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Hello All! I am Kuya Earl I am new to this forum and I would like to know if anybody can tell me what is the model of this serial number? I know it is a Conn N142877 I have always wanted to learn how to play and I am looking to buy a good used one rather than buy a brand new piece of junk. Thank you for the help.
 

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It is a Mexican made horn. They are not bad, but not as well built many times, and iffy. You can find them that play extremely well or some dogs, but I guess thats any horn. I recommend you checking on here. You will most likely find a much better deal than what many refer to as a Mexi-Conn. I personally would say go with aa Chu Berry..which is M150000-M220000 (serial number range) or somewhere in there. They are almost always great players and can be had for a small amount of money....not always a good looker but close you eyes (the old paper bag trick) and they will chance your idea about vintage Conns.
 

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Hello All! I am Kuya Earl I am new to this forum and I would like to know if anybody can tell me what is the model of this serial number? I know it is a Conn N142877 I have always wanted to learn how to play and I am looking to buy a good used one rather than buy a brand new piece of junk. Thank you for the help.
Well, it may or not be a "Mexiconn." Its a 1970 built in one of the Nogales plants - either Arizona at the Art Best Plant, or in Mexico. Conn moved its mfg to Nogales in 1960. Some horns were Conn USA up to about 1970. I had one. A CONN USA tenor, s/n N14xxxx. Mexiconn's do not have CONN USA stamped on the bell. There's "Mexico" stamped near the thumbrest on the Mexiconns. The "N" serials were 1970's. Some USA, some not.

They're o.k. horns - they're actually Director models called Shooting Stars. In decent shape they're about a $250 - $300 horn. In excellent, rebuilt, tech adjusted they go for as high as $600. Still a student horn but not bad. Mine was in lousy shape and I didn't want to spend $300 - $350 for some pads, adjustments and a couple dent removals so I sold it for small $$. If there's one in great shape for about $250 - $300 its o.k. Get a note to jayeSF here on these pages if you're looking for a reasonably priced used horn. He goes through them and he has a money back guarantee. Can't do better than that on a used horn.
 

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I have one of those tenors. A Mexican (N-number) made shooting stars and I like it very much. I got it for only about $100, sturdy case, no horn damage, but had to put an extra $100 in it above the repad to take some of the play out of the rods. I cannot complain about the result. Nice big sound, stays in regulation, good action, likes all mouthpieces.
 

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It will be marked MEXICO if it was made in that country. Otherwise, it is a Nogales AZ made student "DIRECTOR" model sax.

This first timer thread was posted in the entirely wrong sub forum (Marketplace Rules Forum), so I have moved it to the correct "Conn" sub forum.
 

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If it is set up to play up and down, then it is going to be a solid horn to start on and play for quite a long time. If the seller guarantees it plays up and down and doesn't need work (or if you can bring along a person who plays to test it out), and the body doesn't have any significant damage (besides lacquer wear and maybe some small dings), then one in playing shape is worth about $300-350usd if Alto....$500 if Tenor.

I am currently selling a nice "N" Conn Director Tenor for $475 shipped domestically. No issues at all.

I generally like these horns...I think they get a bad rap, although as more people own them, that reputation is changing. They can be FAR better than most new horns which sell for 2x/3x the cost.

However...MANY times you see them when they have not been treated so well, so they have a fair amount of work needed to be done on them. In that case, an Alto can be had for around $100-150, and a Tenor for around $175-225.
 

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N142877 would have been made in late 1980 (not 1970), and if the sax is an alto then it's the then-just-introduced 18M (presumably, I've never seen a model number on the early ones but later ones with 18M engraved on them seem to be identical). If it's a tenor then it's a 16M, which seems to be the old 1950s Director design with Vito keywork.
 

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N142877 would have been made in late 1980 (not 1970), and if the sax is an alto then it's the then-just-introduced 18M (presumably, I've never seen a model number on the early ones but later ones with 18M engraved on them seem to be identical). If it's a tenor then it's a 16M, which seems to be the old 1950s Director design with Vito keywork.
Hmmm - well, take a look at this, just one of many S/N sites . . . http://www.musictrader.com/conn.html. Virtually every Conn serial number site reports the same info. Built in either Nogales AZ or Nogales Mexico. The N series Nogales Conn saxophones clearly, were made in the 70's. The Conn USA, tenor Director, "Shooting Stars I had was made there. I wonder where you got the "made in 1980" info? As far as I was able to determine, from all the lists and from Conn-Selmer, the "N" serial numbers were on 1970 horns. There is no debate other than whether its CONN USA, or CONN stamped Mexico.
 

