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Once upon a time you could tell what year a Yanagisawa was made from the first three digits of the serial number (the first being 0). If that was still true by 1987, you would have part of your answer.
But it seems that somewhere along the way they took the same approach as Yamaha ie. Make it as difficult as possible for secondhand ones to be aged from their serial number. Add in engraved random stencil names and removing all reference to Model numbers, then you have it: Only Sax geeks (such as some who may respond below) can be counted on to sort out whether it has "crappy hinged low B and B flat" (to quote an earlier thread) etc. in order to narrow down the possibilities. Good luck...
 

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In fact, Yanagisawa has done closer to the opposite. They abandoned their original serial number system (which generated coded numbers in the millions, as the horn in this thread illustrates) in favor of simple, sequential numbering system that applies to all their horns across the board. This system has been in place for 30+ years now, so it covers most of their top-flight instruments. Whether your sax is 150,xxx, 250,xxx, or 350,xxx, you can pretty easily estimate its year of manufacture from a serial number table available online. (If the table doesn't go far enough, just extrapolate.)
Aah, thanks for the correction. Then if too many serial number digits were being generated during the seventies (before the 800 series), then might it be fair to say that it became the first 4 digits that denoted the year (ie. 1977 in this case)? [Or maybe it had always been the third and fourth digits?] Cheers...
 
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