Untitled Document
     
Advertisement Click to advertise with us!
     

Vintage Saxophone Prices on ebay

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Again, we're talking vintage, which I'm calling pre-1980, for the sake of this post.

I've mentioned that I now have a Pinterest website. One of the things I decided to play with was to come up with a list of the most expensive saxophones sold during the week on ebay. First, I'll mentioned that this week was bad for a couple sellers because the buyers backed out of the sales. It was also bad for some buyers because I doubt that guy with the $10,000 Selmer Mark VI tenor and no feedback is actually going to send you the horn.

Anyhow, I've learned this, which is actually kinda obvious: if it's a Selmer Mark VI or Super (Balanced) Action, it'll top the list of most expensive, most of the time:

* Week of October 15: 1900 Conn Wonder bass: $8845. 1952 Selmer SBA lacquer alto: $8000.
* Week of October 22: 1954 silver plated Selmer Mark VI Bb tenor: $8499. H-Couf Superba I bari: $2200.
* Week of October 29: 1955 lacquer Mark VI tenor: $10,999. 1936 silver plate Buescher Aristocrat curved Bb soprano (full overhaul needed): $2807.

FWIW, you could consider the curvy pretty special because it's close to or is the last one ever made by Buescher.

Anyhow, the thing that interested me was the extremely high drop-off in price from Selmer to the next highest horn: $6K plus. That's an awful lot. Heck, I'm not even seeing Super 20s show up: the last one that actually sold was a 1960's Bb tenor that sold around $3400 to $3500.

So. Big-time buyer's market ATM.
 
I suspect this also goes for the lower-end horns as well. Very much a buyer's market. You could get $400 from a Student Yamaha a few years ago, now you're lucky to get $250. I have tons of options if I wanted to pick up a new project, but I really do not want to pick up a new project.... :-/
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
This week:
Lacquer 1962 Mark VI tenor $10K. Rough shape, too.
Lacquer Conn 10M Standard. $3400. Perfect shape.

I don't really know much about the lower end of the market, atm. Last year I had posted a list of Yamaha and Vito equivalent altos and tenors every week. ebay said that the average was around $425 for the altos and tenors were about twice as much.

=======

Let's make this more interesting. The cheapest Mark VIs from October - November:

* 1980 lacquer sopranino: $2600. Nice shape.
* 1979 lacquer soprano: about $2400. Maybe 85% on the cosmetics. Needs overhaul.
* 1975 lacquer alto: $3000. Maybe 60% on the cosmetics. "Ready to play" ... "Pads are new." Code for "Full overhaul needed."
* 1974 lacquer tenor: about $3900. 90% or so on the cosmetics. "I was able to play the full chromatic from low B-flat to high F. I did not hear any leaks, but likely you will want to have it check/adjusted by your local tech." Code for "Full overhaul needed."
* 1973 lacquer low Bb baritone: $2850. At most, 50% on the cosmetics. Needs overhaul.
* 1966 lacquer low A baritone: $3938. 20% lacquer remaining. Needs overhaul. I had to go back to September on this one. Kinda odd that there weren't any other low A horns.
* No basses actually sold.

I did not include the soprano Quinn sold that was obviously used as a baseball bat, or the baritone that was stripped to its component parts and had extra holes drilled in it. Wall mount, perhaps?

I do want to mention the "about $x" comments I made on a couple horns. These are horns where "best offer" was accepted. However, ebay conveniently puts these items between two other items, so I just add those two and divide by two. So, it's probably not the exact "best offer," but it's close.

If anyone's interested, y'all can look up the lowest prices for 5-digit horns or whatever. Just me doing a quick check, I saw $4K altos and $6K tenors.
 
On Ebay, they are still going for $400 "in good playing condition", but around here the Craiglist market has just been flooded with YAS-23s....

I hardly ever consider the ebay selling market as I don't have any ambitions to sell anything on it.
 
I've always fought any ambitions to pick up a Mk VI as a project, or any Selmer Paris. $4,000+ is simply too much.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I've always fought any ambitions to pick up a Mk VI as a project, or any Selmer Paris. $4,000+ is simply too much.
A brand new Super 80 Serie III alto is $7359. It does make me wonder if you could do a full overhaul on one of those $4K horns and sell it for $7K or more. I think there's a fine line in that. I think that if you could pick up one of those "five digit" altos for less than $4K and get a really nice overhaul and a replate for under $3k, you might be able to make a profit. Maybe.

Personally, the most I've paid for a horn was (converting for inflation), just a bit less than $4k and that was for an "intermediate" Yamaha 52 bari. They now sell for $5600. We also now have this thing called "the Internet" and ebay, so if I knew all the stuff I know now about vintage horns and had the selection I now have, I doubt I'd get another YBS-52 for $4K, much less $5.6K.
 
