Where are the serial numbers located on a Buescher 400 tenor saxophone? I am trying to find out the value of mine, but am unable to find the number. Thank you.
The serial number should be below the thumbhook. If you are unable to find it then it's most likely been buffed off due to a bad relacquer job. Is the engraving visible or does it look faded? When the horn is engraved, it is lacquered first and the engraving is cut through the lacquer. This makes the engraving really stand out. When the horn is re-lacquered, the engraving is covered by the lacquer making it appear to fade into the brass. If it's faded, that would explain why the serial number is missing.
When the horns are relacquered, they have to be polished. Back in the day it was not uncommon to buff the horns on a cotton wheel spinning somewhere around 1500rpm. At that speed the cotton acts just like sand paper on the brass. It will remove the top surface. Unfortunately many under-qualified techs would do this and buff the daylights out of them until there was nothing left. Thats what I expect has happened to your horn. Look closely at the area just below the thumb hook. You might be able to see hints of the serial number. If you cant, get a lead pencil and a piece of paper and make a rubbing of that area. Sometimes that will reveal details not visible to the eye.
If you would like, I might be able to give you a rough idea of when the horn was made, If you can send me some photos of the engraving, keys, (serial number area), etc. I'll see what I can do. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope this helps