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Woodwind and brasswind serials were separated in 1970. Take a look here: http://www.conn-selmer.com/content/resources/serialno.php#saxophones1976 Those serials are supposed to have an "N" prefix but it's not shown there or on any other chart I've seen.

I've seen "N" serials up into the 270000s and it's impossible that Conn built that many horns in a single year, and I have never seen a P, R, GA, or HA prefix on a saxophone. Putting an "N" in front of the serials on the "Saxophones 1976-present" chart makes everything come together perfectly.
 

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Woodwind and brasswind serials were separated in 1970. Take a look here: http://www.conn-selmer.com/content/resources/serialno.php#saxophones1976 Those serials are supposed to have an "N" prefix but it's not shown there or on any other chart I've seen.

I've seen "N" serials up into the 270000s and it's impossible that Conn built that many horns in a single year, and I have never seen a P, R, GA, or HA prefix on a saxophone. Putting an "N" in front of the serials on the "Saxophones 1976-present" chart makes everything come together perfectly.
But geez, here what's on the site you post - Conn Cup Mouthpiece and Reed Mouthpiece Instruments 1957 - 1972. My italics. The Conn-Selmer site shows "N" serial number ". . . cup (brass) AND reed mouthpiece instruments" as 1970 builds. Seems pretty clear to me. Moderator SaxismyAxe and just about everyone else on this site agree. "Nxxxxxx" Conn saxophones were built in the '70's in either Nogales AZ or Mexico. There's absolutely no doubt about it.
 

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Fine. Believe whatever you want. If you really think that Conn built 273,000 instruments and went from the 14M to the 18M to the 20M all in the span of 12 months and then didn't build saxes at all between 1971 and 1987 then more power to you. I don't know why information scraped together probably decades ago on an era nobody cared about anyway is considered gospel, but whatever. I've done my research and I've come to the only reasonable conclusion I can find. Sorry if trying to give people more accurate information about their instruments is too damaging to the status quo.

For any open-minded people, here's the real serial number chart:

N0001-N83000 - 1970-1975
N83000-N89486 - 1976
N91314-N98992 - 1977
N98993-N111820 - 1978
N111821-N128691 - 1979
N128692-N145001 - 1980
N145002-N154753 - 1981
N154954-N170003 - 1982
N170004-N184336 - 1983
N184337-N201207 - 1984
N201208-N221243 - 1985
N221244-N240141 - 1986
N240142-N261465 - 1987
N262466-N273178 - 1988
38 11713 - 38 21881 - 1988
39 00001 - 1989
etc.
 

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That's interesting....would you clarify your sources ? (Not being a wise-guy, I am genuinely interested).

You see, you note the conn-selmer site yet even on the link you note, it reads that N prefix = '70.

I agree you make an interesting assertion. Here is one issue I have with it (playing Devil's Advocate): who says that the N serials began with numerical 0 ? I have never seen a N serial lower than 5 digits after the N. So, it wouldn't mean they built 273,000 saxes....if, for example, the N sequence began with, say...45,000. Just a thought off of the top of my head...

Another Q: you rib Flanster by suggesting that they built no horns between '71-87. That doesn't make much sense, nor is Flanster saying that...you are making a bit of a straw-man argument there. The conn-selmer site says a '71 is an P prefix, a '72 is an R prefix, then starting in '73 the prefixes were dropped.I guess what I am saying is that the site gives a pretty plausible explanation as to the serial numbers...this being the current 'mother company' (sheesh, how sad for the great Conn to have ended this way !) published info.

So what made you embark on your own research ? And how do you support the assertion ? Again, I find it interesting. It'd be great to hear more; because it really does contradict anything else available by the most other referenced sources.

Quite honestly, I do not deal w/anything younger than old 16M's and the occasional 7M....so the few 18 and 20M's I have had here (which weren't built by Conn anyway, although they had their name on it) I have mercifully put out of my mind; didn't even care to recall their serial #'s. So, I don't deal in things such as the 24 M or 25M or all of those models post-Mexico production.

