a 1926 Reynolds flatbell bbflat. It is pretty beat up and one valve is stuck but it used to play beautifully in the 90s. It would love to have a restoration. Is this something you would be interested in purchasing? If you send me an email or mobile number I can send pictures.

  23. Hi Vince,
    I wonder if you could combine forces with the Harvey Phillips Foundation to present/tour the collection. Just a thought.
    Hello from Houston!

  24. Adam Ippolito said:

    Hi. My name is Adam (Chuck) Ippolito. I think you might be the Vince Simonetti who was my teacher when I was in HS in the early sixties. Just curious. Would love to visit your museum one day.

  25. Adam Ippolito said:

    This is Adam (Chuck) Ippolito. I tried contacting you a week or two ago and was wondering if I would get a reply. I don’t see my post n your site. I believe you were my teacher in the early sixties and just wanted to touch base and tell you how much I appreciate having studied with you. While studying with you I went from no chair, NJ Allstate to first chair. I would love to come to your museum and see you. Please let me know if you remember me.

  26. Derrick Witts said:

    Hi. I am about to renovate a Bb Silvani and Smith tuba which I have had for about 45 years. I’ve tried checking to see if another exists. Have you ever seen one?
    Eastcombe Stroud UK.

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