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Discussion Starter #1
So, I picked up a Couesnon Monopole Conservatoire Tenor from the 1950s for a couple hundred bucks. I've always wanted one, and my experience with the Couesnon brand in clarinets has been great. So, it's a bit of a "dream instrument" for me.

The instrument arrived and, not surprisingly, it needed quite a bit of help -- missing screws, bent keys, keyguards needing solder, etc. A total overhaul and then some. I have a great tech who will help bring her back. However, after finding some additional problems, the bill has the potential to be racking up a bit (not the tech's fault!)

My question is...just how much is it worth putting into the horn? My thinking has been even if it runs $1,000 - 1,200 total (horn plus repairs), I'd still be getting a great horn for far less than I could touch another brand. But is there a limit? What are these horns worth in resale? (not that I plan to sell anytime soon)

Thanks for your thoughts and guidance...
 

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So, I picked up a Couesnon Monopole Conservatoire Tenor from the 1950s for a couple hundred bucks. I've always wanted one, and my experience with the Couesnon brand in clarinets has been great. So, it's a bit of a "dream instrument" for me.

The instrument arrived and, not surprisingly, it needed quite a bit of help -- missing screws, bent keys, keyguards needing solder, etc. A total overhaul and then some. I have a great tech who will help bring her back. However, after finding some additional problems, the bill has the potential to be racking up a bit (not the tech's fault!)

My question is...just how much is it worth putting into the horn? My thinking has been even if it runs $1,000 - 1,200 total (horn plus repairs), I'd still be getting a great horn for far less than I could touch another brand. But is there a limit? What are these horns worth in resale? (not that I plan to sell anytime soon)

Thanks for your thoughts and guidance...
I've wrestled with a similar issue. Though I am primarily a tenor player (and don't have a Cousenon tenor) I have a Monopole II alto and bari that I've picked up over the years on the cheap. Originally I was planning on getting the alto tricked out, but the rolled toneholes were scaring off my local techs - one of whom tossed out a $2K estimate. I've since picked up a modern alto I'm happy with. Mint Monopole II altos don't go for $2K, and it's a fairly niche bunch who buy them, so I haven't been able to bring myself to pull that trigger.

The bari is in *slightly* better shape (at least for the little bit I use bari), but probably needs at least as much work ultimately, at least $$$ wise given the fact it's a bari and just that much more expensive to service. In this case, I still have a plan to ultimately get it brought up to spec because I really doubt I'll get anywhere near the same quality bari for what I'll end up paying...but it's still more than I care to drop at this point.

Ultimately,I should take both out beyond my immedate area for estimate and find out if the tonehole issues are as prohibitively expensive to deal with as I've been led to believe.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I'm glad that I'm not the only one struggling with this. I suppose if the horn plays the way I want it to play, then I'm good. And I guess counting on resale value isn't my best bet with any vintage slightly off-brand horn.

I'll get it up and playing the way I want, and rest it next to my Holton 232 alto sax that plays great, but I also won't be reselling for what I already have in it! Maybe I'm just a slow learner!
 

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There were a couple of Couesnon tenors on Reverb offered at $800 and $1,000, a I and a II. And a II for sale here at $800 remained unsold.
 

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I recently sold a -minty- Monopole II tenor for around $1500, and I was pleased with that number. Considering that yours isn't what one would consider a "prime" example (solder repairs, etc.), I wouldn't put more than $1000 total into re-building it.

Great horns. Seriously underappreciated. But you don't want to be too far underwater on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah, I saw yours too late...beautiful horn. The one I ended up with will never be "minty"...and your guidance is appreciated. I'm hoping to keep the bill under that.

Which begs the question -- in a world where vintage Selmers, Kings, and SMLs continue to climb in price, when will the Couesnons, Dolnets, Holtons, and Beaugniers get the recognition they deserve? (I won't hold my breath, but I'll play these great, undervalued horns!)
 

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Which begs the question -- in a world where vintage Selmers, Kings, and SMLs continue to climb in price, when will the Couesnons, Dolnets, Holtons, and Beaugniers get the recognition they deserve? (I won't hold my breath, but I'll play these great, undervalued horns!)
Let's hope never, so we can continue to find restore and play them for little money. About the Couesnon, I had one for a short time and thought it was an excellent horn. I only sold it because it was too different from my main tenor, and I don't need a backup anyway. Bought it for €150, had it worked on for €250 and got a case for €100 or 150. Sold it for what I had in it to a member here.
 

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The instrument arrived and, not surprisingly, it needed quite a bit of help -- missing screws, bent keys, keyguards needing solder, etc. A total overhaul and then some.

My question is...just how much is it worth putting into the horn? My thinking has been even if it runs $1,000 - 1,200 total (horn plus repairs), I'd still be getting a great horn for far less than I could touch another brand. But is there a limit? What are these horns worth in resale? (not that I plan to sell anytime soon)

Thanks for your thoughts and guidance...
Sounds like a blind buy from a charity auction. I’ve done the same. Winning the surprise package has its challenges. What you absolutely have going for you is that you like it. Also you have a tech you’re confident in.

Now about the repair cost Vs resale value. No plans to flip or sell anytime soon. Ok good, look at your investment like this.
$250 a year @ 5 years use. 0 return, put it in the trash it’s consumed. Will you get $250 of use a year and be happy with no return?
This is no different than your phone costs or a set of tires for a car. It costs money to use things. Just think after 5 years you sold it for $500! Yes a $1000+ is a bit to think on at first. Extend the math. That’s where the value is.
 

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If you wanted to keep the repair cost down, send her to me, I can certainly beat a $1000 overhaul/refurb. Granted, I understand you have your preferred tech locally, so I don't wanna step on anyone's toes, but if saving a few hundred makes the decision easier, I'd happily help you out.
 

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Sounds like a blind buy from a charity auction. I’ve done the same. Winning the surprise package has its challenges. What you absolutely have going for you is that you like it. Also you have a tech you’re confident in.

Now about the repair cost Vs resale value. No plans to flip or sell anytime soon. Ok good, look at your investment like this.
$250 a year @ 5 years use. 0 return, put it in the trash it’s consumed. Will you get $250 of use a year and be happy with no return?
This is no different than your phone costs or a set of tires for a car. It costs money to use things. Just think after 5 years you sold it for $500! Yes a $1000+ is a bit to think on at first. Extend the math. That’s where the value is.

This is absolutely the perspective to hold to.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If you wanted to keep the repair cost down, send her to me, I can certainly beat a $1000 overhaul/refurb. Granted, I understand you have your preferred tech locally, so I don't wanna step on anyone's toes, but if saving a few hundred makes the decision easier, I'd happily help you out.
Sent you a PM
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the thoughts and input, Collective Saxophone Brain! Great boundaries and perspective, all of you.

I think we are in a good place with getting the right repairs done for a reasonable price. I'll update the group when she's out of surgery and up and around.
 
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