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Found a Conn C melody at a local antique store originally caught my eye because my son wants to play sax in school. I quickly realized that this would not fill that purpose, but I am curious if it is worth resurrecting and selling to put towards a student sax for him. Looking at ebay it looks like there my be enough value in it, they are asking $100 but I think I could bargain them down. Just seems sad to leave it like it is, but that is just my love for fixing old stuff. Difference is I would have to have someone do the work on this. I guess the main question would be what is the value if it were overhauled. Overall it looks in decent condition, with the exception of the octave key saddle needing re-soldered. Here are some pictures. There is a picture of the serial number and patent date. Thank in advance for the info.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/RrX33hkM4WkALXwJ6
 

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The value when overhauled would be close to the amount of money you have to spend for the overhaul. So buy it if you want a C Melody, but don't try to make money with it unless you are able to do the overhaul yourself.
 

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asking $100 but I think I could bargain them down.
It looks like its been repadded at some point. I think the serial number puts it in the later builds which is good. Bargain them down, and count on $500 for a rebuild, but you might only need a couple hundred dollars of a tuneup from a good tech. Maybe think about having the tech clean and polish it, those era Conn's look great cleaned up.
 

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just leave it alone and focus on an instrument for your child,a yamaha yas-23 are good ones for starters.
C-melody's are obsolete and theres no money to be made on them.
 

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just leave it alone and focus on an instrument for your child,a yamaha yas-23 are good ones for starters.
C-melody's are obsolete and theres no money to be made on them.
Agree on the Yamaha, as long as its in good condition. On the C melody, that sounds like advice suitable for yourself. For those who are interested in owning and playing a C Melody, I've found its preferable to seek advice from those who are knowledgeable and experienced with them. Also, not only are C melodies not profitable, no saxophones are very profitable, so don't think you're going to flip saxophones, lol. Saxes are for players, not traders.

C Melodies are going thru a renaissance or sorts. Rebuild candidates have gone up quite a bit in $$ in the last couple years. I'm helping a song writer look for a good candidate, and its taking more shopping than I thought. My target has always been to find a clean example complete with a clean case for $200 or so, and put $550 or so in it, so I have a fresh presentable horn for $800 or so - but I guess I'll have to revise those targets up. Having a classic Buescher or Conn is a joy to own and play - especially once you match a mouthpiece that pops out the low and high register easily, with good intonation.
 

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If it needs work, there's not much profit in flipping it. If you just want a C-mel to play with, I think the ones with the alto-style necks are better than the ones with the tenor-style necks. (I have one of each.)
 

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... C Melodies are going thru a renaissance or sorts. Rebuild candidates have gone up quite a bit in $$ in the last couple years. ...
From my casual shopping, I've noticed this, too. A couple years ago you could find plenty of c-mels on ebay for say, $100-150, but now it seems they start at double that. That's a huge jump for a commodity horn that typically needs work. Quite a few are advertised as being refurbished and playable, and those are $500-600, and higher.

I don't have a c-mel, just looking.
 

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This "C Melody" is a Conn New Wonder Series I C-tenor made in 1922.

Aesthetically, they are beautiful horns and well worth rebuilding. Musically, they have a tone all of their own, neither Bb tenor sax nor Eb alto sax, and are great fun to play, even though their use in modern music is limited. I have one of these: mine dates from 1923. I bought it as a wreck and had it completely refurbished. It's a great instrument but I didn't get it to flip it: I got it to keep.

Commercially, no matter what you get one for, even if you're given it for free, unless you do the work personally, the cost of the refurbishment will exceed the price you will get for it if you sell it. As a money-spinner, they're a complete waste of time. Unless you want one of these for yourself, save your hard-earned and, as livingthedream advised, get your son a Yamaha YAS-23 or YTS-23.
 

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That sax has had a fair amount of use. Conn had good silver plating and there is a lot missing on the keys. Strap ring also shows a fair amount of wear. If someone is willing to invest on the repairs it is a worthy instrument to keep. Excellent for the holidays.
 

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Commercially, no matter what you get one for, even if you're given it for free, unless you do the work personally, the cost of the refurbishment will exceed the price you will get for it if you sell it.
Not any more than any of the peer horns in different keys. Bueschers for instance appear to bring close to the same amount as their True Tone peers. As has been pointed out numerous times, folks have discovered they aren't inferior after all, and now buying them, moving the prices up. They serve a purpose, the exact same purpose they did 100 years ago.
 

