Saxophone/BEUSCHER 1914 ELKHART
HI! MY NAME IS TAMMY. I WENT TO THE ANTIQUES ROAD SHOW AUG 9 TH 2014 IN N.Y. CITY AND HAD MY BEUSCHER 1914 ALTO SAXOPHONE APPRAISED BY ONE OF THERE PROFESSIONAL APPAISERS. WHEN HE SAW THE ALTO SAX, HE GASPED. HE LOOKED AT THE SERIAL NUMBER WHICH WAS 171582. AND THEN TOLD ME, IT WAS GOLD PLATED AND THAT THERE WERE WERE ONLY 171 MADE OF ITS KIND. "SORRY FOR THE CAPS, MEDICAL PROBLEMS WITH MY EYES"
THE ENGRAVINGS ARE VERY DETAILED FROM THE BASE OF THE HORN, IN BETWEEN THE KEYS TO THE TOP! I WISH I COULD GET A PICTURE TO YOU. HE SAID (APPRAISER) WITH ALL THE SAXOPHONES HE HAS APPRAISED AND THE ONES HE HAS IN HIS PRIVATE COLLECTION, THIS IS A FIRST OF ITS KIND HE HAS EVER SEEN, HINTED TO ME NON-CHALANTLY. TOLD ME TO GRAB HIS CARD ON THE WAY OUT AND GIVE HIM A CALL. HE VALUED THE SAX AT #3,500.
PERSONALLY, I THINK HE LOW BALLED ME BECAUSE HE WAS INTERESTED IT IN, THATS WHY I AM WRITING TO YOU FOR ADVICE ON WHERE OR WHO TO GO TO FOR A TRUSTED PERSON FOR A GOOD APPRAISAL AND ITS VALUE, I DO WANT TO SELL IT, BUT AT A REAL GOOD DECENT PRICE. THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ MY LETTER AND NICE TO MEET YOU! SINCERLY, TAMMY MICHAEL, (CELL NUMBER)
You may be sitting on something very valuable or you may not... To be honest I'm going to approach this as if you never went to the ARS. However I need to see more photos. There could be many things going on with this instrument. If you could send photos to my personal E-mail I'm going to be sharing this with some friends of mine and get back to you. Then I'll be able to give you more info.
What I need to see is the keys clusters for the right and left hand, pinky clusters, neck, pads, the engraving, and most important a photo of the serial number and surrounding area.
As many detailed photos as you can send me would be great.
I was hoping you would get back to me with additional information about this instrument. However as I've yet to hear from you I will let you know what I've found. I sent the photos you gave me to many other experts who I greatly admire. Not a single one of them could validate what the appraiser on the Antique Road Show told you. I don't know where he got that number of 171 instruments from. It is based on the Buescher True Tone which was Buescher's standard model in the early 20th century. Buescher made tens of thousands of these. Today they are still very common and not particularity sought after. Sax players know they can buy these for between $300 to $1200 depending on the condition. However yours has some rather unique engraving. The engraving is based on a painting Paul Thurman of the Greek goddess Psyche. This image is also commonly used in White Rock beverage adds. If you click on this link you can see more detail.
The other experts I've spoken to seem to think the engraving is custom and was not done at the Buescher factory. It may have been completed by one of the engravers at the Conn factory as it's very much in the style of what was being done by Conn at the time. However without seeing more photos it's difficult to tell.
As far as the value of this instrument I would have to say the appraiser is way off. I've seen many examples of television shows that way over estimate the value of produces. (i.e. Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Storage Wars, Antique Road Show, etc.) This is often done to increase the entertainment value of the program and is not a true reflection of what the instrument will sell for. I would say the most you would be able to ask for that saxophone may be in the $1500 range assuming it's in playable condition and all the pads are good. Also Buescher at this time used a snap in pad. For the value to hold the original snap in pads must still be there. It was not uncommon for technicians to remove the spuds from under the pads that held in the snaps and then use standard glue in pads. If the spuds and snaps have been replaced, the value of the instrument will be reduced by about 30%.
Also this is not a 1914 instrument. I would suspect there is a date of Dec 8, 1914 stamped on the body with a patent number. That is referring to a patent used in manufacturing by which the tone holes are drawn from the body instead of being soldered on after the holes were cut out. This patent was owned by a Mr. Verne Powell who was a flute maker. To this day his company still makes some of the best symphonic level flutes in the world. Anyone that used his patent had to stamp that date and number on the instruments and pay a small royalty to Mr. Powell until December of 1939. This made him very rich. However the serial number you gave me places the manufacture date of this horn around 1924-26.
I'm sorry if you were expecting more. After showing this to about 50 other repair techs not a single one could confirm what the appraiser told you. One young man who is an expert engraver and has studied the various styles done by different companies over the years said he has never seen one like it, but believes it may have been done by one of the engravers from the Conn factory. If you are interested in selling, I may be able to put you in contact with some buyers. But $3500 is about double of what you can really expect.