Saxophone Forum


by saz
(2 posts)
9 years ago

Antoine Courtois alto sax

Can anyone help me.... I have an Antoine Courtois alto sax, with a serial no. 10388 (i presume) on the side and "Made in France" underneath.... just wanted to know how old it is. I've had it for about 15 years now and am intrigued if it may be worth anything? Thanks! Saz

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  1. by saxismyaxe
    (574 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Antoine Courtois alto sax

    I'll give you a link to do your own research about this horn: www.courtois-paris.com/panneauhisto.html Antoine Courtois is the oldest continuous manufacturer of Wind Instruments in Europe, and have been played by notible soloists and performers for over 150 years. If you pick up virtually any book on the history of wind instruments, you will find his name. For those of us interested in the history of the Saxophone, the name Antoine Courtois is infamous for his law suit with Adolphe Sax over SUPPOSED patents and invention infringments. Here is a brief over view: "Our story begins with a lawsuit between Antoine (Adolphe) Sax and Antoine Courtois. Antoine Sax, whose nickname was Adolphe, was constantly embroiled in legal wrangling over the authenticity of his inventions. He is crediting with inventing the saxophone when other fusions of ophicleides and woodwinds were already in existence, and many credited him with inventing the bass clarinet, though this instrument predated Sax by many years. To give him his due, Sax greatly improved any instrument he turned his mind to, and the saxhorn family of brass instruments was a genuine Sax creation that forever changed the world of music, displacing the keyed bugles, serpents, ophicleides, and other inferior antique junk tolerated by musicians and Sax’s peers and patrons alike (the latter of whom included Hector Berlioz and Meyerbeer). Saxhorns became a staple of marching bands, especially in the United States. If you examine photos of Civil War bands of the North and South, you will see over-the-shoulder and upright saxhorns in abundance. Coming back to the matter of the lawsuit: In 1855, Sax lost a lawsuit with Antoine Courtois, giving Courtois the right to manufacture saxhorns, which they do to this very day. This same year, a virtuoso cornetist and part-time instrument builder and designer named Herman Koenig, invented the family of horns that bears his name, and which were built by Antoine Courtois. "

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    1. by saz
      (2 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Antoine Courtois alto sax

      I actually meant a saxophone... not saxhorn?? Thanks for the link, but no info on saxophones on it...

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      1. by saxismyaxe
        (574 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Antoine Courtois alto sax

        No Saz, this link was provided to give you some background info on the company history, not Saxophones specifically. The tid bit posted above pertains to the legendary law suit between Courtois and Sax which left Sax in a more or less financial bind for his entire career. I included it as it is of great importance to the history of Sax and the Saxophone. Redarding your horn specifically, Courtois is not one of the Big makers in the saxophone world, even in France with such small but known saxophone makers as: Couesnon, Malerne, Pierret, Dolnet, SML etc. Courtois claim to fame was primarily due to their Brasses. As such, I am unaware of any published lists of serial numbers, nor am I well versed in this particular maker's saxophones to identify the approximate date by photos of the horn. Perhapse someone else out their can do this for you. Anyone?

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        1. by Dave Dix
          (421 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Antoine Courtois alto sax

          I found one list of Antoine Courtois serial numbers but that ended in 1900 at 9000 also he died in 1885 but the company still lives on to this day. Dave

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      2. by gypsy
        (6 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Antoine Courtois alto sax

        I have my husband's Antoine Courtois alto sax that he had in 1958 when he was in High School. Found reference to Antoine Courtois Saxophones at Kesslermusic.com. It says the Courtois saxophones are part of the JA Musik Group and are actually made by B&S, another company in the JA Musik Group; and that the Courtois saxophones are identical to the top model B&S Medusas. Also says that JA Musik has decided to discontinue the Courtois name on saxophones. They have a small quantity of these saxophones for sale at what they say is the unbelievably low price of $1,695.00. These are handmade German horns. My husband's horn is marked - Antoine Courtois - BREVETE' - Facteur Du Conservtoire - National - 8 Rue De Nancy, Paris. So perhaps his was actually made in Paris. I don't have the horn here so I can't give you a serial number. Will check it for you if you want. The Kesslermusic.com site is for Kessler & Sons - "WHERE STUDENTS ARE TREATED LIKE PROS!" and my husband got his as a student. Hope this helps. gypsy