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I was on a tour of Nebraska with the Air Force Band in 1984 and found one of these in an antique store. It was $40, they came down to $32 for me. I played Stars and Stripes with the piccolos that day and it's been in the case ever since. Honestly, I kind of figured I'd make it into a lamp someday, but I've never had the heart to do it. C Melody's have never been worth much to my knowledge, and I myself have never actually seen anyone playing one, except for me that day, and I'm lucky I wasn't written up! First shirt was not happy about it.

I went up to the attic today and pulled it out for some reason, polished it up a bit with a jeweler's cloth. Seems identical to the OP, serial lookup shows it's from 1921. There was a scrap of paper inside that said Earl Van Metre, Clemons IA, and a quick google found that Earl had been born there in 1901 in Bromley Iowa, less than a half mile from Clemons -- there's actually no town there today at all, just farmland. With the size of the family over several generations, there were lots of Van Metres, they were certainly farmers, and I imagine that ol' Earl would have played polkas with his sax. It doesn't really look like it was played much at all though. There's a reed sleeve for Smith Music, specialists in Conn Instruments, in nearby Marshalltown, now defunct.

To find out something about it I come looking here, and voila, here's this thread. Awesome!



View attachment 217394 View attachment 217396 View attachment 217398 View attachment 217402 View attachment 217404
 

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Tell you what, being the nice guy I am and all, I'll double your investment, give you $64 for the horn, heck, let's round it off to $65, help you free up some valuable attic space .

Kidding aside, the horn looks to be in really good shape, I'm glad you didn't turn it into a lamp, even if it is "only" a C-mel!

Kenneth
 

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It doesn't really look like it was played much at all though.

To find out something about it I come looking here, and voila, here's this thread. Awesome!
Nice one you have there. About year older than one I have and similar in condition. Unlike the OP here many show only light usage. Many threads on C Melody’s and Conn New Wonder C’s. Glad you didn’t make it a lamp. Good for playing “Charlie Brown Christmas “.
 

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Charlie Brown Christmas, like Christmas Time Is Here? I always haul that out for the holidays, usually on curved soprano.

I texted my son 'how much to overhaul my C melody?', he's a horn tech; I asked him once a few years ago and he was like 'meh'. If it's only a few hundred maybe I'll spill for it and see what Earl liked about his horn. I'd probably go for opening up the keys as much as feasible and putting in resos. What do you think? I obviously know nothing about playing C melody. Don't have a proper mouthpiece for it.
 

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I think that if I owned your Conn C-mel and did an overhaul on it, that I'd install some sort of reflectors/resonators with the new pads. My Buescher C-Mel has resos on it that I had installed when I had it overhauled years ago.

Do they matter? Hard to tell since the horn wasn't playable when I got it. But I played an old Conn alto several years ago that was done without resonators and the thing was MILD, although it played well - just no punch at all. Even the trumpet player in our band remarked about the horn's lack of any punch (and I had my nice Buescher Big B alto on the gig that day, so we had a side-by-side comparison in the ensemble).

The whole issue of resonators vs. no-resonators vs. what style of resonators has been beaten to death on SOTW. That is just my opinion. DAVE
 

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Charlie Brown Christmas, like Christmas Time Is Here? I always haul that out for the holidays, usually on curved soprano.

I texted my son 'how much to overhaul my C melody?', he's a horn tech; I asked him once a few years ago and he was like 'meh'. If it's only a few hundred maybe I'll spill for it and see what Earl liked about his horn. I'd probably go for opening up the keys as much as feasible and putting in resos. What do you think? I obviously know nothing about playing C melody. Don't have a proper mouthpiece for it.
Yeah that Charlie Brown. Can’t recommend a mouthpiece. I play on the ( original? ) one it came with,threads around on that too.
On the pads. Need to repad my unit as well but it still plays on time period riveted pads. To make it bark a little louder it has been recommended to use tan pads and flat metal resonators from Music Medic($56). This by several of the old guard here on sotw. Personally I’ll most likely go with OE riveted pads. I have no reason to make a C loud. After all they were intended to be played in home. A quiet family gathering environment.
 

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There is only a slight difference in market value for a C melody saxophone needing an overhaul and one that's had one. They're both practically worthless, with maybe the overhauled one being $50-$100 more in value. The only ones of any value are the gold plated ones with artist/portrait engraving.
 

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Prices vary from $100-$1200 with very few of them restored, but restored ones asking the most. Course that doesn't mean that's what they actually sell for. Interesting that there are a bunch of brand new C Melodies on eBay, I presume made in China, for around $750.

It doesn't seem to me that C's are good for resale except at places like antique stores. Trades maybe, but more likely fix it up if you want to play it. Meanwhile my son hasn't replied about overhaul, which I presume to be a continued 'meh' response.
 
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