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I'm trying to refrain from getting new horns, but this one came up from the estate of a local player and it was too cool to pass up. This is a BA Alto that surprisingly played just as well or maybe even better than my 160K Mark VI. There are a few things about this horn that I've never seen and I would like to get some SOTW input.

1. The serial number is mid 20XXX. According to the chart, this dates it to 1935. I thought they started making BA's in 1936. Anyone know anything about this? Is this actually a BA?

2. The body tube has a 14XXX serial number stamped on it. Does that mean this horn is part Selmer Super?

3. What kind of engraving pattern is this? I've only seen the super flowery pattern with the boat scene and the art deck pattern with the treble clef staff. Does anyone know what market this pattern came from?

4. Do you think this lacquer is original or relac? It's the right color for a BA, but I can't tell.

Any and all information/opinions are welcome. One thing for sure, this is a spunky little horn that throws a massive amount of pretty sound. See link below for pics.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/12IedeDzne49htS7Fasc0gx6ZZCLdxckQ
 

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No, it isnt a Super. It is a BA.

It looks like one, with both bell keys on the “modern” side. ie. earlier versions (radio improved, cigar cutters ) had the bell keys on the other side.
In addition, the serial number falls in line with Douglas Piphers chart. In fact yours is one of the very first BAs to be produced.

Yours has the little adjusters above the “D” cup. These disappeared a little later.

The only thing I havent seen before is the two sets of writing/engraving on the bell. As well as the conventional position, on the side of the bell, yours also has writing on the front, including the serial number. Unusual, I think.

Does your also have writing, including serial number, in the other “normal” place. On the back , below the thumb rest.

Could be original, but hard to be certain from photos.

I bet yours sounds fantastic.
 

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I have heard of certain Selmers in that period having different serial numbers on them - transitional models. I think it is a relacquer but with gentle buffing. In any event, its a horn worth having.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No, it isnt a Super. It is a BA.

It looks like one, with both bell keys on the “modern” side. ie. earlier versions (radio improved, cigar cutters ) had the bell keys on the other side.
In addition, the serial number falls in line with Douglas Piphers chart. In fact yours is one of the very first BAs to be produced.

Yours has the little adjusters above the “D” cup. These disappeared a little later.

The only thing I havent seen before is the two sets of writing/engraving on the bell. As well as the conventional position, on the side of the bell, yours also has writing on the front, including the serial number. Unusual, I think.

Does your also have writing, including serial number, in the other “normal” place. On the back , below the thumb rest.

Could be original, but hard to be certain from photos.

I bet yours sounds fantastic.
Thanks for the input! I just looked and there's no writing in the other "normal place" below the thumbrest. I guess they wrote everything they wanted to on the bell. The serial number and factory location on the front of the bell is something I haven't seen before either. When I first saw the horn I thought it looked pretty cool that way.
 

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I have heard of certain Selmers in that period having different serial numbers on them - transitional models. I think it is a relacquer but with gentle buffing. In any event, its a horn worth having.
Thanks for the input. I agree, it's definitely a horn worth having. I didn't really want to pick up another alto, but at the end of the day that was the exact reasoning that led me to buy it anyways.
 

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Beautiful alto ! I have a Selmer Super 'Radio Improved' model alto just 305 serial numbers earlier than your BA .

So yours is definitely one of the very first BA altos made - the bell key tone holes on yours are more shallow than later
models, and more like the preceeding Super saxes.

Being an early version it probably sounds and responds more like a late Super also as far as the neck specs.
 

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Looks cool. Transitional BA for sure. I'd have to see in person, but I'm 99% re-lac based off seeing originals in this range that have been engraved.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
 

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Had one of these years ago-mine was a '37 I think-we didn't get too caught up in the serial no. stuff back then. Beautiful sweet player wish I still had it!
Oh yeah... I also had a '38 BA tenor with the split bell key guards heavily buffed it was but, there's been nothing since that has ever sounded like that horn-sold it for 450 quid!
I tend to prefer pre -war Selmers they are special in some undefinable way.
 

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I have a Radio Improved about 200 serial numbers earlier than this BA. My body tube also has a 14xxx serial number.

Doug Pipher explained my RI was produced in February of 1936, after the start of the BA era.

Cool sax you have there, enjoy!
 

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Hi Trane,
Here are some thoughts on this saxophone.

1) This is a very early Balanced Action. Shipped in June 1935. It is one of the first 50 Balanced Action Altos made. Two production samples were sent in March and early April 1935, and then the first production shipment was sent to Elkhart at the end of April. In May a small shipment was sent to London and then the 2nd shipment was sent to Elkhart in June.

2) The body number was an inventory control number. This number was no longer necessary once the actual serial number was stamped on the body. This does not mean that this instrument is part Selmer Super.

3) This engraving was done in the US.

4) Some of the photos were pretty fuzzy, but from what I can see, the lacquer does not appear original to me.



I'm trying to refrain from getting new horns, but this one came up from the estate of a local player and it was too cool to pass up. This is a BA Alto that surprisingly played just as well or maybe even better than my 160K Mark VI. There are a few things about this horn that I've never seen and I would like to get some SOTW input.

1. The serial number is mid 20XXX. According to the chart, this dates it to 1935. I thought they started making BA's in 1936. Anyone know anything about this? Is this actually a BA?

2. The body tube has a 14XXX serial number stamped on it. Does that mean this horn is part Selmer Super?

3. What kind of engraving pattern is this? I've only seen the super flowery pattern with the boat scene and the art deck pattern with the treble clef staff. Does anyone know what market this pattern came from?

4. Do you think this lacquer is original or relac? It's the right color for a BA, but I can't tell.

Any and all information/opinions are welcome. One thing for sure, this is a spunky little horn that throws a massive amount of pretty sound. See link below for pics.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/12IedeDzne49htS7Fasc0gx6ZZCLdxckQ
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Doug, much appreciated. This horn plays as well as anything else I've played, it's amazing how far ahead of their time Selmer was in 1935! I expected this thing to sound like an old time big band horn, but it's versatile and can do anything well.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
BTW - if this is one of the first 50 BA altos made, I wonder how many are left in the world that are earlier than this one? And how many of them are in good playing condition? This may be the about the oldest good playing BA out there! 84 years old and can scream like a modern horn....amazing!
 

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In 2015 I ran across 20669 somehow...probably for sale somewhere. I saved the photos even though I did not buy it. So as of 5 years ago, 20669 was still around.
 

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In 2015 I ran across 20669 somehow...probably for sale somewhere. I saved the photos even though I did not buy it. So as of 5 years ago, 20669 was still around.
Wow, that's 3 digits before mine. They probably came in on the same boat. If it plays anything like this one you should have bought it!
 
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