Finishes, 1934 catalog:

A. French Brass, highly polished throughout.

D. Silver-plated, frosted body with gold-lined bell. Parts of keys, the neck ferrule, and the interior of the gold-plated bell, as well as the interior parts of the engraving, all hand burnished to mirror finish.

H. Same as D, except for special engraving to order.

I. Fully gold plated, and hand burnished overall for a mirror-like finish.

Model number designations:
* 50: Eb Sopranino
* 51: Bb Soprano
* 52: Eb Alto
* 53: C Melody Tenor (sometimes used on modern sopranos)
* 54: Bb Tenor
* 55: Eb Baritone
* 56: Bb Bass

There are occasional modifiers used. For example, a 52AF is a low A alto with an altissimo F# key.


Selmer Saxophones
Index Page
S/N 0 - 750, ca. 1904 - 1922
Modele 22
S/N 750-4450, 1922-1926
Modele 26
S/N 4451-11950, 1926-1929
Super Series
New Largebore, "Cigar Cutter" & Super
S/N 11951-18700, 1930-1933
Selmer Adolphe Sax Models
ca. 1928 to ca. 1935
Radio Improved
S/N 18701-21750, 1934-1935
Balanced Action
(incl. Jimmy Dorsey)
S/N 21751-35800, 1936-1947
Selmer (USA) Padless
S/N ca. 27000-30000, 1938-1941
Super Balanced Action
S/N 35801-55200, 1948-1953
Mark VI
S/N 55201-220800, 1954-1974
Mark VII
S/N 220801-315500, 1974-1981
Super 80 Series I, II, III
and special models
S/N 315501- , 1981 and later
Reference 36 and 54
dated 2000 and later
The Bundy Horns
dated 1914 and later
Stencils and Miscellaneous
Pennsylvania, Selmer NY & Manhattan models

Official Serial Number Chart
Selmer History
Selmer's Official
Discussion Board
Official Website (US)
Official Website (France)
Selmer Model
Site Navigation
Sitewide Links
Website Home


Please note that the Selmer serial number charts aren't exactly accurate. Combining this with the fact that certian pitches within models had different manufacture dates (e.g. there are no Mark VII baritones, etc.), can make accurately dating the horn a bit confusing. Where I have serial number information, I have included it on the model's page.



First, let me say that I've played a Mark VI alto (Bb and A), Bb soprano, two tenors and a bari (Bb). I've also played a Super Balanced alto, Mark VII tenor and an assortment of Super 80 altos and tenors. On the low end, I've owned two different model Bundy (German [a Keilworth manufactured horn] and USA) baris, a couple of Bundy II altos and played a Selmer USA bari (you could say it's a "Bundy III") extensively before I bought my YBS-52. I guess that gives me some experience with these horns. No, I'm not prejudiced for this company -- their American Bundy line is FAR surpassed by the Yamahas (but the Selmer USA's play awfully well in tune). I can live without the Signets (their 300 line). But, still ...

The Selmer saxophones are the crown jewl of saxophone manufacture. Most histories of the sax include 1954 -- the date the Mark VI was first manufactured -- as a milestone.

There is a somewhat complete history of these horns HERE, but I just wanted to note some things:

The best horn I've ever played was a mid-60's low Bb Mark VI baritone. It had a dark and resonant tone that I could only get close to in playing a gold-plate (low Bb) Buescher aristocrat bari in a small practice room.

The keywork on the Selmer horns, from the Balanced Action up to today (Super 80 Series III), is the most economical of any horn and works superbly, and this is probably the reason why Selmer hasn't changed it much in 60 years. I somewhat prefer the action of the Buffet Dynaction for the alto and soprano (light and springy), but the tenor and baritone saxophones benefit from the tighter keywork on the Selmer horns.

Anyhow, depending on your preference, the modern choice of the best saxophone is a Yamaha 875 Custom or a Super 80 Series III. I prefer the Yamahas ... and they're cheaper (buy an 875 alto and get a 23 tenor, too, for the price of an S80 tenor!)

Finally, the Mark VI design is the most copied in the world. Look at an Amati, Vito, Yani, Keilworth, Yamaha (model 52 and up), or Selmer themselves (the Super 80 is nothing more than a not-quite-good-enough Mark VI).

If you want to impress me, find me a gold-plate, low A Balanced Action or the same in a Mark VI baritone sax. I'd buy that from you in a heartbeat.

Their website is HERE. Go HERE for a more-or-less complete listing of all Selmer models in each type of plating. Go HERE for an exposition about the various Selmer model types.


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