I Suppose that'd be the clincher right there...are there any 18M/20M/24M/25M horns with N serial #'s ????? If so, then that'd be some great reinforcement of your assertion.

Because I know for certain those models didn't exist in '71....I have the '71 catalog.

Stocker..do you have (or have you recorded) such models which have N serial #'s ? Or can you direct me someplace ?

(I have a 16M at the tech coming back in a few days...it's an N serial, although I cannot recall the numerals. I do know it reads "Mexico". I am now curious to check out that serial again....)
 

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My source is just a lot of perusing eBay and recording what I find. I think what provoked looking into Conn in the first place was finding a couple Kings marked 613 or 615 that were obvious Conn stencils, but the fact that I saw an immense number of horns said to be from 1970 but none from any year past that got me thinking.

The lowest N serial I have recorded is N-14864, which is a 14M/50M hybrid (design-wise) alto. (I want to say I've seen one with only four digits after the N [as that's what I put down on the serial number chart I use] but I don't have one marked on the list.) The highest of that type is N122230. The lowest 18M I've seen is N1325xx, the highest is N237574. The lowest 20M I've seen is N2237xx, the highest is 42 41790 (from 1992 of course).

As far as the King-branded stencils go, I've seen them between N187xxx and N208xxx. Going off what I believe to be the correct chart for 1970-up Conn saxes, that first number is in early '84, which is just a few months after Dan Henkin bought King and around the time that the true King Cleveland design (the highest of which I've seen is 953968, an '84) disappears.

In all my searching I have never seen a Conn woodwind with the P or R from '71 and '72 or the GA/HA used from '73 to '87. I know that doesn't mean it's impossible for them to exist but given the rest of the evidence I've found I'm over 99% certain my conclusion is right.

(Another thing with the generally accepted Conn chart... does anyone else find it odd that they give the date for the merging of brass and woodwind serials as 1957, even though the same serial is given for 1955 and '56 in both lists and the woodwinds skip from 359000 to 500000 in 1955? Suppose they were actually combined in '55, not '57?)

I'm not trying to say everyone else is "wrong" per se, since based on the information that's historically been available saying N=1970 is right. It's understandable that nobody really looks into post-1969 Conn saxes. But, my interest was piqued and here I am. I starting digging and for every answer I found I got two more questions so I dug even further. Maybe in the grand scheme of vintage saxes it doesn't matter much but for someone owning a 20M, knowing that it was built in 1987 and not 1970 is probably of some value.

I'm sorry I got snarky with my last post. I suppose I could've posted my entire rationale for everything from the beginning but I didn't want to clutter up the thread with it if it wasn't necessary. I figured someone wanting more detail would've just asked for it. It seemed like Flaster was insinuating that I was just blowing smoke and if I read that wrong I apologize.

JayeSF, I could send you the entire list I've compiled so far if you're interested.
 

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No apologies necessary, thanks for posting. Heck, yes...please send me your stuff, if you wouldn't mind.

aranobilis at earthlink dot net

Indeed I have been boning up a bit myself and apparently the MacMillan years (starting in 1970) were a disaster on a number of levels...including ascertaining proper serial # sequences. I DO have to agree w/ you...I, too have NEVER seen a Conn sax with the prefix R or P (although again, a post '70 Conn generally isn't on my radar, so I wouldn't be looking for one). Hell, I'd love to see one, if they exist...

Since my last post I have also found 20M's listed with the N prefix; they all tend to be sitting around 145,XXX-270,XXX give or take. Problem with the 20M's and possibly the 18M's as well is that both of 'em are so disconnected from the Conn typology (both have specs which bear absolutely NO resemblance to any other Conn Alto) that they were probably subcontracted from another maker. Although I would tend to agree with you...reasonable thought would suggest NO factory could churn out 130,000 horns in one or even two years (?).

But we know that 6M's, 7M's, 10M's, 50M's, and 16M's all sport N serial #'s as well. I would love to know/find the 'high' and 'low' numbers of THOSE models (ignoring the 18/ 20M's for a moment)...because they all were, for sure, made at Conn plants. I am fried tonight...but I have three 7M's here and I am gonna let you know their serial #'s tomorrow...maybe they will be close to one another, maybe not. For sure they are all N-prefix.

