They're good horns (I assume we're talking keying to high F and the octave key all on the neck not the one with the octave mechanism half on the neck and half off). I don't think there would be much price difference between one of these and a 12M immediately thereafter. The next big increase in desirability would be when the 12M got the front high F around 1940 ish, and then it would drop some when the rolled tone holes went away around 1948.
Even though they're missing a front F key, NW II baris are highly prized both for their HUGE tone and for their association with Gerry Mulligan. (If that seems strange to you, check out the prices being paid for Selmer Mk VI altos in the 143,xxx serial number range, just because a certain David Sanborn plays one of them.)
Those that want them seek them out, but those that have them tend to keep them, so there aren't that many on the market. In addition, because of their size it can be expensive to ship one internationally.
I play a 1936 12M myself. 1936 was the year in which Conn added the front F, by the way — but mine was one of the ones without, so I got one added. I'm happy with it. It's not for sale either: I intend to be buried alongside it.
Nearly the same horn, I bought a 1919 New Wonder I last year and played it in the local community band.
In this era, it does not have the rolled tone holes, drain valve in the loop or the high "F" palm key.
It has a big sound and was not expensive to purchase. This could be another option depending on the features needed.
You could go the other direction and get one of the 12Ms with nickel plate keys from the mid-50s to mid-70s. Basically the same horn.
Personally, though I don't have data and measurements, I have a very strong suspicion that the basic bore design of the Conn baritone is the same (or real real similar) from NW1 clear through the end of 12M production.
With the late 12M you get the front high F, which I use constantly, and if you stay away from the very last ones you still get the fork Eb which on the 12M is the best implementation of this ever. Only thing is that a lot of those nickel plate key 12Ms were school horns and are pretty battered by now.
If the Chu/II version has the octave pip on top of the neck as opposed to on the side, which I believe it does, IMHO that is enough of a difference to make it more desirable than a NW I.
However, as Mike stated, Chu's don't have the front F, so it would cost you extra to have a tech graft one on (doable, but probably a couple hundred dollars at least).
It's a pretty small window you are looking at trying to find one of these. To find one in good playing shape is gonna cost significantly more than a Lady-engraved 12M in the same condition...I am talking like a good 50% more at least.
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