ebay C watch – january 2009

Just thought that for 2009 I’d try and give a periodic ‘heads up’, or ‘eyes down’, on some of the more interesting C-Melody saxophones that caught my eye – either still selling, or possibly annoyingly, just sold, on ebay, from time to time.  Prices still seem to be holding up reasonably despite the recession, although the currently poor dollar/pound exchange rate may well mean fewer UK buyers – then again, the very strong Euro will mean that possibly even more will go to mainland Europe.   Click on either the text links, or the pictures, to go to the ebay listings.


First up is this 1914’ish Conn, quite an early C, at s/no 29xxx – surprising that even at this vintage it has my favourite key, the auxiliary front-F.  Some manufacturers waited until late twenties, or even the early thirties, before fully integrating the aux front-F key – seems Conn, like Buffet, were ‘on the ball’  very early on. 

In this example, dished metal touches instead of pearl.  I actually prefer the concave metal touches, from my Buescher stencil playing days, makes me feel more in touch with the horn, and they are surprisingly quite slip-resistant even when wet.


This next C-Melody seems at first glance to be an English ‘ Hawkes ‘ – but on closer inspection has Martin toneholes, and Bruce Bailey’s ‘specialist subject’ the famous IBICo  ‘ Pontiac Rings ‘ on the body joints.  So probably, like the Martin ‘Lewin’ stencils that were imported into, and sold in, the UK – this is a Martin C that was imported into the UK to satisfy 20’s demand.  Seems only fair, as loads of European saxophones also went the other way, to the US during that era.  Guess there were no ‘carbon footprint’ worries in those days 😆


And now, a chance to acquire that curious beastie, the minimally keyed Martin Home Model – nice example here, languishing at a mere one dollar, with only a couple of days to go. 

Go on, you really do need to own one of these at least once during your lifetime !  It’ll really make you appreciate a saxophone with all the usual keys !  And it’ll scare the living daylights out of any saxophone-playing friends when you persuade them to try and play it…


And, last (but not least) for this post -  a great looking bare-brass Buescher C-Mel.   "Just ready for an overhaul " proclaims the listing…

(quote) "Sax has been completely disassembled, rods and screws cleaned and oiled, pads removed, springs cleanly removed from the posts, and all parts cleaned."

All great stuff, except the "springs cleanly removed from the posts" bit.  That makes me shudder, replacing all the springs seems too tedious for me – I don’t mind replacing the obviously weak/broken/rusty ones, but ALL of them ?  No, please, don’t take all the springs out…  Life is just toooo short to completely re-spring a saxophone.


And now, a very serious Health Warning – remember, decades of playing a straight-neck Conn C-Melody saxophone could seriously damage both your image, and your street-cred…  This man really should have played a Martin, or at the very least, a King !

I’m just slightly worried about the angle/perspective – if the sax is swung into the playing position he could potentially lose an eye, or at the very least his sense of smell…  😦

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20 Responses to ebay C watch – january 2009

  1. lewis Pelham says:

    It really puts life into perspective when, at the peak of an International Recession, we concern ourselves about Pontiac Rings, Aux F, and Martin home models….a return to the true perspective…things that really matter!
    Long may it remain so.  😮

  2. alan says:

    Lewis – perfect sentiments.  The current world mess is something that is affecting me quite severely – but I convinced myself some years back that it is only productive for me to worry about things which I can personally affect.  Those which I have no control over must be borne with stout resignation, and above all a sense of ironic humour.  As you raised the ‘recession‘ word, if you’ll forgive me I’ll now just have a small theraputic mutter, release some of my pent up angst – please disregard the next paragraphs if you wish…

    Like most sensible people, I have managed to build some small investments over my hardworking life to hopefully give me a well-earned ‘comfort zone’ and make me independant of the State, including a very modest pension fund, but all now worth less than probably even the initial contributions – decades of growth wiped out in a few months even in comparitively ‘safe’ funds – even my ‘rainy day’ cash is struggling at ridiculously minimal interest rates.  Luckily my house is all paid for, so, as long as I can afford new slates I’ll always have a roof over my head – thank goodness I avoided the temptation of Equity Release some years back, as it’s value has also been well slugged.  But it’s only money…

    This year was/is to be the start of long delayed ebay selling activity – not perfect timing, but now I really do need to reduce my pension drawdown, otherwise in it’s current sad state the fund will be useless for my real old age – so I hope (and so far the the signs are encouraging) that ebay will become the cyber flea market that keeps me afloat. 

    It is quite perverse that the one thing I’ve always felt slightly guilty about, i.e. having more horns and eqipment than I need, would seem to be one of the few relatively good investments – I wish I’d just spent all my money on vintage saxes !  But then isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing ?  Happily the State old-age pension is only a few years away, and as I’m a man of modest demands, its arrival will bring great relief…    Until then, you’ll have to put up with my simplistic meanderings, it’s about things I’m comfortable with, and to friends I’m easy with, what more could anyone ask ?  

    D’you know, a related friend was telling me the other day that the only thing that makes him feel less bad about the current financial mess is that it’s potentially affecting most people – so he doesn’t feel that he’s been personally singled out, we’re all in the same boat. and some in a very much worse state.  Maybe out of all this we’ll find that little spark of resolve, and a new direction ?  Nah, it’s just another crock, sent to try us…   🙄

  3. Helen says:

    Help me out here guys, I’m not sure if I’ve heard the term before & I forgot, or if I’ve just never heard it, but Pontiac Rings? What are they? Where exactly would I find them if I was looking for them in the photos of the Martin? Thanks!

