Saxophone/No Serial Number on my Selmer Tenor Sax
I have a Selmer Pennsylvania London Made in France Tenor Sax. I bought it second hand years ago from a reputable shop.
I'm currently selling it, but I can't find a serial number anywhere on it. The sax is very old and the lacquer is peeling and rubbed. It sounds beautiful and mellow and I played it in a jazz band for a number of years.
How do I find out about it without a serial number? What does it mean if it doesn't have one?
I apologize for not getting back to you sooner, I had to make a trip out of town to help relatives effected by the hurricane, and did not have access to my computer or the Internet for several days.
The saxophone you have is a stencil instrument. This means Selmer bought them from a different manufacture and stamped their name on it. I belive the Pennsylvania was made by Beaugnier in Paris, then shipped to the Selmer factory in London where they were assembled. Many companies would do this to save on tariffs as they did not have to pay on parts, only on finished product. This is why the horn has London marked on it.
As far as why you don't have or cant find a serial number is a bit of a mystery. The Pennsylvania was distributed in Europe therefore they are quite rare here in the U.S. As a result I have only seen one in the 20+ years I've been repairing. It is possible no serial numbers were stamped on them as they were stencil instruments and the serial numbers would not adhere to any traditional charts. It's also possible the serial number has been removed by buffing. Without seeing the horn it's impossible to tell if the horn has been re-lacquered. If it has the serial number could have been erased by the buffing process. However it would take quite a bit of effort to completely remove it. Look in the area where the serial number should be and see if there is any type of "rub" marks or if the lacquer is coming off or has come off in this area. Thats a sign the serial number could have been removed.
Another way to check to see if this is a re-lac, look at the engraving or the name stamp. If the impressions in the metal are very light and tend to "fade" in certain parts and the engraving is under the lacquer than it's been re-lacquered. When a horn is made at the factory the lacquer is applied first and then the engraving, logo, and serial number. So they are applied through the lacquer. This makes the logo and engraving stand out, and is more aesthetic.
I hope this helps and I'm sorry for the delay.