This is about as nice an example of an original lacquer early 5-digit Selmer Mark VI tenor as I have seen! It still has all its original factory pads. The original neck is in perfect condition and has not been pulled down or damaged in any way. It has the matching serial number to the body. The beautiful dark honey gold lacquer is almost all intact! This saxophone was babied and then treasured by someone as a keepsake until now. The only past repair it had was a resoldered strap hook. That was done well, with minimal lacquer loss. Sometimes stuff like that just pops off on old Selmers – key guard feet, strap hooks, and braces – not really from damage so much as just the original solder coming loose. Luckily you can just pop it back on there and it’s good to go for another 60+ years.
It’s hard to overemphasize how clean this tenor is. When you look at it, you just can’t believe how beautifully preserved it is. The body tube is straight and undamaged. The bottom bow even looks brand new. The bell and engraving look factory fresh and untouched. The original pads are falling out, so while you could try to play it on them, it would be better to get it freshly overhauled if you want to play it seriously. I got this horn in one of those beautiful red leather ‘Chesterfield’ original cases, but the zipper was broken on it, so I put it in a new BAM case for safety. If you want to pair this horn with an original 50’s Chesterfield Selmer case, I can possibly sell you one from my small vintage case collection. And if you want to buy it and then get it overhauled to play, I can hook you up with a top notch saxophone repairman who can do the overhaul right! You’ll be able to reuse the original Selmer metal Tone-x resonators on the new pads, which will give the horn a correct, vintage look.
Tonally, the mid 60k range is a real sweet spot for the Mark VI tenor. These horns have a darker, more focused core tone than the later VI tenors, with plenty of power. As you push it, it will brighten up a bit, but stay fat and complex sounding. It’s super free blowing, and not stuffy at all. Loud and dark and powerful with a good amount of focus. When people make modern tenor necks that are supposed to mimic the ‘Mark VI tenor sound’ they often copy a neck like this one that is medium-dark, complex, and focused with easy overtones. This is the sort of tenor that gave the Mark VI the reputation that it now has. If you want virtually the same horn, but for half price with a new ‘coat of paint’ from the factory, check out the excellent deal I have on this VI tenor, which is virtually identical, and also super clean physically and mechanically.
But if you have been looking for a really fantastic, original early 5-digit VI tenor that is almost like going back in time to 1957 and buying a new Selmer, then that’s what you have here. It’s a rare opportunity, and getting rarer every year. Soon, these horns will no longer be seen on the market at ALL often, and people will lament for the days when they were priced so ‘low’! It’s crazy, but true, if you compare to literally any other instrument (guitar, violin, piano, flute, even bassoon) — the best examples of the best instruments of all of those cost 3-10x what you can get a super clean Mark VI like this for currently.
Only one available!