Saxophone Forum

by burns3c
(7 posts)
6 years ago

Lovely Conn Alto with weird 'A' in serial number

I have been borrowing this alto from a friend, thinking about buying it but I don't know exactly what it is or what I should be willing to pay for it. I don't know if it's a 'tranny' or a '6m' and there is an unexplained 'A' suffix after the serial that doesn't make sense (I'm not talking about the 'A' for 'alto' that is stamped above the serial. This is a second 'A' that comes after the serial itself). The serial is M261722A. This I believe puts it at 1934-35, right when the transitional period ended and the 'standard' horns began production. The engraving has the naked lady. Any thoughts about what I've got? What the heck is that 'A' for? Its in remarkable playing condition. Probably repadded recently, no major leaks either. Original laquer is in good shape. Only 2 tiny dings that I could find, one on the neck and one on the body. Thumb rest probably not original. Several of those weird little screws that screw in the sides of the posts are missing. How much do you conn gurus out there think I should pay for it?

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  1. by GFC
    (712 posts)

    6 years ago

    Re: Lovely Conn Alto with weird 'A' in serial number

    The official 6M series started a couple of thousand units after yours. If yours has the articulated G# key cluster, it is functionally a 6M. I'm as lost as you are on the mystery "A." There is an unverified rumor that certain runs of tranny altos had issues with intonation and/or tonal unevenness. I'm not sure it involves horns in the range of yours, but check it against a tuner if you want to be sure. There are online tuners and even some smartphone tuner apps. Your best course of action would be to check closing prices of comparable horns in similar condition on eBay. There is a premium for trannies over 6Ms in general, but the "viii" stamped 6Ms also carry a premium. There is downward pressure on vintage horn prices in the current economy. You might want to have a tech check it over to see if there are any lurking issues that carry a price tag. No leaks apparent to you doesn't mean no leaks at all. The missing set screws won't affect the ability to keep adjustment as long as there is Loctite, but they and the replaced thumbrest will affect the market value of the horn. Rejoice in being a player and not a collector. You are in the enviable position of being able to fully evaluate the horn and the market before you buy.

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    1. by dgallego
      (27 posts)

      6 years ago

      Re: Lovely Conn Alto with weird 'A' in serial number

      Depending on the format of where the A is located it may not be anything abnormal. 

      If the A is by itself it just the Alto desegnator nothing else.

      If you could take a good picture of the Serial number area and post it or type the exact area with all spaces and lines someone should be able to help. 


      If it a 30's - 50's conn it should be a good player.  

      I play a 1937 Conn 6m viii that was refinished by well meaning parents.  It looks nice but not original but it is a hell of a players horn.  Horns were ment to be played so there is always value there. 

      Some of that era Conns were a PIA to get the bottom register to play right.  Not a major problem since not used that much.


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