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Saxophone/Tenor and Alto Saxophones


QUESTION: Good evening Mr. Koeller,

My Dad who would have been 99 years old this year played beautiful music on his two saxophones.

The first is a Tenor Conn with this info: 1119954 Patd Dec. 8 1914.  It has a number of M251359 with a T above it and an "L" below it.

The second is a Buescher Artistocrat Elkhart IN USA.  Serial number is 275927 low pitch.

What can you tell me about his two horns?

ANSWER: Hello Amy,
Both of his saxophones were made in Elkhart Indiana. Both are low pitch which is good. That is today's pitch standard A=440. The "T" stands for tenor.The tenor is a Conn New Wonder Transitional that was made in 1932.  
from the web...
You'll see these with different keywork styles, and almost always with
elaborate engraving. Most are in silver. Deduct 10% for lacquer, add 30% for
gold. These horns have a real cult following.
Alto $ 2400
Tenor $ 3000
Baritone $ 3100

Your dads Tenor is worth about $3000 in mint condition...
Now lets look at the alto.
It's a Buescher Aristocrat alto ,also Low Pitch, Made in Elkhart in 1936.

From the web...BUESCHER ARISTOCRAT 270XXX - 290XXX
Tenors and alto horns only. The others were still basically True Tones.
These are really nice players, much sought after. You'll be unlikely to find
them in anything but lacquer. Add 20% for silver. I've never seen a gold
example. These horns are much more desirable than any of their ancestors.
Alto $ 1800
Tenor $ 2300
So you can see that the Buescher alto is worth about $1800 in mint condition however the Lacquer must be original and not re-lacquered.
Please keep in mind that these are  vintage professional saxophones and not for beginning students. 5th graders will drop saxophones and smash them...Keep the kids far away..Any pro would want to buy these and play them...
Thanks and Good Luck!!
Grant Koeller

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so very much for educating me about my Dad's saxophones.  I am so happy to have this information.  My daughter has my Dad's Buffet clarinet.  I had given her all the horns when my Dad passed, and recently she said she wanted to give the saxophones back to me because her love is the clarinet, and she would probably never play the saxophones.  I want to find a buyer who will love these horns and make beautiful music with them like my Dad did.  Would you suggest I have them refurbished as they have sat in their cases not being used for almost 25 years now?   I have to say I actually came to tears when I gently took them out of their cases to look at them knowing how many hours they were held and played by my Dad.  I didn't know how emotional this would be!  We have a fine store here locally that I know would do a great job with them (a place that my Dad always went to) - so you know it has been around for many, many years.  And if I do this, would you suggest a full refurbish or just have certain things done?  Again - thank you so very much for your expertise.

Do not refurbish them!!!!! That will lower the value. Let the buyer have the work done that need to be done. Most people take a vintage saxophone in to a local music store and the store says... "you need a total overhaul" That will be $ thing you know, they are relacquering the saxes finish. That is a big no no!!!!Leave the saxophones finish original!!!!You need to go to NAPBIRT website and locate the nearest certified repair tech.  He can tell what the sax needs and doesn't need.He can appraise the value. Also go to completed ebay sales for value. An old sax will need some of the leather pads replaced. It will need key oil for the keys and maybe a new neck cork. If it is totally trashed, it will need a new total overhaul but not the finish!!!! thanks Grant Koeller  


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Grant R. Koeller


I'm a Professional Jazz Saxophone soloist recently retired from 23 years with the USAF Band Of Flight, WPAFB, OHIO, experienced in performance, technique and equipment. I'm not a buyer/seller or dealer. I have 40 years Alto, Tenor, Soprano and Bari Saxophone performance experience with additional years on the Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bass Guitar, Piano, Drum-set, Guitar and Voice. I'm a third generation professional military musician, my father, Bill Koeller(1939-1997) was in the USAF 1958-1962, and played Jazz Hammond B-3 organ from 1957-1997, and my fathers Uncle, Alfred Koeller (1912-1993), was a professional Acoustic Bassist in the Army Air Corps in WWII, and also performed on Jazz Guitar, Hammond organ, Piano and tenor saxophone.