I've always fought any ambitions to pick up a Mk VI as a project, or any Selmer Paris. $4,000+ is simply too much.
A brand new Super 80 Serie III alto is $7359. It does make me wonder if you could do a full overhaul on one of those $4K horns and sell it for $7K or more. I think there's a fine line in that. I think that if you could pick up one of those "five digit" altos for less than $4K and get a really nice overhaul and a replate for under $3k, you might be able to make a profit. Maybe.
You know, perhaps one day I will :) , but I am very careful about the instruments I work on currently. I'm learning that there are some hard lessons to be learned as a 'technician' who (other than a few books, videos and copious help from the community) is self taught.

The horn I've had the longest and the nicest I own is a A-880. I've had it since '92 and haven't so much as put a leak light through it in the years I've dabbled in repair. I still do not control heat as well as I should and am trying to be more disciplined in the condition of my workbench (to prevent scratches). Now that I've started doing a bit of dent work, advanced soldering, light swedging, and at JBT's recommendation am about to foray into tone-hole leveling, I am starting to feel more like a tech and less like a pad-jockey.


Personally, the most I've paid for a horn was (converting for inflation), just a bit less than $4k and that was for an "intermediate" Yamaha 52 bari. They now sell for $5600. We also now have this thing called "the Internet" and ebay, so if I knew all the stuff I know now about vintage horns and had the selection I now have, I doubt I'd get another YBS-52 for $4K, much less $5.6K.
Out of curiosity, which way would you tilt if you were looking for a Low A Bari?
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
For me, the low A was essential. I played a lot of classical stuff and going down to the low concert C popped up all the time, primarily because I was playing Cello stuff and/or I enjoyed intimidating bass trombone players, particularly if I was using my old rubber Berg Larsen 110/0. Unfortunately, that limits my selection a bit: I do love the tone of a Buescher True-Tone bari, but they didn't make 'em with low As, same with Aristocrats. I ended up with the YBS-52 because I was unimpressed with the Vito I tried (it could have been a Yani stencil; it was 1987 or so), the Selmer was out of my budget, and the YBS-62 was nice, but not almost twice the price nice.

Before I mention horns I like to try, just note that I retired from playing and singing a few years ago because my head will explode if I try to play or sing. It's somewhat annoying when that happens. I know I can play, still, for a very brief periods, but I don't even have mouthpieces anymore. I do need to see if I can do a bit more with my WX-5 wind controller.

The vintage low A baris I'd like to try include the Buffet S1, particularly the Prestige -- those were the copper ones. They're rare for baris, but Buffet did make them. I wouldn't mind a Dynaction or SuperDynaction, but I had a Dynaction alto and I already know they're good horns. The Selmer Super (Balanced) Action would definitely be on the list, as they're supposed to be better than Mark VIs -- and the Mark VI is a very nice baritone. If they made them, I'd love to try a (late) Couesnon Monopole or M70. I wouldn't mind trying another Keilwerth, as I had a Bundy bari that was nice, but only low Bb. Considering the H-Coufs are supposed to have better necks (thanks, Helen!), I'd particularly like to try that Keilwerth stencil. I've played a few other makes and models in different pitches and I'd consider them, too, but I don't need this list to get insanely long :D.

They're a whole bunch of modern horns I'd like to try, even Taiwanese, like the Antigua ProOne. Gandalfe has been hyping the Silver-Sonic Yanagisawas to me, trying to get me to visit. Helen's been doing the same with her collection. I also know Quinn's somewhere near there, as is WorldWideSax.com.

One thing I've been waiting for is to try a horn that impressed me as much as a Conn 30M (tenor). Again, that's the one that impressed me enough to stop with my Conn hate and it's a horn completely unsuitable for classical music. It was that good.
 

saxhound

Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
My bari is a YBS-52. I bought it used in the mid-90's for $1,600. It's got a few small dents and dings, but plays well, and the thing just roars in a rock setting. I'm using a Ponzol M1 .120 (the older brass one), and a Fibracell 2.5. I was playing it for a while in a community band, and the director asked me to tone it down - perhaps with a C*, or a towel over the bell! Unfortunately, the arthritis in my right thumb makes it painful to play for more than 15 minutes at a time, especially when sitting. That spelled the end of the community band thing.

If I had to get another bari, I would buy the same thing. Seems like you can pick one up for under / around $3,000.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Yup. I saw that Quinn had one for sale around that $3K mark or less and it looked like it was in great shape.

IIRC, the YBS-52 did have a bit of a large reach. Didn't matter much to me, as I have gigantor hands. On any horn, I'd probably now need some sort of modification to play the G#/C#/B/Bb cluster, as I had my little finger broken a couple times in the intervening years and hitting those pinky keys gets painful after a bit of time.

