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Conn Burnished Gold Alto Saxophone (237k)
Item # 925317817
Musical Instruments:Woodwind:Saxophone:Alto
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Currently US $511.00   (reserve not yet met) First bid US $99.99
Quantity 1 # of bids 11   bid history
Time left 7 days, 12 hours +
Location Free & Friendly Tulsa, OKLA
Country/Region United States /Dallas-Fort Worth
Started Nov-25-02 20:00:00 PST envelopemail this auction to a friend
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Description

 

Conn 'Artist Model'
Burnished Gold Plate Eb Alto Saxophone
237,7xx, built very late 1929


According to the charts this example of the highest degree of saxophone art was among the very last opposed bell tone hole altos built by Conn. That late production point, combined with its possessing the super premium burnished gold plate saxophone finish & the most highly decorative of engraving patterns, makes this a truly historic & collectible instrument. Shortly after this horn was built saxophones of this class would fade to mere catalog footnotes as the Great Depression gripped the musical instrument business and the world. Perhaps that explains why the gentleman depicted in this Conn master engraver's classic Greek interpretation -- by  himself a very unusual subject on these beauties -- wears such a stoic look ...

There is some disagreement about where to draw the line between the Chu Berry Conn models and the Transitional 'M' series instruments that followed them. You see the start points for the trannys listed as both 235xx and 240xxx. Part of the confusion is because Conn didn't make a clean cut along all the saxophone types, nor did they incorporate all the 'M' series features at once. Rather it was a gradual process of evolution, with the altos perhaps having the most varieties of all. For that reason we are not going to categorize this instrument in any way. Instead we will tell you its features and allow the reader to decide exactly which model it is. In truth, to my mind this is a 'tweener' instrument -- not Chu Berry completely, but not a tranny either.


please click here to see all our pix of this beautiful instrument
If when you view the profile of this saxophone you note that its bell lip seems narrower and more front facing than a Chu alto, you are indeed correct. In fact, by a fraction of an inch, the entire bell & bow is smaller than on a late Chu to which we also put the calipers. The keywork on the two we compared appears to be identical except for the raised side keytouches & larger low Eb/C spatulas on this instrument -- which those of you who know your Trannys will recognize as some of their features. You can't really compare cosmetics since this is the portrait model, but if this had been a silver plate finish it would have had the art deco engraving pattern of the early Trannys and not the floral pattern we all know & love on our great old Chu Berry Conns. So that's how features stack up. We report -- you decide ...

As for cosmetics, that plating has some wear at the usual spots -- bow, lower thumbrest, strap ring, 'hand rest' on the back (between thumbrest & strap ring where a player rests an arm with horn on knee while counting long rests). Except for the lower thumbrest area the wear is just into the silver that undercoats all gold plated saxophones (gold won't adhere directly to brass, so silver goes on first). I would say the horn has been played over the years & cared for exceptionally well -- certainly not abused. I believe the strap hook is a replacement, otherwise there are no solder marks & to my eye, no dings...not even evidence any have been removed. The engraving is super sharp, indicating the horn has never been buffed. It does, however, have a coat of very nicely applied clear lacquer over what appears to be a competent hand polish. There is some scattered pitting, but of little note except inside the bell -- and there it's not really objectionable. If I had to put a number on the remaining original finish I'd say 92-93%, though some would say 95%+. You can see from the pix this is a real looker.

As for playing condition, the sax is wearing near new pads with Selmer style domed plastic resonators. Remaining pad life is at least 80%. This sax was set up to wail like a banshee -- obviously by a real pro. We don't get many that play test perfectly without even lighting 'em up, but this one did. It whispers down to the bottom & screams out the altissimo. It has one of the most entrancing, lyric alto sounds you could ever ask for. She will do the dark & sultry seductive voice or project like a Super 20. You just have to know how to ask her ...

Comes in the original Conn premium case that all gold plated models had. This one has a red velvet interior. Outside is a bit tattered, but inside is clean enough and odor free. It's wearing an old leather belt buckled onto the handle rings for portage -- sturdy & comfy, so we'll leave it to you to change if you want. Personally, I'd store away the original case & put this baby in a new ProTec for routine use. Sorry, no mouthpiece is included. The one shown is just for the sake of complete photos. It is my impression that this lovely lady has been in the company of a pro player for a very long time. She could easily play that role again, or serve just as readily as the beautiful & rare centerpiece of your personal saxophone collection. Santa has assured us he can deliver this one in time to surprise that sax player you love on Christmas morning ...


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Conn Burnished Gold Alto Saxophone (237k)
Item # 925317817
  Current bid:   US $511.00 (reserve not yet met)  
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