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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi
Just recently acquired a Conn 6m without any serial number or patent marks. Would anyone have an idea as to why? Im surmising its a post 48 model having no tone holes or micro tuner tho it does have a swivel thumb rest often seen on the earlier transitional models. Its in remarkably good condition and plays great!
All comments gratefully received.
 

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There's a high likelihood that it's stolen property at some time in its history and the receiver or thief removed the tracking numbers .

If it was mine I would have to
convince myself that it was a sample or prototype or even perhaps a homer knocked together at home by a Conn apprentice trousering a different part at the end of each shift.

Anyway it's a nice example. Perhaps @milandro or one of the historians will have more to say in the matter.
 

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well, this horn has more wrong things.

the “ lady” is obviously strange , i think this was buffed so heavily that the lady and the serial number disappeared , it was absolutely relaqued at some point.

The lack of a visible serial number would make the sale certainly illegal in some American States
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I had thought the same but the lacquer appears to be original. To remove the serial numbers would have reduced the thickness of the metal considerably, there are no signs of stress to the metal. It is also marked 'La Fleur London'
 

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the lacquer is certainly not original since conns were engraved after lacquering . Removing serial number is not unheard of while it is unheard of an instrument conn engraved (even if it was also engraved la fleur) without any serial number . It would have made production complicated to trach and horns are engraved with a SN prior te sales

this was certainly made for the british market since it has no microtuner ( which would have been there at the time for every other market)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well that is very interesting! So any engraving would be cut thru the lacquer. Good to know.
Would swivel thumb rests be a feature on these models?
 

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some had swivel thumbrest but probably not this late but that too may have been a special British market feature.

In order to reveal the presence of the SN some forensic techniques may be used but I am not sure that you want to go throgh the fuss, as I said it may be illegal to sell and to own an object that has a removed serial number.

this is a link to a pdf (it’s a large takes a few minutes to visualize, you can download it)

 

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this is a Swivel thumbrest on a body showing a similar lady



106593
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106595
 

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the “ lady” is obviously strange ,
I agree. There have been many many iterations of the lady. Different hair, eyes, nose, happy, sad, angry, enigmatic, plus different engraving techniques. But always the common feature is that she is naked. But, to not put too fine a point on it, the defining feature of her nakedness is the breasts - and this is where it looks totally wrong to me. Artists through the ages have appreciated the female form, especially in this department - but these don't look at all like they should size, shape angle etc and it actually looks like they are just a shape under clothing (maybe a very prudish engraver?).

perhaps a homer knocked together at home by a Conn apprentice trousering a different part at the end of each shift.
Interesting idea (though not literally trousering, I can't imaging leaving the factory with a body tube or bell end down your trousers).

But wild speculation can be fun. Thing is (and someone correct me) I would assume the stamping is done before lacquering and the engraving done after. So supposing the body tube was stolen before stamping - they would then have to lacquer it it at home and do the engraving (which does look amateurish) and if so why put La Fleur, London on it?

Maybe this dodgy worker spotted one that had missed being stamped and decided to trouser that one - this seems more plausible.

But then we'd have to wonder how it somehow found its way to the UK. In the above scenario it would not have been in a regular export shipment. So my money is on it being stolen after regular import to the UK, serial number removed and relacquered to hide that fact.
 

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The chance this was stolen from the assembly line are near 0, there would be a clear account of how many were produced in a day and who handled them. Conn ws a highly organized and mechanized production.

The British connection may explain also the less than revealing lady

there are many showing not even a little bit of cleavage

106596
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the stare and the straight mouth of OP’s lady ( same as the one in my post above from another thread on SOTW) is the least appealing feature though and to me positively ugly look

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A puzzle, this horn.

Looks like a Tranny with that swivel thumbrest and pinky cluster arrangement, but no RTH. Neck is regular underslung without the microtuner, so not New York style. Clearly relacquered.

Naked Lady engraving: I've seen better, I've seen worse. I've seen her with closed eyes, staring eyes (kinda like the OP's), etc. FWIW, the earliest horn I've seen with the NL had serial 250XXX, although I've also seen later horns (253XXX) with the art deco engraving, reasons why I'll leave to others more knowledgeable.

No serial number is a giant red flag, sorry to say.

So what should one do if it actually is a stolen horn?

Kenneth
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think removing an SN would leave some indentation as you'd have to take out a lot of metal.... And there is no sign of such. Also, the sax is in remarkable condition, tho the engraving appears weak it has been cut thru the lacquer. Also all the pearls are hardly worn and the rods are tight. I'm wondering if it has been in storage for a long while. Someone had mentioned that it may have been a sample sax for La Fleur prior to ordering. Is that feasable? Thank you for the photo Milandro.
 

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we’ve seen removed sn before which had shown no signs.

One can let fantasy at large but I don't hink that Conn would have produced a saxophone without serial number as a sample. Why would they? If they didn’t mean it to be identifiable as conn there would have been no large Conn engraving?

In my experience and opinion most people claiming they have a prototype or things like that don’t. The most probable thing is that it was removed , improbable things , without any documentation, are really speculative and won’t sway, one way tp the other neither the value nor the appeal of this horn.