I do not believe the 24 and 25M's ever had N prefixes.....Now, I am assuming these came into being when Henken bought the company and made his heroic (albeit short-lived) attempt to re-establish Conn as a great USA-maker once again (imagine that, a corporate head asserting the greatness of domestic production...right in the middle of the reagan years to boot !).

So, I dunno...do you think it fair to say that the N-sequence was discontinued after the Henken purchase in '80 ?

If I were a bettin' man...I'd say yes, the N's stopped in '80.

HERE'S A Q I ALWAYS WAS WONDERING ABOUT ~ Was any Conn Tenor besides the 16M in production say, from '75-85 ? Did the 10M even exist any longer after around '71-72 ??? If we could find a model that was, serial info from it would help....
 

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Funny you should ask about the 16M... there's one on eBay right now with a serial number of N238327: http://cgi.ebay.com/Conn-Tenor-Sax-Great-sound-Listen-video-/110678227381#ht_500wt_967

It has "CONN 16M" engraved on the bell in the same style as the 20M. Only one I've seen like this.

From what I see the "N" serials stopped in mid-1988, and they adopted Armstrong's prefix+50 system like the rest of UMI had. (They appear to have to restarted the next years at 39 00001 and 40 00001, after that it gets pretty squirrely.)

I agree, the 18M and 20M seem to be odd ducks and it wouldn't surprise me if Dan Henkin bought the design and/or tooling from someone else so Conn would have a modern alto sax to offer (I think by 1980 left-hand bell keys had disappeared almost everywhere else).

The first 21Ms show up in 1994, and at the same time King regained a saxophone with the 660 which was similar, if not identical.

As for the 24M, according to the July 1997 issue of Music Trades (sorry, I don't remember how I found it), UMI closed the Nogales plant for 6 months to retrain staff and retool for a new line of saxes. This must have been the 24M (and its King Empire 665 counterpart) and I guess 1998 would be the start date for those. These start at or around serial number 7100000. The 25M CONNtinental first came up on Conn's website in February 2000 and the earliest I've seen is 7126207 (based on threads I've seen on this forum from folks who've gotten production dates from Conn-Selmer, that'd be 2000 or 2001).

While on the subject, the prefix+50 system was dropped across the board after 1994. What replaced it were single-digit prefixes that either signified being woodwind or brass, or the plant they were made in. (I haven't looked into Armstrongs from this period, those would be the key to knowing.) Saxes have a "7", sometimes with a space before the rest of the serial and sometimes without, brasses have a "5" always with a space. I've seen a few saxes with a "9", not sure what those are but I'd bet they're the newest. Horns assembled in Eastlake or Elkhart with parts left over after they closed Nogales, maybe?
 

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The plot sorta thickens. (Kuya, sorry for the quasi-thread hijack. It still doesn't change the answer to your original Q: 16M's can oftentimes be very solid horns).

Stocker just sent me his list, and it's very interesting. I am gonna ask another member about a horn he rehabbed and sold, he claimed it to be an '80's 16M although the serial read N.....

Makes me wonder if in the '70's/80's Conn was running 2 different serial # sequences (?)
 

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The plot sorta thickens. (Kuya, sorry for the quasi-thread hijack. It still doesn't change the answer to your original Q: 16M's can oftentimes be very solid horns).

Stocker just sent me his list, and it's very interesting. I am gonna ask another member about a horn he rehabbed and sold, he claimed it to be an '80's 16M although the serial read N.....

Makes me wonder if in the '70's/80's Conn was running 2 different serial # sequences (?)
Hey JSF. This is fascinating stuff. You may recall the 16M Conn USA, N serial I had and the problems I had getting rid of it. I'm not trying to be a wise-guy. I don't know near as much about this stuff as most, but when virtually every list of S/N's, including Conn/Selmer's place the N series Directors in 1970, either AZ or Mexico, I have to wonder if Stocker's interpreting something that isn't there. Conn/Selmer responded to a phone call I made stating in most definite terms that the horn I had, the Nxxxx serial number "Shooting Stars" CONN USA was indeed built at the Art Best Factory in Nogales, AZ in 1970. I guess I choose to believe Conn.

BTW: I don't recall if I told you that my son manage to nab that '59 Zephyr I told you about during my quest for an alto for the grandson. $350.00 with a couple mpc's, case, strap, etc., etc. Good find for the kid. It needed 4 pads and a cleaning only.
 

