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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought this 27822 Selmer Balanced Action tenor in great shape and followed my routine, asking Douglas Pipher about the "where and when" of this horn. This was his answer:

"Selmer 27822 was originally sold to Selmer US. It shipped in February 1939 without lacquer or engraving. It shipped as part of a batch of 20 horns (5 Altos and 15 Tenors) and at least one of the Altos was a Dorsey model.

I have seen this instrument several times over the last several years.
June 2013 - Shawnee, Kansas, USA - listed for $9495
Nov 2014 - Shawnee, Kansas, USA - relisted for $6695
Nov 2015 - Chila Vista, California - ebay auction
Feb 2016 - Zurich, Switzerland - listed for 5050 CHF
Mar 2016 - Zbiroh, Czech Republic - listed for $6900 US
Apr 2016 - Zbiroh, Czech Republic - relisted for $5900 US"


My pics taken today will show the near mint condition this horn is in:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a3yhpw0cal6r8zd/AADdihMfztfWSrTDxQ8KHarba?dl=0

Colour of lacquer is a bit lighter (less red), white balance is always a problem with cheap digital cameras.

I found at least one of the listings Douglas is talking about:

https://de.aliexpress.com/item/Selm...iscount-CZE/32646521232.html?isOrigTitle=true

I have already contacted the shop in Germany where I bought it. It has a fine reputation, nice guys, nothing fishy about them.

My question is: is there a chance this is a fake horn? The link above says "Sold by China" and the country is Czechia. When I look at the lacquer and the few nicks, it does look original to me. However, the fact that it went through so many hands makes me wonder....
Thanks for having a look and commenting, and, as always, many thanks to Douglas.
 

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The shop where you purchased it must know where they got it from. I am not sure what you mean by "fake". I suppose it is possible but it would surely be a major undertaking and I doubt the horn is not a Selmer. It would be hard to make something like this. Perhaps some of the listings are fake and the images lifted from previous auctions/sales. It could obviously have been refinished, but that wouldn't make it "fake".

Meh - congrats! You seem to have lots of several exceptionally nice horns and just added another.
 

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I don’t think this is a “ fake” (you suppose someone made this from scratch at this level of precision?) and as far as these horns are , even if this was a relacquered at some stage (and the engraving meticulously recut), you got it exceptionally cheap and in my opinion this was a great buy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. I paid more than what the auction in the link asked.... Regardless of what I paid, I find it strange an exceptional horn like this one passed through so many hands in a rather short time-span. Yes, I wanted to know how far people in China or elsewhere will go to fake even a vintage horn. I'm happy to know you think this IS a Selmer horn. The story is it comes from a private collection that is partly sold on commission in a store. As I said, I paid a lot more than what the horn asked in the link that I posted. When I saw it, I thought there must be a reason why it was offered so cheap (fake, theft....). It would have even been cheap for a relacquer, and it doesn't look like one. You will see there is no difference between the engraving in the floral pattern, the landscape scenery and the logo, text and serial number; no filling in of lacquer. If someone relacquered and re-engraved it, he went a long long way....
 

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It is a big turnover...some guys change horns like underwear....maybe more :)

A great horn like that can move around a lot. Its not hard to imagine a few guys convinced that they want a very vintage Selmer.. They have the cash but no idea of how idiosyncratic they can be...the horn arrives and the guy, used to a modern horn, struggles to play it in tune. Back on the market it goes.

Or maybe they just saw green and tried to flip for profit.
 

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frankly speaking it looks more than kosher to me and at a price that even a relaquer would be very good.

Why has this gone through so many hands? Maybe because it looks so nice.

Assuming that it plays as it should, it can be rather intimidating to play a horn like this, forever scared you dent it or scratch it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
At 67, I care more about my own scratches and dents....at least I know I'm not relacquered. The story is that I did not look for a collector's horn (as with my other Selmers). Things somehow developped. Thanks for your comments, guys. This is what the BA sounds like with an Otto Link NY Double Ring 5*, Woodstone 3 reed and Olegature lig:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fwrs27b5eqoba35/ba master fx#02.mp3?dl=0

I'm happy to have it and will love playing it.
 

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Selmer Balanced Action Tenor Saxophone, Powell Flute
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Obviously it's impossible to say without seeing in person, but I do believe this to be a very good re-lacquer. It's super tough to tell with these BA's sometimes! It's a stunningly beautiful horn and was done well, but it doesn't look quite original. Everything else looks legit and congrats on a great horn!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I thought so, too, but I can't detect anything that looks like a re-lacquer. Usually it's the transition from stems, soldered parts to the body and the different sharpness between engraved floral patterns and letters or numbers.
 