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      3. by gypsy
        (6 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Antoine Courtois alto sax

        Finally got a good look at my husband's sax and have more relevant info for you. As stated before, it is marked Antoine Courtois, etc. Also marked; Made in France - 6859 - Sole America Importers - LEBLANC - U.S.A. The case is leather; label - Selmer - Reg. U.S. Pat. Office Check musictrader.com It lists the brand names manufactured or marketed by the Leblanc Corp. Among them is Courtois. They have some serial number lists.

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        1. by saxismyaxe
          (574 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Antoine Courtois alto sax

          Gypsy, The info you have provided applies only to recent production Courtois instruments. Jk. aquired the company name and assests within recent years. with Leblanc acting as the sole US importer/distributor going back quite awhile . Many Courtois horns floating about to this day are from their earlier, independent years of production, e.g. 1900 through to the early 60's.

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          1. by gypsy
            (6 posts)

            8 years ago

            Re: Antoine Courtois alto sax

            saxismyaxe You're absolutely right as to the more recent Jk production of Courtois instruments. As stated, the horn I have is an earlier model from the mid 1950's, made in Paris and distributed in this country by Leblanc. Do you happen to know about the desirability or value of these earlier models?

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            1. by saxismyaxe
              (574 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Antoine Courtois alto sax

              This make of horn, like so many of the smaller French horn makers of the early to mid 20th century, are sleeper horns among the majority of collectors and recent sax converts. Makers like: Courtois, Couesnon, Dolnet, Malerne, Pierret

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            2. by saxismyaxe
              (574 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Antoine Courtois alto sax

              Sorry, I was cut off. As I was saying: Makers like the afore mentioned are not widely known or collected YET, although many of these horns are well made, and very fine players. The only Non Selmer French horns that have risen in value recently are the wonderful SMLs and Buffets. Most of these French horns are often described as having a more compact, centered Selmer like traditionally French sound to them, although some have slightly older keywork designs. I would hang on to your horn, and enjoy it as a nice example of a bygone era in Hand made horns. By the way, I made a boo boo and typed JK when I meant J.A. I was thinking JA, but typed Julias Keilwerth i.e. JK instead. Sorry.

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            3. by gypsy
              (6 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Antoine Courtois alto sax

              Thank you much saxismyaxe. You've been very helpful. Do you know of someone good in the S.F. Bay Area I could take it to to have it serviced, repadded and so forth?

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            4. by saxismyaxe
              (574 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Antoine Courtois alto sax

              Hi Gypsy, The best repair/restoration technician on the West coast IMHO is Steve "Sarge" Stranksky of www.worldwidesax.com. He is located in Washington state so you will have to mail it to him if you want to save a drive. Repadding and setting up a vintage sax requires a lot of experience and expertise with the various vintage horn quirks that is beyond the skill of a lot of contemporary techs of the "school band/music store" variety. Steve is a true pro, and you will be bowled over by the results. Best of luck.

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            5. by gypsy
              (6 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Antoine Courtois alto sax

              Thank you once again saxismyaxe. I appreciate your sharing your knowledge with me. I will certainly look into the referal you've given me.

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            6. by clarinetplayer
              (1 post)

              5 years ago

              Re: Antoine Courtois alto sax

              I had a silver Courtois Eb alto conservatory model w/case stolen back in the early 1970s in Toronto, Canada. Reported to police and insurance but never found... Maybe I could dig up the serial# and photo? It was in "like new" condition...

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