This tenor is an exceptionally rare original gold-plated Selmer Super Sax in very good physical condition. Sporting ornate engraving down to the bottom of the bow in a burnished background, the body of the sax is a matte gold plate finish while the keys and interior of the bell are burnished. Factory gold-plated Selmers are not common, and this is one the few original gold-plated Selmer tenors from this early Super Sax era ever made, and likely one of the nicest still surviving, if there are indeed others still out there. The keywork is tight and shows very little wear- although this horn shows signs of being used, it was well cared-for and well loved. These tenors were usually artist-owned. The very few others I have seen belonged to Al Cohn, Sal Nistico, Coleman Hawkins, and a few in some of the best collections in the world. Not many others.
This horn has recently been given a thorough check-up and plays well. I am a big fan of these early Selmer tenors, and this instrument is a good example of why. It plays with what is arguably the biggest voice of any Selmer, and is one of the few instruments that can give a good Conn of the same period a run for its money in richness. But the velvety Selmer tone is there along with the fatness, making for a uniquely broad and ballsy-sounding Selmer with a lot more power than most horns. The keywork is quite nice and although of an older style ergonomically, those that play these do not find them difficult or an impediment to technical facility.
The serial number is also interesting: although infrequently seen, the B at the end of the serial (sometimes it would actually say “bis”) is Selmer’s way of denoting that they struck the same serial twice on two different instruments! So this is Selmer #16164… B. All in all, a uniquely beautiful and rare instrument with the bonus of a historical quirk.