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Discussion Starter #1
This is what it says on the ebay auction page:

"The Martin" Indiana written on the bell of the saxophone

Made in Elkhart, IN

Above this on the bell is an Indian head with three arrows

On the backside of the neck is the serial #83477 and a crest with initials RMC

This is a brass sax with the lacquer wearing off on the bell and neck"


The present bid is up to $152.50 with about 3 days to go .... how good a deal does this look like .... and if it's a good horn, what would be a reasonable bid for me? Thanks for any and all help!!

Candy
 

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That is a later Indiana (made between 1961/62), after Richards Music Company (RMC) took over control of Martin.

The Indiana line was marketed as student/intermediate instruments, but still very well made and the current price is still a good deal on the horn, provided it is in good shape, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you so much, Saxismyaxe!!

I am also watching this item on ebay .... starting bid is 9.99 ... don't know how high it will climb in the next 4 days. Here is what the item description says:

This auction is for a Vintage Silver Colored Alto Sax ~ Saxophone by Martin ~ Elkhart Ind. I know almost nothing about these instruments, so please see all images and ask all questions before bidding. I do not know what metal was used for this, it could be silver plated over brass as I see some wear in areas. It is marked MARTIN HANDCRAFT ELKHART IND. ~ LOW PITCH with a serial number of 99176 possibly placing it around 1930-1931. It has the same serial number on large curved part of the horn and on the separate section leading to mouth piece. I see NO major damage at all just a very few extremely tiny dings. The black mouthpiece appears to be unmarkes and has a brass attachment with 2 stars cut out of it and an old wood reed. This came out of an old attic and has not been played in years and is being sold untested. I do not know if anything is missing and I am sure it needs a total overhaul. The Sax comes in a very old beat up case that is only good for protection in shipping.

I have read that "handcraft" is a pro, not student model ... is that true?

Candy
 

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Yes the Handcraft was Martin's pro horn at the time, but the keywork is of the older style, with split bell keys etc. Some might say that, since the keywork on the 1960's Indiana horn is more up to date, all else being equal, it might be a better way to go for the same money. Both will sound nice and be well built.

Martin and H. N. White ( the makers of the KING line) never really made a stinker quality horn, so even their student horns are nice.

Remember to allow money for an adjustment and possible repad to get any Ebay horn up and running.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you very much, Mike!

I had a Martin sax, years ago .... it was silver, with etchings, and had been played in a pro 1930's band .... I had it refurbished and it sounded fantastic, especially after fitting it with a new mouthpiece.

It had a really smooth transition for low to high register, and could sound dark or bright, depending on the mouthpiece and what song I was playing.

Paid 30 bucks for it back in about 1977 ... it was unfortunately stolen in 1993, so I haven't really played a sax in over 14 yrs with the exception of playing a few this past week, shopping around.

Last time I had my Martin refurbished, in 1993, the repair tech offered me $2000 for it, but I wouldn't sell ... then just a few weeks later it was stolen, doggone it!!

Since it was the only saxophone I had ever owned, and since I haven't played in so long, it's easy to see why I am so "out of the loop" on these matters.

This sax (whatever I end up buying) is to be a birthday gift from my hubby, so I hope I find just the right thing, lol.

I really appreciate your help, Mike!!

Candy
 

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Not a problem Candy.

I'm a big fan of Martins, and own a number of them myself (I personally favor THE MARTIN COMMITTEE and MAGNA models myself). I have selected them as my primary Tenor and Baritone horns for some time now.

Both models you are looking at should make hubby very happy.;)

Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks again, Mike!

The sax will be my hubby's gift TO ME, lol ..... Any ideas on what my maximum bid should be on either of these horns? I know I have to allow for the cost of overhauling, and no doubt a new mouthpiece as well as some reeds, swab, accessories.

Candy
 

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Oops, well even better!

Without seeing the condition etc. I can't give a locked down estimate, but if I were buying one of these in typical, solid condition, I'd try to stay around $200.00.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, Mike ..... I was thinking around 200 myself. Will have to watch this auction and see how it goes. I usually bid at the last minute so as not to jack up the price unnecessarily. :)
 

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I have an early 30's Martin Handcraft, relaq with a recent overhaul. Paid low $200s on ebay, did not need any additional work (a rarity for an ebay purchase). Also have a 1960 Martin Indiana tenor, paid around $220 for it. Both horns sound great, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

The Handcraft you describe sounds like it might need quite a bit of work. I would be wary of a horn that might be "missing" parts - if it's not advertised as "ready to play," make sure you can return it, unless the pictures are so good that you can tell all the parts are there (really hard to tell with a saxophone, so many little parts).
 

