In 2021, it was found that the global music industry is worth a whopping $26 Billion dollars. While some may not find this large number surprising due to how deeply ingrained music is into our everyday lives, it does make an impact on the value and scarcity of authentic antique instruments, such as the saxophone.
Here’s an in-depth look at antique saxophones and how to tell their authenticity and worth!
Like most vintage items, the brand of an older saxophone must be considered when determining its value. A brand can hint at the quality, quantity and age of a saxophone, making it a great indicator of its worth.
One particular brand that is highly sought after for their saxophones is Conn. More specifically, their M series is thought of to be rather valuable. The reason that Conn’s M series saxophones are so highly sought after is because of the quality of craftsmanship as well as its innovativeness for its time. These saxophones can sell for up to $3,000.
While these name brand saxophones can be very valuable, it is important to ensure their authenticity before purchasing. One way to tell if the brand of a saxophone is authentic is to see if it has a maker mark. A maker marker is usually an Emblem pressed into the instruments that signifies who the maker is from. If your saxophone does not have the correct mark, it is most likely a knock-off.
The brand of a saxophone has a huge impact when it comes to determining its value and authenticity. If your saxophone is from a specific brand, the price can either be raised or lowered drastically. With this being said, a saxophones brand is not the only factor that needs to be taken into consideration.
Materials and Designs Used
The materials used to create a vintage saxophone are another good indicator of its worth. While almost all saxophones are constructed of brass, the materials used for the keys of a saxophone can hint towards the quality, and usually value, of the instrument. An example of this can be seen in the King Super 20 saxophone. This specific instrument had mother-of-pearl keys, which were considered to be an added benefit to the horn.
Another important design aspect of vintage saxophones is their engravings. Usually, vintage instruments are considered more valuable by the collector if there is well done engraving on the horn. A few valuable engraved vintage saxophones include:
- Cannonball Saxophones
- Selmer Model 22 Alto
- 1939 Buescher “The Aristocrat’ Tenor
While the engravings on a vintage saxophone can add value to the piece, they do not guarantee it. Other factors must be considered in order to successfully identify the authenticity and value of an older saxophone, including its condition.
The condition on a vintage sax can be a make or break category when considering its value. While some wear and tear is to be expected on the instrument, the less there is the better. Horns with all intact keys, minimal wear on the metal, and a thumbpiece still attached will usually sell for more than their counterparts.
While being in great condition can drastically increase the value of an old sax, if the condition is too perfect you should be worried. As with anything that’s vintage, there should be some imperfections due to its age. If an instrument has no flaws, it is most likely a fake and you should get it professionally appraised if you still wish to continue with the purchase.
What Should You Do If You Have a Potentially Valuable Item?
You’ve done some research and checked what was mentioned above and you believe you might have a valuable antique saxophone.
Your first step should be reaching out to a professional antique appraiser. They’ll have the expertise to accurately value your item.
When selecting an appraiser, you want to work with an experienced, full-time professional. They should belong to at least one nationally recognized appraisal organization, such as the International Society of Appraisers and the National Association of Professional Appraisers.
Many professional appraisers offer online appraisals, where they can determine an item’s general value based on digital images you provide. However, while online appraisals are a great starting point, they do have limitations.
Suppose your item does turn out to be valuable, and you want to sell or insure it. In that case, you’ll need a written appraisal document that meets all guidelines established by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, a series of standards created by Congress for appraisal purposes. A professional appraiser must examine the item in person to make a USPAP-compliant report, which is why hiring a local appraiser is often the best option.
Antique saxophones are a fun collectible that many people resonate with. Whether you are a player yourself or just enjoy music and everything that comes with it, old sax’s are a great collectible to research or have.
If you suspect you have or have found a valuable antique saxophone, contact a professional antique appraiser today to learn more.