    Let’s all raise a glass to a time in hopefully the not-to-distant future, when things are more “normal out there” again for all of us ❗

  4. alan says:

    Helen – look at the bow/bell joints on these two pics ( hover and/or click… )

  5. lewis Pelham says:

    Named, I would imagine, in tribute to the over-ornate American cars of the 1950s, where decoration was considered more important than either brakes or road holding.
    In compensation however they made some good saxophones.   🙂

  6. ukebert says:

    It is possible, I suppose that the credit crisis will provoke a new communal atmosphere, everyone pulling together etc. At the moment that is the only good thing I can see coming out of this.

  7. lewis Pelham says:

    I am no financier…in fact, I have little interest in money.
    What I fail to understand however is that if we were to write a cheque for money that we do not have in the account, then we would be rapidly escorted “down the steps” on a valid charge of fraud. The Banks are immune, it would seem.
    It should be obvious that a credit orientated financial atmosphere is certain to end in tears. This fact should be particularly evident to the son of a Scottish Presbyterian Minister!
    Why therefore was no government brake put upon the Banks to prevent the financial hardship that they have placed on those solid citizens who have done the right thing by putting a little aside as savings?
    I have an Instant Access account with the Nationwide Building Society which I use for my hobbies….motor cars and saxophones…preventing me from using our Current A/C for my personal pleasure. I have about 20K in the account which, until this year, enjoyed Interest at circa 5%. Today it returns just 0.1%.  👿
    This, too me, says everything about Socialism.

  8. ukebert says:

    If anything it would say everything about capitalism 😉 Capitalism allowed to run riot at least.

  9. Helen says:

    Lewis, I understand now…

    OK, but where are the tail fins? Nothing said over-ornate like those tail fins on those late 50s early 60s Detroit classics. Oh hang on…Those probably were found on the Rudy Wiedoeft models, right? 😉

  10. alan says:

    Helen, I think maybe a touch earlier than 40/50’s ?  A quick ‘Google’ (new English verb…) pulled up this example.  Look at those near vertical lines just forward of the tail lights –    Hover or click here

  11. lewis Pelham says:

    Rather splendid as a piece of sculpture or an example of the apotheosis of period design.
    The Body Designer however has lost sight of the fact that it is a Motor Car, intended for utilitarian purposes like stopping and steering. That monstrosity would react like a jelly on a spring.
    In the Motor Industry we used to refer to these Body Designers as Flower Arrangers….they all seem to be oblivious of the prime purpose of a motor car.
    There is little excuse, because they could have referred to the Zagato or Castagna  bodies fitted to some 1930s Alfa Romeos…exquisite. I will try to find an example & ask my wife “who understands these things” to display it here.

  12. lewis Pelham says:

    Now this is how a real car should look – Zagato Alfa Romeo 1931 (click/hover)

  13. lewis Pelham says:

    I must come clean and admit that Alan posted the above item for me, on my behalf. That hover thing is very clever…far beyond my limited computer skills. It does give me the opportunity to drool over the ’31 Alfa; enough room in the boot for an R&C tenor plus the standard “Gentleman’s Touring Kit”….bliss.

  14. alan says:

    Lewis – I’m good, but not that good…  The ‘hover thing’ is available for anyone to use – just put in a link to an image file that ends in ‘ .jpg ‘ – the blog software does the rest automatically.   It’s quicker for the page to load without rafts of images, unless you get complicated with thumbnails.
    That was the main reason for moving to this more ‘standard’ style of blog – allows me to use all sorts of nice software extra’s like that, that I often found to be hard work implimenting on my own (lovely though it was) original blog.  I’d rather play saxophones than write software… 🙂
    My first job (scarce in Cornwall) was to work in a garage – including the stores – and a part of the job I really enjoyed was making up ‘touring spares kits’ for quite a variety of cars.  The idea was that, whilst it was usually easy to find a garage in out-of-the-way places, a convenient box of spares in the boot meant that the car could usually be back on the road almost instantly.  I think some cautious drivers even took a kit on visits to Bristol 😦

  15. lewis Pelham says:

    Clearly you cannot even conceive what is meant by “computer illiteracy”….You say “just put in a link to an image file that ends in .jpeg’.”
    I understand all the words (except jpeg), but not in that order.

    Sometimes, my message will not post because “I have made a mistake with the Anti-spam word.”  The other day I realised my mistake…I put a full stop after the word! Well….if computers are that picky (and ignorant of grammar) then I will let my wife deal with the beastly ignorant thing. 🙂

  16. Alan says:

    Lewis (and all) if you just copy the web address (url) of e.g. an image, ending, as they usually do, in ‘.jpg’ – and paste/put it in a comment – just like this  –

    Then (with any luck), the blog will automatically see it’s meant to be a link to a picture – and do all the rest for you, including the little pop-up. Any ‘dots’ in the middle that you might see, once it’s posted as a link, is just the overall length truncated for an easier display…

  17. Helen says:

    I’m assuming that the click/hover image view feature is a plug in. I am correct in that Alan? What’s the name of it? I’d like to give a try in my blog. It is a really nice feature.

    BTW, you have the best plugins! 8)

  18. alan says:

    Yes Helen, it is a plugin – used as above, but the link text can be anything, like alan (hover here), as long as the actual link is to a ‘.jpg’ file, or a flickr page.  I’ve checked it on my WordPress 2.7 testblog, seems to be OK, should work fine on bassic-sax.

    Here’s the link, the plug-in name is flickrtips


  19. Helen says:

    Thanks a lot Alan! 😀

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