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Saxophone/I found a saxaphone in storage

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Question
In a case and is in what looks to be good condition....it is engraved with "E Domage, Philadelphia Pa....IN9954, A, P6937, L

I am wondering what it may be worth

Answer
Jay,

What I believe you have is a Pan American saxophone that was manufactured by the Conn corporation in the late 1930's. The Pan American label was Conn's intermediate line of instruments and are based on the pro models of the time but with a slightly modified key work.

The patent # is actually 1119954. Its not uncommon for scratches and other wear and tear marks to make these numbers appear different than what they were originally. This patent is for a method of drawing the tone holes out of the body of the instrument instead of being cut and then soldered back on. This patent was developed by Mr. William Haynes who was a flute maker. His company still exist and is known for some of the best symphonic level flutes in the world. When he received this patent on Dec 8, 1914 any company that used it had to stamp the patent # and date on the instrument and pay a royalty to Mr. Haynes for 25 years after the patent was issued. It expired in 1939 therefore I can date this instrument to prior to 1939.

The other information is as follows... A is for alto saxophone. the P6937 is the serial number however using this to date the instruments is going to be difficult as I don't believe serial numbers for the Pan American line were ever published. However the P at the beginning indicates this is a Pan American. The L stands for Low Pitch. This means the saxophone is tuned to A440. This means the A directly above middle C on the piano is tuned to 440 hertz or vibrations per second. This is the modern tuning system thus this instrument is still compatible with all modern ensembles. Prior to the 1930's different regions of the world used various tuning systems and sometimes an instrument would be required that was in high pitch or A456. This was mostly occurred in central and eastern Europe.

As far as value that is going to be tricky as this is an intermediate instrument and not as valued as a pro horn. So I would say anywhere from $50 to $200 would be about it. The biggest problem with this horn is during the time period in which it was manufactured was commonly referred to as the "Sax Craze". in the early 20th century Jazz was the pop music of the day and the saxophone was a huge part of jazz and still is. The saxophone was as popular, if not more so, than the electric guitar is now. Thus factories were producing saxophones in very large numbers. Thus saxophones from this era are still quite common and tend to show up in the strangest places like grandpa's closet, attics, garages, flea markets, and like you said storage. With so many on the market and the little demand for them keeps the value rather low. Even if it's in good condition visually there might be other hidden issues and the pads may be damaged just due to the time they have been in storage. I would recommend you have the horn evaluated by a qualified technician. If you need to find someone in your area, go to www.napbirt.org and do a tech search. This is the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians. Before you speak to a tech, make sure you can meet them in person and if you have to take it to a shop that want's to send it off to be repaired than find another shop. Also make sure they are familiar with working with vintage instruments. Older instruments have some slightly different mechanisms compared with modern saxophones and sometimes there are hidden issues that are not obvious at first glance. With that being said if you get an offer on the horn take it.

I might be able to tell you a bit more if you could send me some detailed and close up photos of the engraving, key work, pads, etc. My email is charles@harrisbandinstruments.com

Thanks
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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