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CandyHearts and all of you others - The silver alto in question is a Typewriter model (Master) and will certainly go above $200. I collect these and to find one that plays (this one most likely won't) will cost you over $700. If you want a vintage Martin that plays, look for a Handcraft series III or newer (1928) and plan to spend a few bucks to get it right. When adjusted, these can be monsters. Also don't forget the above mentioned Indianas (Medalists and later Imperials). Nice horns for the money. I just sold a 1970 Imp with good pads and lacquer for $350 to give you an idea. Last week an Indiana tenor (really nice) went over $800 on ebay so I think the Comm models are pulling the prices for Indianas up, at least the tenors.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the comments!

I was just looking at another Martin vintage sax ... the headline says:

"Martin Low Pitch S/N 43425"


The pics don't look bad, but the seller admits to not knowing anything about the horn, except that it is very old and appears to be all intact, but would need refurbished. Same advice as before, bidding at around $200 ... ?

(So far I have not bid on any of the saxes I have looked at.)

Candy
 

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Yes. Unless the Handcraft is a special silver or gold finish in near mint condition and/or one of the HIGHLY engraved custom jobs, I wouldn't pay much more for most HC models.

Not having any info other than what you posted,
I was unaware that the one Martin you were looking at was an early 30's Typewriter model. These are worth more due to the rarity and collectability, but the keywork will still seem a bit quaint of you are weaned on the Post Selmer keywork of most modern horns.

If you can budget it, I'd still recommend looking at THE MARTIN COMMITTEE horns or the earlier Committee I "Martian engraving" and Committee II as the pinnacle of Martin's various designs.

The Imperial and Dick Stabile models are great players too.

But then you did say you used to have a HC, so you many not find the keywork of these earlier horns an issue. In which case, you can save some money by buying a good example of one of these.
 

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The typewrite is a hard ax to play. Looks cool though! Let the collector buy that horn.

On the hand, the Indiana is very playable. The Indiana is not that different from the prewar Committee. The prewar Committee is a high priced horn, but the Inidana is so common that the price remains low. You can actually afford to wait for a nice one to come along. They are not rare.

$200 is average for a decent Indiana. A prettier one will cost more. Be sure to save some money for repair. Even if the horn is perfect when packed, it may go out of adjustment in shipping.

You will love the Indiana! It's a great horn regardless of the low price. And you are smart for buying vintage. The value can only go up.
 

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That 43K one would be a series II with no front F or C# adjuster. Also the finish is pretty bad. If you are going HC, get a III, Typewriter or Troubadour. Find one with nice plating (important on a typewriter).
 

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Hey there,

I don't know if this advice has been sent your way yet, but Dave at Junkdude is simply loaded with altos right now. His prices are totally reasonable and his reputation is simply unquestionable: if you're looking to replace a stolen vintage Martin, why not go to Dave's website and take your pick? You won't get a steal, but you will get a great horn at a fair price.

My .02$

Rory

ps. there are a number of other great vendors that fit this description.
 

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I'd also say give Junkdude a try. He allows returns and has quality vintage horns. Always assume an Ebay horn not sold by a known dealer will need a complete overhaul; and I'd put aside at least $350 for same. I'd actually go for a Handcraft over an Indiana, but only if the Handcraft had a front F and its original silver plate. Now I'm not going to recommend Ebay in this case, as I've stated in a related thread, but... some of the best deals still remaining are for Martin stencils. Trouble is, you have to be experienced in sorting them out, and the Catch 22 is once you ask a question about a horn here, you alert other potential bidders. No, I'd have the hubby buy you a horn from a dealer, and spare yourself the potential heartbreak, and expense, of gambling on Ebay for a sax.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks, Everyone, for all the advice! I will have to look into Junkdude!

Question about stencils .... I came across a Wurlitzer, completely overhauled and ready to play .... claims it is a Martin Vintags stencil ... would that be likely to be true?

Candy
 
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