Saxophone/Lyon & Healy Alto Sax
I have an Old saxophone from my Grandfather and it has the Serial Number
201429. It also has a "Clown" engraving at the bell.Lyon & Healy is the brand.It was made in Chicago.Is it worth much? Thank you.
Thanks for the question.
Your saxophone wasn't made in Chicago, but rather Elkhart, Indiana. Lyon & Healy was based in Chicago and that is why the city is stamped on the bell. This horn was actually made by the Martin Band Instrument company sometime between the mid 1920's until the late 30's. This time we affectionately refer to as the "sax craze" as the saxophone was as popular if not more so than the electric guitar is now. Jazz was still in it's infancy and manufactures were having a difficult time keeping up with demand. Lyon & Healy was one of these manufactures but saxophones were not really their specialty. They made a very limited number in their own factory in the early years of the 20th century, but then the demand became to great so they turned to Martin to make instruments for them. This is a process called stenciling. In essence a company contracts a factory to make instruments for them and then the name of the company is "stenciled" on the bell. This is still an on going practice and I would estimate 80% of all saxophones produced today are in some way stencil instruments.
The model this horn is based on is the Martin Handcraft. This was Martins meat and potato instrument of the time and they produced 100's of thousands of these. Jazz players loved them and they were very affordable compared some of the other manufactures at the time. Almost every week someone is bringing me a 1920's era saxophone in to the shop. I would say about 50% or more are Martins. Because Martin made so many under their own name and a huge number of stencil's I've gotten rather good at spotting them.
As far as the saxophones value, I would say it's not going to be worth much. Maybe $400 max if it's in great condition however most horns from this era are not in great condition. It would need to be looked over by a technician who has experience with horns from this era. They can be a bit quirky as they have a few extra keys not found on modern horns and due to age they often have keys and screws that have frozen and need a little TLC to get moving again. If you need a tech in your area go to www.napbirt.org and do a tech search. Just call first and verify they have experience with older saxophones from the 1920's and 30's
I hope this helps.