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I have an opportunity to buy a made in France Dolnet Imperial alto, but there is very little info on this particular Dolnet model.
I know the Imperial was only manufactured in 1952-53. The more common Bel Air model was the other Dolnet alto available at the same time and continued to be manufactured until around 1980. Does anyone know what the difference is between the Imperial and Bel Air? Would it be considered a higher or lower quality or feature level than the Bel Air? Thanks for any help!
 

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I am not sure of how you can tell anything for sure about the Dolnet Imperial having been manufactured only between 1952 and 53. There are no surviving records of the factory and dating Dolnets has always been anybody’s guess.
Also there are Bel Air identified as such on the bell and other identical horns without the designation which are also called a Bel Air. The Imperial is also not clear what it was, if it were a model of his own or not.
There are conflicting reports and there are also those whom in fact say that Bel Airs and Imperial were the same saxophone.

Either way, Dolnets have to be evaluated on their own merits. There are M70 built very well as there are M70 which were not built so well.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I’ve attached info from the Vintage Saxophone Gallery website showing the Dolnet Imperial as a separate model made in 52-53, that is what I was going by, not sure if this is reliable or not.
 

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from the same site “ ...There isn't a Dolnet model or serial number chart, per se, so I essentially am creating this based on engravings, user input and manufacturing differences...."

Those figures are, at best, estimates based on some people having bought the horn with a receipt, there are no surviving archives of the company which, by the way, had a serial number system still escaping interpretations ( what were the letters for?) and mixed all the instruments they make in the same numbers (woodwind and brass).
 
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