Another letter to the director of the Jazzen Museum.
Dear Mr. Carvenius,
Malcolm Walton, a highly knowledgeable student of Bix's cornets just contributed to the discussion with the following posting.
"Bix held the cornet in his left hand with a perfectly normal grip, as far as the placement of the thumb is concerned. The thumb naturally rests against the rear of the first valve tube, between the leadpipe and the bellpipe. I should imagine that 90% of players hold it in exactly the same way. The only other option is to bend the thumb round the first valve tube. This is a bit more uncomfortable, but maybe some players choose it. If anyone was looking for evidence that a particular cornet MIGHT have belonged to Bix, the first thing I would look for would be to see whether there was any evidence of wear along the top of the bell pipe just forward of the position of the third valve. Bix did have an unusual way of placing his index finger over the top of this area. Looking at photographs, he seemed to do this quite often, although not exclusively, interestingly enough."
If Malcolm's analysis is accepted (and I do), then the only piece of evidence left is the LBB marking on the case. That could have been inscribed by any person and does not seem to me to be sufficiently convincing to identify the cornet as one that belonged to Bix. Moreover, what do you think is the probablity that a cornet offered for sale at random on ebay in the 1990s would turn out to be a cornet that belonged to Bix?