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Saxophone/When my Selmer super action 80 II tenor was made?

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Question
Hi,

I have just bought  in Germany a brand new (at least what the shopman said)  Selmer super action 80 II tenor saxophone. However,  the seriaal number is N 637986 whaat looks to low for a 2014 instrument.  Is this possible? The instrument really seems to be brand new.

I just want to be sure that this is a real Selemr saxophone. I cannot find a serial number list for newer selmer saxophones. Any idea where to find it?

Best regards
Jose

Answer
Jose,

From what little you describe, I believe you have an authentic and brand new Selmer. However if you are attempting to identify the year of manufacture based on the serial number you are not going to find it at this point in time. The reason is Selmer seems to update their serial number list about once a decade and when they do the info the release is still several years behind. In addition there is some inaccuracies built into the list. I know for a fact that the Mark VI I own was manufactured in or prior to 1959 as I knew the original owner who bought it in 1959. However the serial number list indicates its a 1960 model.  The most current serial number list I can find only goes until 1992, however I know in the mid to late 1990's the horns they were producing were in the 500,xxx range. So 600,xxx sounds about right for a current instrument.

Their are many reasons why manufactures do not release an accurate serial number list or even a timely one. In my opinion the two biggest reasons are....

1) It could show the financial health of the company. For example if they were producing 10,000 instruments in each year and then then suddenly dropped to only 7,000 instruments people and mainly the share holders will wonder why the sudden decrease in production. This might also give their competitors an edge. Thus when they finally do get around to releasing a new set of numbers, what they do release is so far out of date, it has no bearing on the companies current status. Also by only giving out estimated list they can make some years look a little better than they really were. I have found the serial number list can be off by as much as 18 months in either direction.  

2) Also I believe the serial number list is not a reflection of when the horns left the factory but rather a reflection of when they were sold to the customers. Thus they would have to be estimates. A horn can take several months to a year from the time it leaves the factory, travels to the warehouse, and then gets to a store. Then it could sit in inventory for a long time. It's not uncommon when dealing with higher end products, not just musical instruments, for them to take several years to find a buyer. These are still new and sometimes never played instruments. Sometimes these are called "New-Old stock". If your horn is one of these new-old stock horns but is in perfectly new condition there shouldn't be any reason for concern.

If you did get a Selmer that was manufactured in the past few years, since 2012, it's going to be a jubilee edition. These are easily recognizable by the very fine engraving on the bell and the Henri Selmer signature on the bell to bow ring. If it's not there than it's the non-jubilee and was manufactured prior to 2012. A high end instrument sitting in a store for 2 to 5 years is not unheard of especially if it's a smaller store and may not have the budget or customer base to support a large inventory of pro line horns.

If you want an accurate date, you would have to contact Selmer directly in Paris. It's my understanding they are now sharing that information on a one on one basis, just not publishing it.

You mentioned you think it might be counterfeit. That is a real problem and Selmer is trying to crack down on it. Let me ask you this. Was the store you bought it from a Selmer dealer? Did they have other Selmer products and signage / promotional material in the store reflecting they are Selmer dealers? If so I'm sure they would know the real thing from the counterfeits. If you would like to send me some photos of the horn I could tell you a bit more about the model you have and verify if its real or not. I would need to see photos of the engraving, the "S" on the neck octave mechanism, the serial number, the case, etc. You can send them to my e-mail at charles@harrisbandinstruments.com

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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