The fact that it has no serial number makes it suspicious, some people will be deterred from buying it.
 

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My 10m also bears the 'La Fleur' marking, which is the name of the UK dealer that originally sold it. Or at least this is what some googling 10 years ago told me.
 

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So what should one do if it actually is a stolen horn?
If you believe it is stolen I would think the best thing is to inform the police. I think zero chance they will do anything, because they will assume the serial number was removed many many years ago. There were some big thefts of saxophones recently from sax.co.uk and those (plus their serial numbers) you would hope are on the police database. But that's a different thing to a one off theft from probably over 50 years ago.

If it was me and I'd bought it without knowing the serial number was removed (e.g. from Ebay) then I would ask for my money back and return it. It has a much lower value, possibly uninsurable. I don't know if it is against the law in the UK (but I believe it is in many jurisdictions)
 

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My 10m also bears the 'La Fleur' marking, which is the name of the UK dealer that originally sold it. Or at least this is what some googling 10 years ago told me.

La fleur was not the importer but one of the “ brands” used by Boosey & Hawkes which imported many different brands and was not the official UK Conn importer





“...R LaFleur & Son were an instrument maker founded in London in 1862 who were acquired by Boosey & Co in 1917. Boosey merged with Riviere & Hawkes in 1930 to become Boosey & Hawkes. LaFleur was maintained as a separate company until the 1930's. Then the brand name was "retired".

Sometime in the 1960's Boosey & Hawkes had the opportunity to buy in budget priced instruments from Eastern Europe - mainly from VMI of the GDR (East Germany) and later Amati of Czechoslovakia.

VMI was based in Markneukirchen and is now known as B&S. This was a collective of factories under communist control making all sorts of brass and woodwind instruments. The people making them were German Speaking Czechs from the Sudetenland who had fled the Russian occupation which happened at the end of the second world war. After they left, the Czech authorities re-established production in collectivised factories using the old names (Amati and Cerveny).

By the 60s, VMI in Markneukirchen was manufacturing student level instruments under the "Weltklang" brand (German for "world sound"). Boosey and Hawkes thought this sounded too Germanic and the word "klang" would make people think they sounded bad so they had them engraved as "La Fleur by Boosey & Hawkes". The same instruments were also imported by Barnes & Mullins Ltd and branded as "B&M Champion". I saw these for sale in an Edinburgh music shop as late as 1994, which must have been old stock. The same instruments were also sold under the Weltklang name by people importing them directly or who had obtained them from bands visiting East Germany who were often part-paid in instruments they could then sell on (Kenny Ball had this arrangement with the East German authorities and mentions it in his autobiography).

From the 70's through to the 90's Boosey & Hawkes moved to obtaining instruments from Amati in Czechoslovakia. Some of them have "LaFleur" engraved on them, but most say "Corton". Then in the 90's Boosey & Hawkes started calling these instruments "Boosey & Hawkes 400 Series". To confuse matters, some of the 400 series instruments were actually made in the USA.

By the late 90's Eastern Europe had collapsed and there was no more subsidised production to earn foreign currency. Boosey & Hawkes decided to establish their own factory in India using tooling from some of their previous ranges of British made instruments. Indian production of the 1000 series trumpet and cornet replaced the previous East European models.

As to quality, well these are sturdily built instruments. Generally the intonation on the trumpets, cornets and flugels are OK. They are as good as the current cheap Chinese ones, and in some ways better as they are more easily repairable and the sturdier construction makes serious damage less likely. It is a question of trying out an instrument and seeing if they are any good. The cheapest trumpet I ever bought was one that turned out to be a Weltklang stencil which I bought recently for £23. It turned out to be OK (video)...."
 

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@milandro - I think you'll find it was both!

See below the Lafleur stamp on a Conn. It seems to suggest that they were importing these instruments or selling them or distributing them or something. I don't think it means the same as it does on the B&H horns labelled Corton or LaFleur or various other names.

Also:
If it were B&H, it would say so plus the LaFleur name. Dave has this spot on (as he usually does).

The J A La Fleur shop in London is where Sidnet Bechet bought his first soprano, hence the significance of the name.
The plot thickens! :)
 

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As Milandro says, LaFleur was the brand name used by Hawkes, and then by Boosey and Hawkes for foreign-made stencils and imports. I think this rules out the "made by apprentice" theory. B&H used the name later for East German stencils, but that has nothing to do with this Conn. My guess is that it was not given a serial number by Conn because B&H wanted to use their own serial number, and then for some reason this didn't get stamped onto the horn.
 

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B&H other others didn’t have their own serial number , I have had Buescher made , Emperor ( tenor and baritone) by Boosey and Hawkes and they had Buescher sn
 

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The fact that it has straight tone holes is also because it is imported by lafleur. Most UK sold Conns I've seen has had straight toneholes.

You should be able to feel some sort of slope, somewhere near the place where the serialnumber is supposed to have been. I'd be surprised if someone removed the number with no trace. Oh, wait. I just measured the depth of the serialnumber and I've just changed my mind. I'm glad I didn't post this before i measured. You can certainly remove the serialnumber carefully and leave no obvious traces from this, if you also relacquer. The stamp is VERY shallow. More shallow than it looks.
 
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