There seems to be a school inventory number etched into the body above the serial number. Could this be one of the school band horns that grew legs and mysteriously walked out of the bandroom and into someone's closet. The burning question then is why would anyone want to steal an alto clarinet for God's sake?
...I have attended auctions where large numbers of school instruments have been moved by the district. So, it may not be a theft. Why they would want to fob off a perfectly good horn like this one, however, is a mystery to me.
Most school horns are beaten to junk, particularly the lower keywork and tone holes on bass clarinets and baritone saxes. But, there are some gems to be had.
When the boy was still a budding bassoonist, I followed a classified ad in the Houston (TX) Chronicle to a bassoon for sale. When we went to look at the horn (a Selmer, as it turned out, and a woofy one at that), I went over it with a magnifying glass, looking for any theft ID imprints (all of my horns have this, done with a hardened steel "micro stamp"). The case had had a painted imprint removed with MEK (you could still smell it in the stitching), a strong sign of something fishy in the first place.
The man of the house sat in the next room, sunglasses on in a darkened house) playing his guitar aimlessly and watching us the whole while. I got the sneaking suspicion that anyone selling a bassoon who wasn't willing to discuss it with us (his wife did all of the talking, and her story was very very vague and weak) was probably trafficking in stolen goods.