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Hi!

I recently bought a new Selmer Balanced Action tenor. I assumed that the horn was silver plated, but after a week or so the seller contacted me and told me that it was made of pure silver. He told me that he had talked to Steve Goodson who told him about it. It was made in 1938 and does not have any engraving. Instead of engraving the model, brand and serial number is stamped to the bell, according to him (because of the silver). There are small markings on the inside of the bell from when they presumably stamped it. He told me that there were only 240 horns made of silver.

Has anyone ever heard about this and have more information? Is there any other way to check if its made of silver or just silver plated?

Thanks
 

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I have a twin to this horn although mine was made in 1941 - silver plated and unengraved. Personally, I have never heard of a sterling silver Selmer Saxophone and mine is not. Look for brass showing though the plating somewhere, maybe inside the neck tenon ?
 

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Selmer did make a small number of Sterling Silver saxophones in 1927, mostly for the Swiss market.
I am not aware of any Sterling horns made in the Balanced Action model, and certainly not 240 of them.
Perhaps you could share some more photos of the horn?

Regarding the stamping on the bell, this appears to me to be a typical stamp for a Euro instrument of the time.

Could you please look below the low D tonehole to see if there is another serial number there? It should be a lower number, probably in the 16,000 or 17,000 range.
 

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If Steve Goodson said it, it's true. Ask anyone around here about his sterling reputation.
ROTFLMAO! Thanks for my morning laugh whaler, the same thought occurred to me.

Anyway, sterling silver or not, how's that horn play? It sure looks beautiful. And yeah, if you really want to know, just take a file to it and dig deep; if there's not brass under that silver you'll have your answer. WAIT!! I'm just kidding; don't do that. As Tharruf said, look for wear spots and see if any brass is peeking through.
 

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If any brass is showing in lacquer wear then it's not solid silver. Inside of the neck, neck tenon socket, inside the bell past the gold wash is what I'd look at. If the whole thing is silver it should also feel a noticeably heavier than a brass sax.
 

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Could you please look below the low D tonehole to see if there is another serial number there? It should be a lower number, probably in the 16,000 or 17,000 range.
Thanks a lot guys!

Found the number and it says 16 770. Do you know why they used different serial numbers?

I found lacquer wear on the neck (not sure what it's called?), I'll upload a picture. So I guess it's not made of silver. Too bad!

View attachment 62323
 

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I found lacquer wear on the neck (not sure what it's called?), I'll upload a picture. So I guess it's not made of silver. Too bad!

View attachment 62323
Not lacquer wear, silver plating wear...

It actually isn't a bad thing that the horn is plated rather than solid silver. For one thing, I think a solid silver horn would be heavier. And it wouldn't sound or play any better. The only advantage to solid silver would be if you are a horn flipper and want to sell it, rather than play it. Or, far worse, if you wanted to melt it down.
 

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I found lacquer wear on the neck (not sure what it's called?), I'll upload a picture. So I guess it's not made of silver. Too bad!

View attachment 62323
I wouldn't call that definitive. The tenon is soldered to the neck. I recall seeing modern sterling silver necks fitted with brass tenons - I don't know what the practice was at the time that neck was made.
 

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For one thing, I think a solid silver horn would be heavier. And it wouldn't sound or play any better.
Some very fine horns made by Yanagisawa are solid silver. It could be of course, that extra care went into their manufacture, but they truly excel in comparison to their regular models.
 

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I wouldn't call that definitive. The tenon is soldered to the neck. I recall seeing modern sterling silver necks fitted with brass tenons - I don't know what the practice was at the time that neck was made.
Okay, thanks again. Haven't found any silver plating wear anywhere else so that could be the case. But the horn is also in great condition, so that adds up. Will check it better tomorrow.

Glad I could give you a laugh whaler :) Wouldn't call it a Swedish thing though, more of my kind of thing.

The bell seems to be gold plated or something, which the seller also told me. It's not as easy to see in reality but might be true. Does that imply that the horn would be silver plated overall?
Here's a couple of more pictures if it helps.

View attachment 62355
View attachment 62356
View attachment 62357
View attachment 62358
 

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The bell seems to be gold plated or something, which the seller also told me. It's not as easy to see in reality but might be true. Does that imply that the horn would be silver plated overall?
That's called "gold wash" and was commonly applied to silver plated horns of that period.

View attachment 62359

See other examples at VintageSax.com
 
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