Hi, I recently inherited a sax from my grandfather. I'd like to know what it is and a little about it and maybe what it is worth. It's been in it's case since before he passed away in '06 but he used to play it and others in a small band he had. It has the skyline image on it and says Martin Handcraft, Elkhart, IN and a number on the back of 118222 "Low Pitch". It looks like the original case. If some of you experts could pass on some of your wisdom, I'd sure appreciate it.
That horn is a Martin Committee I, otherwise known as a "skyline" or "searchlight' horn. The serial number makes it a 1937 horn.
That example is a beauty. It's straight and shows very little lacquer wear. Best of all, there's nothing distracting from the bell design, which I think is one of the coolest ever. Pure art-deco exhuberance, America moving to take the future by the tail under the steady guidance of FDR, aided by airplanes and tall buildings sweeping the skies with searchlights! Martin afficionados are going to drool.
The case is a Conn case, not original to the horn. The pads look newish. There's a slight bit of moisture discoloration in the shot of the lower stack key. The pads are plain pads without resonators, so they're not a real selling point.
I used to play an early Martin Indiana, which had the same body design but with not as nice keywork. It was a sweet and pure sounding horn, with a slightly dark aspect. It also blew really nicely.
Like most earlier horns, the keywork might seem clunky to someone used to modern horns. But either someone wants a Martin or they don't.