Question Hi Grant. We met last night at the Heatherwoode gig. Really enjoyed playing with you! As I mentioned, I have my grandfather's gold-plated Conn tenor saxophone. It has a silver inlay of a ballerina on the bell. The numbers engraved on the bell read "PATD Dec 8 1914" and then "1119954" "T" "M154303" and "L". I was wondering what it might be worth. I'm not necessarily interested in selling it because it's a family heirloom. Thanks for your expert advice!
Answer Hello Jeff ,your fathers sax is a Conn New Wonder Series II. It was made in 1925.
There are essentially four varieties of New Wonder instruments,you have type B or even C...
"Standard" New Wonder models: (Discussed on this page.) These are instruments with "standard" Conn engraving (one of about four "standard" designs, ranging from just "CG Conn, Ltd." to the very elaborate) and without additional pearl keytouches on side keys. These horns are sometimes called "Chu Berry" horns, but they shouldn't be: Mr. Berry played a "transitional" model tenor.
New Wonder Artist's Special models: An official model name from Conn referring to a finish: the heavily engraved, gold-plated version of the New Wonder horns (occasionally referred to as "finish 00" in Conn catalogs or, unofficially, the Portrait model). I have decided to extend this definition and include elaborately engraved silver-plated and silver plated horns with gold keywork or gold highlights with these models.
New Wonder Virtuoso Deluxe models: An official model name from Conn referring to a finish: the heavily engraved, gold-plated New Wonder horns that boasted additional pearl keytouches (occasionally referred to as "finish 000" in Conn catalogs). I have decided to extend this definition and include elaborately engraved silver-plated and silver plated horns with gold keywork or gold highlights with these models, to distinguish them from "plain" New Wonder horns.
"New Wonder Transitional" models (s/n 235xxx to 262xxx): Conn referred to these horns with just a model number (e.g. "6M" for an alto), but during this period of manufacture, both split- and same-side bell key horns were available, and they have a variety of engraving differences from other 6M models, so this is an invented, albeit quite common, name.
All of the New Wonder"Series II" Saxophones had rolled tone holes and "nailfile" G# keys.
These horns typify the Big Band sound: you can put a lot of air through them and get a big sound. These horns are generally more technically advanced than others of the same era and were produced in extremely large quantities (excepting the enamel, gold wash and finish 00/000 models). This means that you can get an extremely high quality professional horn at a relatively low price -- and that you can find a lot of them, mainly in silver plate.
Your sax is Low Pitch (that is the Letter L)which is great!! Today's standard for musical pitch is A=440. so this sax will really sound great and you have the gold plating.
NEW WONDER Series II "CHU BERRY" 150XXX – 240XXX
Conn never called these horns "Chu Berry", but we’re stuck with the name. Improved keywork, "fingernail file" G# key; microtuner necks on the altos'; and really spectacular engraving on the Artist models (usually seen in gold plate, often with mother of pearl key touches, add 40%). There is strong demand for these fine instruments. Usually seen in silver, deduct 20% for lacquer, add 20% for gold non-artist examples. Prices may vary considerably depending upon the amount and style of engraving. Pristine examples bring top dollar.
Straight soprano $2000
Curved soprano $2500
Alto $ 2100
Tenor $ 2800
So your Bb tenor is $2800 plus 40 percent $1120 for the gold plate for a total value of $3920 ThANKS,great playing the gig with you! It was a blast!!
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Thanks, Grant! Outstanding feedback. Hope to play again with you real soon!
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.
Organizations 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,
Publications Saxophone On the Web;
Anchorage Daily News;
Augustana College Public Radio, WVIK;
Education/Credentials 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