Saxophone/Mark VI Soprano

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Question
I have a Selmer Mk V Soprano in pristine shape. recently completely overhauled. Sr. #259298. I've had it for years & rarely play it because I also play clarinet. I also have an mid 60's alto & 1st year Mk VII Tenor that I play all the time. I was wondering if you could give me an estimate of its worth. Its scratched under the thumb rest but other than that looks almost new. Great lacquer & has never been redone.

Answer
Tom,

Sorry I didn't get to you sooner. I started this earlier this week but was just able to finish it tonight. You have a very nice horn and from the way you describe it I'm sure it's in great shape.

Before placing a value on any instrument it's very important to understand where it comes from and where the market currently is. Any product regardless if it's a saxophone or a sail boat, it's value depends only on what 2 people agree on. So anything I say is based on my experience and what I've seen things sell for recently. You may find you can get more or less so what I give you is a general ball park quote.

10 years ago, You could have just held a Mark VI (Any Mark VI) in the air with a for sale sign on it and people would come flocking to you waiving hundred dollar bills. Prior to 2008 Mark VI tenors were easily selling for over $10,000. 5 digit altos for over $6000. Sopranos were in the $5000 range. However, after the economy crashed in 2008 people started to wise up and began being more careful about what they were spending their money on. Those high dollar days are long gone and I don't see them coming back for another 10 to 15 years.  

Based on what you told me about your 3 horns the newest is not the Mark VII tenor but rather the soprano. Your soprano was produced between 1976 and 1978 this means it was made at the time Selmer was focusing on the Mark VII. The Mark VII was introduced around 1972 or 73. The Mark VI alto and tenor were discontinued about that time. However the soprano, sopranino and bass Mark VI saxophones continued production into the early and mid 1980's. From what I've been told, some of the early SA80's and SA80-SII sopraninos are actually identical to the Mark VI's and the Mark VI sopraninos are nearly identical to the Super Action and Balanced Action Sopraninos. Seems Selmer didn't make many changes to the tooling on these for close to 40 years. However I haven't' been able to get my hands on these all at the same time to measure them. The soprano followed a similar trend and was not discontinued until about 1980.     

When placing a value on a Mark VI there are a number of the variables you have to look at. The first of course it's serial number. In general the five digit serial numbers are considered to be more valuable than the six digit with the "cherry" range to be about 75,xxx to 95,xxx. Sometimes the 54,xxx's up to the 59,xxx's will go for a bunch as those are the early mark VI's and some people think the first ones were the better ones. I disagree but there are those who will spend their hard earned money. There are a few six digit numbers collectors tend to like and those are the 103,xxx's and 140,xxx to about 144,xxx. Don't ask me why this is the case, it's just the numbers collectors tend to gravitate to. The finish is a huge variable and from what you told me yours seems to be in great condition and original. Based on when this horn was made, it should be in great shape with no need of a re-lacquer. The lacquer used on the older Mark VI's was not very good and that is why most got re-lacquered. In the late 60's Selmer switched to a much more durable lacquer that did not wear off as easily as the older lacquer. Therefore the newer horns (post 1970) tend to have their original lacquer. Condition of pads and any repairs have to be assessed and if the horn was re-padded in the last 2 years than it should be in excellent playing condition and all pads should be in great shape.

Notice I said collector several times. Players are not collectors, but it's the collectors who drive the prices of these horns up or down. Serious players know this and they know which serial numbers will drive up the price and which ones will be more of a deal. However knowing that I've never seen any proof that one serial number range plays better than another. So it all comes down to timing. Do you have something that someone else wants at the exact time they want it. Considering your horn was made in the mid to late 1970's and was one of the last Mark VI sopranos ever made, it should be a fine playing horn. If you were to offer it on line you could be looking at around $2500 to $3500. If you were selling it in a store where it could be displayed, play tested and the store could offer a warranty than you may push it up to $4000. But that would be the upper range in today's market.

If you don't plan to sell it, just enjoy it. You have a great collection and it sounds like the only thing your missing is a bari. ;)

Good luck and I hope this helps.

Charles Harris  

Saxophone

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Charles Harris

Expertise

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

Experience

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.

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

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

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