Saxophone/Vintage sax question


I recently acquired a tenor sax that I have no information on, but would love to know it's history and value.  It is an Evette & Schaeffer Buffet, I'm assuming imported by Carl Fischer.  It is a low pitch.  Also has 18&20 Passage du ?? Cerf, Paris on the side of the bell.  Has extra keys on the lower stack, as well as two octave keys.  If you need a picture of the horn, engravings, etc, I would be happy to send.  I am very curious as to what exactly I have.  I play professionally in my area, and just wasn't sure if this horn was worth putting money into or if it is just a nice conversation piece, or possibly a collector item.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!!


The horn that you have is a very early and very old Evette & Schaeffer. If it has 2 octave keys than I would assume the touch pieces are also metal and not mother of pearl. It was most likely made prior to 1900. You have a sax that is easily over 112 years old if not more.

Mr. Evette and Mr. Schaeffer bought the Buffet company in the later half of the 1800's and when the saxophone became popular they begin to manufacture their own and did quite a bit of experimentation, added extra keys and did things a bit differently than their competition. Remember the saxophone was a very new instrument at that time and Mr. Sax's patten's had just expired so there was no "standard" design for everyone to copy the way there is today. So every companies horn was a little different. Eventually the Evette & Schaeffer line would become Buffets student instrument and the Buffet's were the more professional instruments. However at the time this horn was produced they were pretty much one in the same.

You said it has an additional key for the right hand. I would need to see a picture to know for sure but this could be a G# trill key that would lift when you press the G# key with your left pinky. Then when you depress it you get a G and makes a G to G# trill very easy. Or you could have something called the "Buffet" system. This is a modification that allowed you to use alternate fingerings to produce notes with the right hand that were usually played with the left. Eventfully this would influence the Leblanc company when they created the "Rational system".

Would it be worth it to invest in this? Thats a tough call. If this is going to be a horn that you want to keep and be able to play it for the fun of it and your not concerned with getting your money back out of it, then yes it would be worth it. If your looking to make a profit, then I hope you didn't pay to much for it. These old instruments are interesting, but they are very difficult to sell. Mainly because the 2 octave keys make them difficult to play and they have a smaller bore than todays saxophones. This causes them to sound a bit "thin"  

So I would say this is a collectors item, but not a very valuable piece. I museum may like to have it, but rarely will a museum buy something. They prefer donations.

I would love to see some pictures of it, feel free to e-mail them to me at


Charles Harris  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Charles Harris


questions regarding equipment, performance, repairs, lessons, etc. Almost all saxophone related questions.


I am a professional member of N.A.P.B.I.R.T (National Association of Professional Band Instruments Repair Technicians). I have been repairing saxophones, flutes, clarinets, and brass instruments since 1993. I perform in several professional groups covering genres form classical, jazz, and rock.

N.A.P.B.I.R.T (National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians

St. Petersburg Junior College (AA) University of South Florida.

©2016 All rights reserved.