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Hello,
I'm looking for a little help on what to do with this saxophone I found among my father's things after he died. To my knowledge, he never played the sax, and neither do I.

It's an Indiana by Martin.

Serial number is 47762, which if I'm reading the internet right means it was made in 1924.
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I'm no expert, but I don't think it's in playable condition. There's a dent, a soldered bit is loose, and one of the ... things... doesn't close after you remove your finger from the ... thing. (I know so much about saxophones!)
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Also, the case has an intensely musty smell that spraying alternately with vinegar, vodka, and fabreeze didn't cure.

So, what should I do with this sax? As far as I'm concerned, it's something pretty to hang on a wall. Is it the kind of sax I'd be slapped for doing that with? I can't imagine it would be cheap to repair, but maybe it's worth it.

Whatever advice you have, I will welcome. Thanks!
 

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Well, for sure that poor sax needs a lot of work. I’d put it up for sale on Craigslist for $100 as a parts horn and see if anyone bites. It seems to be a good project for an aspiring repair person. It is, after all, repairable. The serial number for this Martin Indiana indicates it was manufactured in 1953.
 

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It's a "student" horn of reasonable quality.

First question, is the neck there (the L shaped separate piece)? That will totally drive sales value. With it, you have a horn that needs some work to be playable; without it you have a collection of parts.

Let's assume the neck is there. Most likely, it needs to be completely disassembled, all the pads replaced, and seriously cleaned up, lubricated, and adjusted, plus a few minor repairs like the solder joint. It's possible but not very likely that it needs much more serious work. The few defects you show aren't very serious - the little dent, the part that came unsoldered. But the pads are all toast and I expect the oil in the mechanism has turned to tar.

If someone were to do that, they would have a good playable horn. If this was made in 1955, the pictures look like my Martin professional sax from the mid 30s. The pro Martins from the mid 50s had been redesigned, so they used tooling and designs of the older designs for their student line, possibly with a little cost reduction here and there, for the student horns.

However, unfortunately, even though it probably plays just about exactly like the professional-line Martin of 1935, it will not fetch much money. Off hand I would say one of these in playing condition (which yours isn't, from the description) might bring $400 (I recently bought the pro-model equivalent of this horn, in playing condition, but not freshly serviced, and I think I paid $400.). If it had just had a full re-padding and adjustment, maybe $5-600. The problem is that if one were to pay for the needed work, it could easily come to $300-500. So if you sell it as is, a buyer needs to get it for $100 or so in order not to lose money on the deal. And if you yourself have it repaired, you still probably won't make money on the deal.

So, back to the question of what to do with the saxophone you found, as a non player, and which has no sentimental value to you.

1) Hang it on the wall, but for chrissakes don't do something crazy like drilling holes through it. use some copper wire and atttach it to its mounting that way. Don't permanently ruin something just because you don't have a need for it.

or

2) Put it up on Craigslist or Ebay. Keep the smelly case and use it for shipping, wrapping the horn well in bubble wrap, etc - there are probably threads on this forum that discuss packing for shipment.

Definitely, unless you plan to play it, don't spend a dime on it.

If I came across this, I would fix it up myself to play, because I have all the tools and skills to do so and I'd only be into it for $50 or so for parts. Except that I already have two alto saxes, one of which is this one's older brother. That's who will probably buy it. Someone that can do the repairs and make it playable for their own use. Or maybe they would donate their time, the parts and the horn to some kind of "instruments for poor kids" program, after making it playable. You won't be able to donate it to something like that, because it's not in playing condition.
 

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Turf3 is spot on, although I think his values are a little off on the work needed (depends on where you live in the country, too).

Horn needs $500-$800 worth of work or more, and isn't worth that much. Needs all new pads, corks, felts, resolder work, tons of mechanism work, dent work, and that eats up a lot of hours.

Use it as decoration or donate it to a technician who might restore it and donate to a needy student or maybe a band program that has a repair budget and might be willing to get it restored.

- Saxaholic
 

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How old was your father in 1953 ? In your lifetime up until now had you ever seen this horn? The condition says it has seen battle. Could be you father played back in the day and never told the story. Any relatives you can ask ? Family history might make for a fun wall artifact. Care not to keep this. The value, gift it to someone young and close to you who will us this. A smile is good payment.
 
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