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and the engraving and punch stamping too... look fresh and crisp, any relaquer will fill those and they would need painstaking recutting and reworking (with all the possibility of a slip) that would be very very expensive and difficult to do (as Jason Dumars or any other professional engraver...). The engraving is very intricate too.



 

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I suspect that many of the various sale ads for this horn were scam ads where the perpetrator 'stole' the legitimate photos for their nefarious purpose...

PS: This horn looks great...I own and play a 1941 BA Tenor Sax...
 

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...great sound in combination with the DR5*...you've got there a great horn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for your nice compliment, Saxbrain, and thanks to everyone who took the time to watch the pics, listen to the sound and comment.

I have been playing this BA exclusively for four days, and I have used good sunlight to inspect it meticulously again and again. I have talked to the guy who set it up in his shop before I got it. He is an experienced Selmer guy, and none of us has been able to detect ANY trace this horn was re-lacquered. As Milandro pointed out, a re-lacquer will show different sharpness in engraving of floral patterns and letters/numbers. There is no filling whatsoever.
In the end, I will have to live with the sad verdict that this is original lacquer.... (irony intended).
If horns could tell their history, I would listen to this one with ears wide open.
This BA is one of the horn everyone will want to have and will have doubts about at the same time. It can't be helped. I thought myself "too good to be true", so I started this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I read that the engraving of letters and numbers was done before the horn was shipped to the US and the engraving of floral patterns etc was done after lacquering the instrument at Elkhart which means corrosion was more likely to appear in the floral patterns than in the letters and numbers. I took another look at my BA today and found this confirmed in some places. The floral engraving shows some trait of corrosion (at the bottom of the photograph) whereas the engraving in the second photograph doesn't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm slowly getting to learn the BA better day by day. Intonation is of course a topic with a horn that tends to be sharp in the low end. I found that it reacts very well to different mouthpieces but seems to prefer its contemporaries. In case you're interested, I'll add some links to more mouthpieces on the horn. Reed is always a Woodstone 3. In a chronological order:

Otto Link Tonemaster 5 (0.100 by Brian Powell); original ligature with "Otto Link" on the screw

https://www.dropbox.com/s/l3h364zp74vvzu8/ba tone master#02.mp3?dl=0

Francois Louis sterling silver with original slide-on ligature

https://www.dropbox.com/s/85fuz01mzcdm19z/ba fl fx master#01.mp3?dl=0

Ted Klum Focustone sterling silver 0.105 with Olegature ligature

https://www.dropbox.com/s/yp2830rwy7z9wm3/ba klum master#03.mp3?dl=0

Friends in Germany have told me I blow more freely and consistently on my "workhorse", a 1956 Mark 6 (Paris). Of course I'm very familiar with that horn, but the BA has a sort of elegance and partials that make it very special to me. For a comparison, this is the Mark 6 with my "everyday mouthpiece", an Otto Link NY Double Ring 5* from the early 50s:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6dpntprzlgyrni7/mark 6 dr 5*#02.mp3?dl=0

I wonder what it will sound like with a Master Link or Four Star. I have never owned nor played one, but would love to...

Finally, this is not about music but about sound-comparison. So please be forbearing with my obvious weak spots (intonation, air-flow and many more...). Thanks.
 

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Heiner, it is definitely a relacquer, but just a very good one. Especially with engraved horns and US market horns even moreso, the main issue when looking at the engraving is that for an original the depth and sharpness of the engraving must be 100% consistent throughout the entire horn.

Us market horns has a thin topcoat of lacquer over the engraving, which was cut through the many layers below. This thin topcoat of lacquer will mean that brass will not be showing through. This is often a dead giveaway for horns that have been re-engraved because they are all cut straight through to the brass. Of course over time lac wears away revealing the brass in the engraved channels but this is visually quite different from having it cut straight through all the layers.

Original US engraved horns will have 100% consistency of depth and sharpness, specially because they WERE NOT Buffed after engraving. They were sharp and then a thin topcoat applied over. That topcoat was not thick enough to blurr or soften any engraving contours. When you see sharp engraving on the bell and then softened lines on the bow as we have in your example that is clear evidence of a refinish. Some areas of the horn were buffed less than others, but for an original none should be buffed.

This is clearly a very well done job such that it likely makes zero impact on the horn as a player, but it has been done. Very nice looking BA.
 
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