Professional Saxophone Soloist, 23 total years with the USAF Bands, 6 years with the USAF Band of Flight, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, performing on Tenor, Alto, Soprano, Clarinet, and Flute. 4 years in Japan, at Yokota AFB with the USAF Band of the Pacific. An Avid Composer and Arranger for the Night Hawk Protocol Combo. Former Lead Alto Saxophonist with the USAF Night Flight Big Band performing the music of Glenn Miller as well as other hits of the Big Band Era. I collect LP records of Jazz, blue's, classical and rock, and have over 12,000 records.

USAF,Phi MU Alpha Sinfonia, Men's National Music Fraternity, Johnny Mack Super Big Band, Tom Daugherty Orchestra, Kim Kelly Orchestra, Dayton Jazz Orchestra, Eddie Love Big Band, Gem City Big Band, Jazz Central Big Band, Shin Sings Orchestra, Kim Kelly Orchestra,USAF Night Flight Jazz Ensemble, Different Hats Big Band, Jimmy Baker Blues Band, This Side Up, Freelance, KING KOELLER Quartet, Jazz Central Big Band, GB Work, Sax On The Web,

Saxophone On the Web; Anchorage Daily News; All Experts; Augustana College Public Radio, WVIK;

North Texas State University School of Music, Jazz Studies 1982-1986 Lead Alto, Lab bands 1982-83 and small group leader 1983-1984, Jazz Radio Host WVIK 90.1 FM NPR affiliate Rock Island, IL United States Collegiate Wind Band European tour 1980 Augustana College, Rock Island IL, Liberal Arts Music Mentors/Teachers:My father Bill Koeller, a Jazz Hammond B-3 Organist (1939-1997) Great Uncle Alfred Koeller, Acoustic Bass 1912-1993

Awards and Honors
Paul Shartle Musician of the Quarter Spring 2008; Glenn Miller Festival, Clarinda, Iowa featured soloist; McDonald's All-American Band and Jazz Ensemble 1979; US Collegiate Wind Bands,Paul Lavalle Conductor, tour of Europe,1980; John Phillip Sousa Award, 1980 Dimond HS Anchorage, Alaska; USAF National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star; USAF Achievement Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters; USAF Good Conduct Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters

Past/Present Clients
Performed with, Bob Hope, The Platters, Four Tops, Jimmy Dorsey, Crystal Gail, Helen Ready, James Williams, Dallas Jazz Orchestra, Jack Jones, The Mills Brothers, the G-Clef's, Lionel Hampton at Carnegie Hall, Performed for the King Of Thailand 2005, Tom "Bone's" Malone, Roy Hargrove, Tommy Turrentine, Performed for President Gerald Ford, President George W. Bush, The Maguire Sisters, The USO Girls-Andrew Sisters Tribute, The Four Lads, Lincoln Berry, The Dayton Jazz Orchestra, Louis Bellson, Buddy DeFranco, Walter Bishop Jr, Sadao Watanabe, Bobby Shew, Pete Jolly, Quad City Jazz Ensemble, Augustana College Symphonic Band, Jack Scott, Catfish Jazz Society, Intrigue-Boston Wedding Band, The Mark Herbert Little Big Band, The Pacesetters Big Band, The Ambassadors Jazz Ensemble, Pacific Showcase Big Band, Jimmy Dorsey Big Band under the direction of Lee Castle, Ronny Scott Orchestra, Big Al's Hot Dance Orchestra, The Dayton Sidewinders, Tom Daugherty Orchestra, Johnny Mack Super Big Band, Ken Peplowski, Eddie Daniels, Buddy Guy, Roy Hargrove, Warren Parrish, John OMeara Jr., Dave Holcomb, Albia Silva,Vinnie Demartino, Clon VonFitz, The G Clef's

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