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Discussion Starter #1
I have been handed an old Couesnon Alto by a customer who wants to know if it is worth 'restoring'. I had not come across this make until today and so have been doing a little research.

I found some relevant info at:
http://www.saxpics.com/?v=mod&modID=51

It is a "1900" lacquered model (to low Bb) and the 'grenade' on the bell contains '28' indicating 1928 manufacture. There is also an engraved 'shield' containing "MONOPOLE".

Above the 'grenade' is a number 51112 and below the shield 10055. The number on the back of the body is 690 which I assume is the serial no. Do the other numbers have any significance?

(1) Any simple way to determine if this is low pitch or high pitch (it's not in playing condition at the moment)
(2) Does it have any value?
(3) Is it likely to have a nice tone?

Any views as to whether it is worth investing in an overhaul?
 

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Put up pictures, as usual, it’s the best way to identify anything.

Generally Couesnon instruments are smaller than other saxophones and still they are LP.

If it is a very old instrument (1928? are you sure?) , as you say it is, It does have a value but it might not be of such value to be able to justify an overhaul. Much depends on the cost of your overhauls.

You can buy a playing Monopole I or II for €500 to €1200. Much depends on condition (but those are certainly later than 1928)

In my experience Couesnons have a beautiful sound.
 

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Those are a completely different thing (assuming that that OP is right that his client’s horn is a 1928 horn)
 

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These "1900" Couesnon horns from the 20's pop up for sale very often in France. There are in fact many different models. As far as I know, all are LP.

Price in France for a non-overhauled alto would be around €200; and with a re-pad, maybe, €400 if the seller gets lucky. Not an economic proposition.

But it may still be interesting from a musical point of view to overhaul such a horn. Last year I heard a local repairman play a similar vintage Couesnon tenor, and it had a really fantastic tone.
 

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it all depends.

If OP asks for $700 to overhaul a horn worth half that it probably will be an example of being a tad over-enthusiast, unless if your Great grandfather’s horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Trying to post photos but get "quota exceeded" after attaching first one. Can't find any relevant setting on my profile. Help!
 

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I have no idea of you setting but thererecently things have been updated and there should be less limits on posting.

Go advanced, click on the icon shoving a projection screen, you now have two options one is “ from computer” the other one is “ from url”

The first one has been recently reformed and improved.

click on it chose the images (one by one) from you computer, click upload, wait for them to upload , then something wi; “ attach “ and a number should appear, publish.

It will show like here , click to expand


View attachment 222808
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Milandro. It's at the point I click "upload" for the first image that I get "quota exceeded"
 

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I have no idea why, recently this function should have been expanded for everyone, even the allocated memory, go to you attachments and delete a few ( for example go to private messages, left bottom column there are attachments select and delete)
 

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there is but it has been extended to a very large size
 

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Beautiful horn with an interesting patina.

Bringing back to life may be a labour of love though rather than being something that makes economic sense.

if your client is thinking to start collecting or has any memory attached to this item it is most certainly a great horn to restore to playability (preserving it in as original and sympathetic restoration possible, please, don’t go for very flashy things, these horns had, originally white pads without a resonator).

Restoration will probably take more energy than providing new pads on a modern saxophone, and my guess is that it will cost many hours.

However even with a restoration it will never be “ as new” and it shouldn’t really be given anything that would change its nature.

A true specialized collector will look for one in better state (and they do exist) . I am quite sure this is a LP horn but again, one can easily find a horn for the price of an overhaul, so the motivation has to be a different one, one that involves some sort of emotional involvement.

Love is blind.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Milandro. Unfortunately the client picked it up from a 'junk' shop and so has no historical attachment to it. I think she probably paid over the odds for a non-working horn. I was looking at doing a full repad & cork/felt plus sorting out the obvious mechanical issues. I think the cost will prove to be prohibitive. What do you reckon it would sell for to an enthusiast in its current condition?
 

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Interesting horn, with the G# tone hole at the back, allowing the higher notes to vent better (A will have two open tone holes below it); at least theoretically. It also has a relatively modern LH pinky plateau and Eb/C keys.

Not sure what the Dutch or English market is for such horns, but in France the price in its current condition would really not be much above €200.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well I believe the customer paid £150 for it so it sounds like if she wanted to sell it on she would probably be able to recoup that.
 

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Then the French market is a lot better than the Dutch one!

In Holland this would struggle to get anything above €100 and if it would be bought It would be bought by one of the many home repairers which have sprang up like mushrooms everywhere.

They will clean it and re pad it with cheap pads and then resell it for €500. No professional repairer would invest his time and money in it.

These home repairers don’t necessarily do a bad job when it comes to utilitarian repads of a contemporary saxophone but I would never expect any of them to be able to really RESTORE an instrument such as this.

I have to say that, as far as instruments with special keywork or sporting interesting features, this is pretty basic. The ornate cartouche is very beautiful and the patina interesting but that is pretty much it.

Your customer could sell this and recuperate the money somehow (there is always a buyer, obviously) then , factoring in the cost of an overhaul, invest it in a better instrument.

I have to say that In many years of buying and selling I have NEVER found a a horn on a jumble sale or car booth sale or a thrift shop.

My experience is that most sellers will look things up prior to selling and generally overestimate the value of things like this due to the “ bling” effect. It is a saxophone, therefore must be worth quite a bit, right? No!

Anything like this, a secondhand item that is only old but not especially rare, desirable or collectable, is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it. So, then and there it was worth €150 but in a more common practice? I wouldn’t have bought it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks Milandro. Pretty much as I suspected. I had already advised her that she would probably be better off with a different instrument.
 
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