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Article on Vintage Selmer Pricing Vis-à-vis Other Instruments

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
After 20+ years of hearing whining on sax discussion boards, etc. about the pricing of certain vintage Selmer horns, I decided I would do some research to back up my repeated statements that sax players are better off that many instrumentalists.

Today I published an article that looks at just under 200 BA, SBA, and Mark VI--sopranino thru bass--Selmers, either sold or currently for sale on eBay and dealer sites. I compared/contrasted those prices to what flute, bassoon, and string players have to pay when looking for a pro model instrument.

You can find the article here on my website.

Comments? Thoughts? Insights? Let 'em rip. :D
 
Thanks Helen, great read. I have been watching the sold prices on EBay for a while. I have 2 Mark VI's that I am planning on selling soon, a 181XXX Tenor that I bought new in 1971 and a 277XXX Bari that I bought from Emilio a bit over 10 years ago, so I have an interest in the market values of these horns, and your analysis is helpful.

I bought the Tenor for $500.00 new and had it re-padded for $750.00. I have about $4K into the Bari.

Sax Forte has good prices also, but is a minimalist, no trades, It looks like the horn is sold new & as is,
which should be fine for a Yani: http://saxforte.com/saxophones/saxophones.html
 

saxhound

Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
Good article. It's timely for me as I have been considering selling my Mark VI alto. I bought it new in 1972, and it is a great horn - somewhat on the bright side due to silver resonators. Lacquer is better than 90% except for the neck, which is probably more like 75%. Last setup by Paul Maslin 6 years ago, but barely played since then. I hardly ever play alto these days, and this horn should be played. I do have an LA Sax 750 in great condition in case I do get a call.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I think there's an "however": any pro saxophonist should have at least SATB instruments. If you're playing in some jazz/big bands/some musicals, you're sometimes asked to double on Bb or bass clarinet, flute and/or alto flute. That does increase the $ amount that sax pros do have to pay. I didn't mention mouthpieces or reeds because, if you're a sax player complaining about them, don't complain to the bassoonist, who spent 15 hours this week to make ONE reed and had to spend $1200 for a bocal. (Pre-made bassoon reeds are not cheap. Just looked 'em up. $25.)

I was also thinking about clarinets. If you're just a soprano clarinet player, you probably have an A clarinet and Bb clarinet. I really don't know how they break it down in professional orchestras. Would the lead clarinet player be called on to have and play Eb / all the other colors of the clarinet rainbow if needed? Larger clarinets do get pretty expensive.

For flute players, I'll pile on that pro players are probably going to need a $19K piccolo, too.

I've often used the phrase, “I could buy 2 of brand X, and still have $$ left over [for what that {insert model and specifics of vintage Selmer here} costs]." (I'm picking random sax model names and prices for the next couple sentences.) If the Mark VI is demonstrably the best horn ever made and is the most expensive horn made, I'd want to know how much better it is than, say, a Yamaha 82Z -- which we will say costs less than a Mark VI, but it's still a great horn. Then I'd determine if that that difference is worth it. That could be just a numbers equation. As an example, the Mark VI is $5000 more than the 82Z and the 82Z is good enough. Or a performance thing: the Mark VI plays so much better than the 82Z, it's worth the $5000 difference. I'll use this example again: the Yamaha YBS-62 pro baritone is demonstrably better than the YBS-52 intermediate baritone, but it wasn't better enough for me to sink a few thousand $ more to get a 62.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
All that being said, I don't like the whining, either :D. Remember, at least you CAN play.
 
Very interesting. Agree. I have never thought of Pro saxophones as expensive as other instruments. A new Selmer Tenor compared to a Pro Flute for example is definitely up there.
Look at other instruments - how much does a Pro piano cost?

The sax industry has been spoilt with good priced horns for a long time.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Had to check to remember: Selmer USA merged with Steinway in 1995. So, how much does a concert grand piano from Steinway cost? $175K. That's somewhat inexpensive in comparison to, say, a Bosendorfer, which can go for up to $560,000. However, I think that most professionals won't use their own concert grand while performing, so a pro might get away with having a baby grand or something like that at home. On that Steinway page I linked to, there were two baby grands (6' 4") at $11K and $24K and one full sized grand (6' 10") at $27K. Those are also from the 19th century :D.
 

Gandalfe

Striving to play the changes in a melodic way.
Staff member
Administrator
However, I think that most professionals won't use their own concert grand while performing, so a pro might get away with having a baby grand or something like that at home..
I remember buying Suzy a piano in 2002. I asked what's the difference between a baby and parlor grand piano. The fellow said I'm glad you asked a proceeded to play something on the baby grand. We thought it was marvelous. Then he played on a parlor grand (same make/model) and oh my gawd was it a totally bigger (not just louder) sound. We went for the parlor. The salesman said a concert grand was too much for most people's houses, you couldn't play it soft enough.

We ended up getting a Petrof with a player addition that truth be known, gets used more than us playing the beastie. When my son visits, he spends a lot of time of the piano. Two pros who did gigs for us said they wanted the piano if we ever sold it. (They could have just been being nice.)

Petrof ivchipp.jpg
 

Gandalfe

Striving to play the changes in a melodic way.
Staff member
Administrator

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
As annoying as this is to you, it may be even more annoying to Facebook employees. There are reports that Facebook employees can't enter their buildings because their "smart" badges and doors were also disabled by this network failure. If true, Facebook's people literally can't enter the building to fix things.
"Hey, everyone. Mail's down."
"Quick! Send out an e-mail to tell the whole company!"
"..."
"Oh. Right."
 
I've done the "but I could get..." rationale too. I have a Yanagisawa and to me, it wasn't quite as good as a Reference 54 I once tried. This was probably 15 years ago.

But IIRC, that Reference cost something like $3600 back then and the Yanagisawa was something I already owned and something I might have been able to resell for maybe $1000, as I remember thinking.

I didn't have the $2600 difference, and even if I did I don't think it would have been worth it to me.
 
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