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It's certainly reasonable to say that the N serials started in '70. I think it is a fair argument to wonder how the numbers could go so high in a single year, though. Also...the 18M and 20M models DO in fact carry N serial numbers, yet they appear nowhere in the 1970 or 1971 catalog. That is peculiar, too.

I still wouldn't disagree that the 16M and 50M's marked usa were built at Art Best. But apparently that facility kept in business well into the '70's, s did the MX one nearby....before Henken's laudable effort to bring ALL production back home in 1980....

This was an interesting thing I found thru the Loyalist site, probably a seldom-read page of it, actually. It comes from the Nat'l Instrument Muserum curator, so I would imagine it's pretty accurate. Some interesting things happened between the late 50's and mid-80's...the 70's (under the disastrous management of Macmillan Publishing Co.) appear to have been a complete nightmare of poor decisions and confusion:

http://people.usd.edu/~mbanks/CONTENT.html

I also note that a few of the sites with the serial # lists do mention that the #'s in the 70's become sorta murky and hard to confirm. It just makes one think....
 

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From what I see the "N" serials stopped in mid-1988, and they adopted Armstrong's prefix+50 system like the rest of UMI had. (They appear to have to restarted the next years at 39 00001 and 40 00001, after that it gets pretty squirrely.)

I agree, the 18M and 20M seem to be odd ducks and it wouldn't surprise me if Dan Henkin bought the design and/or tooling from someone else so Conn would have a modern alto sax to offer (I think by 1980 left-hand bell keys had disappeared almost everywhere else).

The first 21Ms show up in 1994, and at the same time King regained a saxophone with the 660 which was similar, if not identical.
Ya see...a quick look at eFlay shows there are some 21M's with 7-digit #'s, and some w/ 6-digit ones....so, that would make me think 21M's came onto the scene prior to '94, or even '88 for that matter.

Yet there is NO Conn Serial list which can explain the numbers on these 21M's (in the 700,000's). So, another gap in the info which not even the selmer-conn site can justify....

I suppose it's possible that Henken developed the 18/20M's...although I had always thought they came about in the '70's, and not 80's. If they didn't, then the only models Conn made all thru the 70's were the 6M and 50M. I say this because in the '71 catalog, there is no longer a 14M model....just a 50M.

Yet I have seen Mexico 14M's with relatively high N serial #'s....N123,XXX for example, on eBay right now....yet if the 14M was gone by '71, then this would suggest that in '70 the #'s went up that high...which would have been a production of about 110,000 Director models. This would be at two Nogales factories...MX and arizona. Does that strain credulity a bit (?)

Of course, the other possibility is that they just merged the 14M into the 50M, and stopped using the 14M moniker in 1970....

Indeedy, quite the mess....

I would really love to see a P or R prefix Conn sax...that would seriously help answer several questions.....
 

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Ya see...a quick look at eFlay shows there are some 21M's with 7-digit #'s, and some w/ 6-digit ones....so, that would make me think 21M's came onto the scene prior to '94, or even '88 for that matter.

Yet there is NO Conn Serial list which can explain the numbers on these 21M's (in the 700,000's). So, another gap in the info which not even the selmer-conn site can justify....
Well, as far as those go it's pretty spotty but let's see if this makes any sense:

43 xxxxx - 1993
44 xxxxx - 1994
7 30000-7 99999 - 1995-97 (I think there's a lot of skipping around and maybe multiple serials going on at the same time here)
7100000 - 1998 (based on this being where the 24M begins and when the plant reopened for the new line per Music Trades)
7120000 - 2000 (per a thread somewhere on this forum where someone got a production date from UMI)
7134000 - 2002 (same as above)
7200000 - 2003? (they skipped from 7134xxx to 7200xxx for whatever reason)
9000000
9100000 - not sure what these last two are... maybe they were still assembling horns in Elkhart and/or Eastlake from remaining parts after Nogales closed and used new serials to reflect this.

I think you're right about the 14M and 50M being merged together. What I found was that 14Ms stop and 50Ms identical to the old Vito start around 1962, and then in maybe '64 the 50M adopts the alt-F# key placement of the 14M (that's the most obvious thing I can glean from pictures). I haven't really seen any evidence that there were two different Director models in the '70s, unless there's bore or tonehole placement differences or something.
 
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