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I am looking for some advice on valuing my 1921 silver plate Conn C Soprano. I had a local guy look at the instrument and he told me it is in very good condition but is heavily tarnished and needs some new pads and other minor work. He thought the plating itself was in excellent condition as it doesn't show wear in the places he would expect to see it. He gave me an estimate of $500-$600 do do a complete refurbish and repad. I have seen pricing in different places (including this site) suggesting it could be worth anywhere from $500 - $2,500 (for $2,500 it is worth refurbishing, for $500 obviously not). Anyone with experience selling this particular horn? Thoughts on value? Best place/way to sell?

Thanks!
 

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Welcome to SOTW. I see no one has replied - yet. Let me be the first. I started my sax-playing life on a Conn C-soprano. But that was 55+ years ago!

Here on SOTW there is a small but ardent group of C-saxophone enthusiasts who may be able to advise you better. Most are C-tenor players but some are always looking for sopranos, or so it seems.

I'm thinking your saxophone may not be all that valuable on the re-sale market. There is little call for such things as the vast majority of saxophone players prefer transposing instruments. If it was mine, I'd go for the overhaul and keep it. DAVE
 

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The last few Conn C- sopranos that I saw on e-bay sold for $650,00 (needing repad and overhaul) to about $1,400 (playing). You might want to check there by yourself.
If you are planning to play it, the repad is worth it. If you want to sell it, it is usually better to sell as-is (unless you can repad it yourself) and let the buyer choose his technician to work on it. Most of the times you won't recover the money invested on the repad.
 

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That seems about right...they take a hit because they are C's. I think $1400 for one in good playing shape is a pretty good price to get, actually. $500-700 is about what one can get for a horn which needs work.
 

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The Conn's have very nice mechanisms and a great sound. The scale can be a little hairy (comparatively). A few years ago the Conn's were commanding top dollar - with unplayable carcass horns selling for close to $1000. I haven't been watching the market as of late.

The fact that there are a couple modern made Csops available is probably affecting the market. That may be permanent, or it may be short lived.

If you don't want to overhaul it, and you don't need to sell it now, you may want to hold on to it and see what happens to the market for them.
 

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I got my Conn Csop back in 2006 - fully restored for well under $2000. In late 2007, Cybersax.com was selling similar examples for $2495.

Most of my horns are insured, including this Conn. I have an appraisal valuing my Csop with a replacement cost of $2900. By comparison both my Selmer SA80II sop my Yani S-6 sop were appraised at the same time for $1500 each. Of these, the only one I couldn't live without is the Selmer as it is the best sop I've ever owned (and I've owned quite a few...).

There is the value that a player puts on a horn and the value a collector puts on a horn. Sometimes these values line up, other times they are wildly disparate. An extreme example of this would be a 19th century Adolphe saxophone. I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't want to gig with a horn with 19th century keywork (let alone one that is most likely high pitch), but that doesn't mean the horn doesn't have high intrinsic value.

The market may have dropped for these in the past couple years, and it may never return. Then again, it may jump well beyond what it once was.
 
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