I didn't test any classical mouthpieces beyond the Sigurd Rascher. I did test a bunch of "jazzy" mouthpieces, as I was in two different jazz ensembles. I ended up with a hard rubber Berg Larsen 110/0. The "110/0" didn't mean much to me (I know what it means, now), but it played nice and fairly in tune, so thumbs up on that.

Sorry; didn't answer: I generally used 3/3.5 reeds. I got a stash of new, old-stock Vandoren Jazz reeds and played those until the stock ran out, then I just used a variety.
 
It almost goes without saying that a sax enthusiast wants a bari with a Low-A. Ideally, if I could find one that needed a bit of work but wasn't a complete disaster, that would be great. A decade ago I came relatively close to pulling the trigger on an old Dolnet for $2000, but decided that putting it on credit wasn't the best idea at the time...perhaps for the best.

To make things worse, I have small hands and would appreciate a nice table mechanism. The only low-A I have ever tried was a low-end Jupiter, and it did not feel that impressive. It is my understanding that my particular wants put me in the pricey territory of Selmers, Yamahas, and Yanagisawas....
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
The other problem with Dolnet is that pre-1970 horns -- i.e. when the M70 was introduced -- were available in high pitch and Dolnet didn't stamp this on their horns.

The Yamaha, Selmer, and Yanagisawa horns have the low A key under the left hand thumbrest. I'm 99% positive that this is also the way that most Keilwerths were set up. I do know that B&S, at least, had the low A in the G#/C#/B/Bb cluster. I've seen at least a few that had both the key in the cluster and under the LH thumbrest. I can't recall any with the key under or over the right hand thumbrest. I think that would be an extremely poor design.
 
Last edited:

saxhound

Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
One of the things I like about the Yamaha low A mechanism is that the articulation closes the B and Bb keys very well (if adjusted properly). I have played a couple Selmers where you really needed to close the Bb key to make the low A speak cleanly. Poor adjustment? Possible, but on one Mark VI I tried, it had just come back from a full overhaul at the shop.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Hmm. Never noticed that. The Vitos I played (Yanagisawa B6 stencils, which were more-or-less copies of the Mark VI) were just uniformly junk, so no help there. The Mark VI I tried went down to low Bb. The S80 II (IIRC) I played with for maybe 15 minutes didn't seem to need any special fingering.

Yah. That'd be annoying if I had to press down both the low A and Bb keys. Good info, saxhound!
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Interestingly, the most expensive saxophone sold this week is a Selmer ... Reference 54 Hummingbird. $7800. I think this is the first time I've seen a new horn that wasn't a bass or contrabass sell for more than $4000. I might have to start tracking that.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I've confirmed that Jim doesn't have a Reference 54 Hummingbird :p.

The one above with the white background is from the eBay ad. I'm assuming that you're pointing out the hummingbird at the bottom vs. the one you have at the top. Here's a Reference 54 from Kessler Music (Selmer Pro Shop), with the original Selmer flyer. Engraving looks fairly consistent with the eBay horn. It was also sold by MusicMedic, so I'd assume that they're pretty confident it's a real Reference 54. It looks like the photos in the eBay ad are shot at some bad angles in comparison to your horn.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Back on topic, a bit: here ya go. A list of most expensive horns sold since late August.. Unzip and put the items in the same folder. Double-click on saxes.htm. PDF included, but it's kinda small.

The general idea isn't, "These are the dollar amounts that you should expect for make/model/age." It's more, "If you want to sell a soprano and want to list it for $price, you'd probably want to list it for a bit less than what Pete's listed." However, there are going to be exceptions. If you have a horn that you think is rare enough and good enough, you could always start your auction at the price I have listed. If you want to keep track of the prices of one or more makes/models, please post here. That'd be specifically helpful, while my rantings are generally helpful. Nice to have both.
 

Attachments

TrueTone

College Student who likes wind instruments & music
Back on topic, a bit: here ya go. A list of most expensive horns sold since late August.. Unzip and put the items in the same folder. Double-click on saxes.htm. PDF included, but it's kinda small.

The general idea isn't, "These are the dollar amounts that you should expect for make/model/age." It's more, "If you want to sell a soprano and want to list it for $price, you'd probably want to list it for a bit less than what Pete's listed." However, there are going to be exceptions. If you have a horn that you think is rare enough and good enough, you could always start your auction at the price I have listed. If you want to keep track of the prices of one or more makes/models, please post here. That'd be specifically helpful, while my rantings are generally helpful. Nice to have both.
Isn't the Nino in that list that Quinn sold an early Buescher? Looks like an early 20s nino, before they merged the C# and G# into 1 key. Serial number setup also looks Buescher to me, other than the abscence of the TT logo, which is normal for stencils then.
That Gold Plate is a bit wierd for a stencil, though...
 
Top Bottom