s/n 15xxx, SML introduced the Gold Medal models (note that there were
some crossover Rev. D altos and tenors available until 156xx or so).
They are the pinnacle of SML design: rolled tone holes, elaborate
engraving, etc. As a matter of fact, the name comes from the fact that
these horns won a couple of gold medals at the International Music
Festival at The Hague (Holland) back in the 50's for their excellent
design and performance.
is NOT just a repackaged "Rev. D",
although they do look similar. The bow and neck of the alto
and tenor are NOT interchangeable with their Rev. D counterparts,
leading one to assume that the bore is completely different.
Based on the start date of these horns (around 1954-7), one
can assume that they were introduced to compete directly with
the Selmer Mark VI or the earlier Super Balanced Action.
horns were the first and only models to feature all of the
"22 Features" -- and, even
then, only a few did (up to s/n 19xxx). At s/n 18xxx, the
adjustble bell key felts (Feature #20) only appeared occasionally
and 19xxx featured the end of the bell-lip engraving (Feature
#16). At s/n 205xx, rolled tone holes were discontinued (Feature
#19) and the King Marigaux
stencil was introduced, ushering in what I call the "Mark
II" version of these horns.
this essentially means is that the SML's with the most features
-- sans the standard altissimo F#, which seems only to have
been on late King Marigaux stencils -- are found in the serial
# range of 156xx to 18xxx. These horns should be
the most sought after. I also think that the "Two Tone"
finish of lacquer body and nickle-silver keys is fairly strikng
and SML did consider this to be a "premium finish"
choice. (There are still a fair number of people that think
that this set-up is indicative of a student horn -- it isn't
in the case of the SML!)
I've never seen a Gold Medal in gold plate. I tend to think
that this plating choice was discontinued or was only available
as an "extra expensive" custom option.
soprano contributed by Bill Kasper does not have "Gold
Medal" engraved on it, nor does the baritone
from Morgan Witthoft. (See the footnote
on serial number oddities, below.)