From 1965 until 1988, these fine German horns (manufactured by J. Keilworth) were distributed at various times by W. T. Armstrong and Conn. They have quite a cult following today, and with good reason. The Superba I has rolled tone holes, the Superba II does not. I’ve never seen them in anything but lacquer.
Before the current model lineup evolved, Keilworth imported some nice horns stamped "The New King" with rolled tone holes and plastic key guards (must be intact) that have a small following. Mostly in lacquer, add 10% for silver.
Except for the Saxello, I can’t find anybody expressing much interest in the Kings made before the Zephyr. I find their intonation to be sketchy at best. The engraving is beautiful, but they just don’t play very well. The Zephyr is a killer! The Zephyr Special had a solid silver neck and mother of pearl key touches. I understand there were a few made with sterling silver bells. After the mid 1950’s, the Zephyr became an intermediate model, so deduct 30%. The Zephyr baritone remained essentially unchanged throughout the production run and sound great. Most of the Zephyr series was in lacquer, add 15% for silver. 20% for gold. Around number 272XXX, the Super 20 was introduced. The first examples had mother of pearl key touches; sunburst engraving on the bell keys; socket necks; and optional sterling silver necks (add 15%) and sterling silver bells (add 30%). Around 430XXX, the Super 20 was cheapened considerably: the neck changed to a conventional style; the bell key engraving eventually went away; the mother of pearl inlay was long since gone. Deduct 25% for horns after this number. There are a few examples with gold inlay on the silver bell (add 15%), a few rare silver plated horns (I own one, add 20%); and a very few gold plated ones (add 25%). There are, of course, a very few Super 20 baritones, some with silver necks (add 15%) and I have seen one with a silver bell. I think the Kings have strong upside appreciation potential.
Saxello soprano $ 3200 add 15% for
These horns are under appreciated . They are undervalued. Play one in good adjustment and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve used a The Martin baritone for years. They are the best of the vintage baritones. All of the Martin horns have a sweet sound, and a very lush lower end. The horns from 1933 (Handcraft Committee) through the early 60’s (the Magna) can hold their own with anything ever made. There are lots of variations on the Martin theme, and below are the ones that I think you should consider. The early ones are mostly seen in silver, add 15% for gold plate. From the Committee on, they are almost always lacquer. Add 15% for silver, 25% for gold. .I’ve seen a couple of Committee models with sterling silver necks. Add $15% for this feature.
HORNS THROUGH 1933
The name alone inspires reverence. It’s generally agreed that Selmer made some of the very best horns of all time. Some models certainly command the highest prices. Selmer has the only legitimate claim to be the direct successor of Adolphe Sax. I believe that the models before the Balanced Action are overpriced. You can buy two wonderful old Conns for what some people are asking for Selmers of the same era. I have found that most of the action in pre-Balanced Action horns is just talk. There seem to be very few people (outside of a few collectors) buying these horns.
750 – 4450
Alto $ 2400
Alto $ 3400
This small company made around 25000 horns between 1937 and 1982 and have a fanatical following. I’m one of those fanatics. They’re great! There are many variations, but later examples tend to have rolled tone holes, adjusting screws for the stack keys, beautiful engraving, and a sound that’s hard to beat. You see them in lacquer, silver (add 15%), gold (add 20%) and I’ve seen one nickel plated alto.
Soprano $ 2200