Anniversary Model King Super 20 Silversonic

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Matched Pair King Silver Sonic fully pearled Anniversary Editions: $75,000. Shipping is only $3000.

Anyhow, the "Anniversary" model is supposed to be a Silver-Sonic with gold leaf on the bell and covered with gold lacquer. Full pearls, of course. Serial number range around 305xxx to 320xxx, so 1950 to 1951, with only a couple hundred made. There are a couple of references to these on SOTW, but I also cannot find anything on HNWhite.com or in the publication archives of saxophone.org that suggests that there is such a thing as an "Anniversary Model" saxophone. Anniversary of what? HN White's 50th was in 1943 and HN White started manufacturing their own saxophones around 1915/1916. 35 year anniversary? My opinion is that someone just came up with a name for the finish, rather than say, "HN White King Super 20 Silver-Sonic, sterling neck, sterling bell with gold-leaf highlights and horn sprayed with gold lacquer."

There were, actually, HN White Silver-Sonic Anniversary model ... brasswinds. In 1993, for King's 100th anniversary (pic attached).

Anyhow, people have paid ungodly sums for these horns, like $28K in 2012 for an alto, or around $12K for a tenor in 2013.

In any event, I'm not seeing very good pictures of these horns, anyplace. I'd like to. The best I could find were these. Pretty small, but at least they're not out-of-focus like the ones in the eBay ad. I'm also happy there's a pic of the neck, so you can compare the (worn) neck and bell and see that the bell does have lacquer sprayed on.

I really don't see any reason why these horns should be valued more than a Silver-Sonic with just gold leaf on the bell and full pearls. I've seen some examples of both of those. Where are the folks arguing that lacquer "deadens" your tone? :D
 

Attachments

  • s-l1600 (1).jpg
    s-l1600 (1).jpg
    115.9 KB · Views: 368
  • Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 3.17.44 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 3.17.44 PM.png
    732.8 KB · Views: 436
Last edited by a moderator:
I wonder if Chris from hnwhite.com would know anything about the "anniversary" aspect. I suspect he's laughing--or not--at this auction. I know I am... :emoji_smile::emoji_smile::emoji_smile::emoji_smile:
 
I went past an SOTW post from a few years ago that said Chris took a look, said, "Huh," and continued walking.

The question, to me, really isn't if this finish exists -- it obviously does, regardless of what it's really called -- but why should it command any premium over a normal horn?

In regard to the ad, if you assume that an alto is worth $28K and a tenor should be worth more, say $38K, the overall auction price isn't necessarily out-of-the-question, although I wouldn't pay that and I can't justify that. It's the shipping that makes me say, "Is someone just making a joke?" I can get a round-trip ticket, first-class, to Georgia and stay at the Four Seasons (i.e 5 star) for the "delivery window" listed in the ad, July 15 to the 20th, for $2700. (If I was flying from Atlanta to Phoenix and staying at the Four Seasons out here, it's only $1900. That's probably more a reflection on summertime in Phoenix more than anything else. It's a bit chilly today. Only 106.)
 
Follow up: the ad closed because the horns were "no longer available."

Mmm... I wonder what happened to them. I hope no one bought them for that outrageous price. But then a fool and his money... However, I don't know of that many fools in the vintage sax market...
 
Well, I've seen a lot of examples of how too little knowledge in the vintage instrument market can hurt you. As an example, I didn't know that Dolnets were available in high pitch up until the 1970s until someone else researched that -- it's even worse because Dolnet didn't mark "HP" on their horns. I also didn't know that some WWII era Germanic saxophones were pitched in A=435hz until you got me interested in Germanic saxes, Helen :D.

(For those of you who don't know about the "pitch" thing, that's an intonation standard. Modern instruments are based on concert A=440hz or A=442hz, if you're in a European orchestra. This small difference in pitch can easily be compensated for. A=435hz is harder to compensate for. "High Pitch" is A=457hz. That's almost a half-step off modern pitch, which would make your Eb alto almost an E alto. You can't correct for that on an instrument with holes in it, which means all woodwinds.)

The reason I looked back here was because I got an e-mail from someone asking about the value on a 766xxx S20. That's one of the last S20s made. I thought, "Probably still close to $2K. At least, last time I checked." Nope. It's now around $1100 for a really decent one, based on eBay sales. Of course, the 766xxx horn is considerably watered down from this "magical serial number range" of S20s when they had the most options: over-the-top octave key and no double-socket neck. No three-ring strap hook. Limited engraving. No extra pearls. Etc. However, it was interesting to see an S20 with an altissimo F# key.

Oh. I mentioned it was a bit chilly out here, three and a half months ago. It was still chilly yesterday: 101 :p.
 
The reason I looked back here was because I got an e-mail from someone asking about the value on a 766xxx S20. That's one of the last S20s made. I thought, "Probably still close to $2K. At least, last time I checked." Nope. It's now around $1100 for a really decent one, based on eBay sales. Of course, the 766xxx horn is considerably watered down from this "magical serial number range" of S20s when they had the most options: over-the-top octave key and no double-socket neck. No three-ring strap hook. Limited engraving. No extra pearls. Etc. However, it was interesting to see an S20 with an altissimo F# key.

My first pro tenor was one my parents bought me new in the late 70s when I was still in school. I would have to see if I can find the original bill of sale somewhere, but it was one of last Super 20s made, and was exactly how you describe here. No double socket neck; no 3 ring strap hook; nothing special in the engraving; no extra pearls; but with a high F# key.

This was the horn I had to get rid of when I started university, b/c ATT the university would not accept it if I wanted to study there. They told me a Selmer was the way to go, with a Mark VI being preferred, although the new Mark VII was acceptable.
 
Back
Top Bottom