A Hohner President Alto Sax For Auction

This entry is part 15 of 18 in the series Hohner President Saxophones

Many of us are guilty of overvaluing our possessions. Somehow we think that the stuff we have is so valuable, that people will pay us top dollar for it—economy and reality be damned.

The Most Expensive Hohner President Seen To Date

Today I saw a new ad on eBay for a Hohner alto saxophone.

Hohner President alto saxophone, sax case, siilver, gold, red, black, vintage German,

Source: alpinosmash

When I saw the price, I thought it had to be a typo. The seller likely just added an extra “0″ at the end. Didn’t he? But as I read the ad I realized that it likely wasn’t a typo at all, and that bidding really was to start as high as the ad showed.

This is what the seller had to say about his über valuable, über rare, Hohner President, alto:

Vintage Hohner President Alto Saxophone

Year of production 1963

Silver Body,laquered keys

Serial number: 10309

With high F# key

mouthpiece: Prof P.Colletto Forli Super Swing Nr.3


Fully functional, only neck cork is damaged, it has to be replaced.

I bought the sax in Istanbul in 1989. I have played till 1995 since I left Turkey.

I broguht the sax to Romania in 2001 where I had lived 15 years but never played again.

It stayed in its box 17 years. The body (silver) has to be polished. I did not polish it since 1995.

Mouthpiece cap is missing.

This saxophone is not only an instrument, it is an vintage piece of art for collectors. As far as we know, there is only few remained from beginning of 1960′s with these series in the world.

You will receive what you see on the pictures.

Starting bid:

US $4,000.00

So here are the pictures. I’ve included them all here, although many of them are showing the same thing.

Source: alpinosmash

You know, I would have liked to have seen some pics of the left side of the horn. That would have been a bit more useful than 5 of the right side, with all the accessories.

The Reality

Getting down to the facts that alpinosmash mentions in his ad, let’s take a look at them. He states the horn was made in 1963. I think not. According to the serial number chart that has been compiled on Hohner Presidents, this alto is from 1961.

I thought perhaps there was something über special about the Colletto mouthpiece. However, the Mouthpiece Museum page that the seller provides the URL for, mentions nothing distinctive about them. All the Museum says about these pieces is:

Professor P. Colletto was an Italian musician, educator, and mouthpiece maker who lived in the town of Forli in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

The horn might be fully functional, but it does need to go to a tech for a check-over. There are a number of rods that are sticking up, because they’ve worked their way loose over the years. There’s likely other stuff we can’t see in the photos as well. It’s just part of what you have to budget for when you buy a vintage sax.

This saxophone is not only an instrument, it is an vintage piece of art for collectors. As far as we know, there is only few remained from beginning of 1960′s with these series in the world.

As far as there being only a few of these Hohner altos remaining, I’m not sure were alpinosmash got this information. If he Googled his mouthpiece, I would have thought he would Google his saxophone. This would have most likely landed him on my website’s Hohner page. From there he is only 1 click away from the most comprehensive Hohner image gallery on the Internet. There he would have seen that early 1960s Hohner Presidents are anything but rare. (Hey, I’ve even got 2 of them myself. ;)  )

These Hohner President saxophones are among the most undervalued vintage horns out there right now. I don’t know why. That said, even vintage JK Tonekings and The New Kings aren’t fetching much in the marketplace as they did pre-2008. That’s why I can’t understand why anyone would think that their Hohner alto would even come close to 4K. But hey, live and learn.

In Europe, where these horns are much more appreciated and valued, they will sell over the $1,000 US price range—but still not near $4,000. I wish alpinosmash could get this for his horn, because it might set a trend for Hohner President sales in the future. Who knows, maybe they’ll suddenly become just as valuable as Selmers. As an owner of both an alto and a tenor Hohner, I can only wish this would happen.

Alas, this is not likely to come true. Most likely alpinosmash will end up dropping the price mid-auction, re-listing at a lower price, or keeping the horn because he won’t sell it for less.

Needless to say there are 0 bids on this silver plated, Hohner President alto sax, with lacquer keys. The auction is scheduled to end on February 12. Stay tuned, let’s see how this turns out.

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is www.bassic-sax.info. If you’re looking for sax info, you should check it out too.There’s lots there!

The Result Of My Latest G.A.S. Attack: The Hohner Alto

This entry is part 14 of 18 in the series Hohner President Saxophones
Hohner President, alto, saxophone, Max Keilwerth, German, vintage

Hohner President alto, Serial No. 114XX

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I got my Hohner President alto earlier this week. I bought it from my SOTW buddy JayePDX, who owns 2nd ending vintage musical instruments. Jaye regularly has some very interesting vintage saxophones for sale through his shop.

For example, it’s not unusual to see Hohners, Oscar Adlers, and Max Keilwerth horns up for sale through Jaye’s store. Until a couple a weeks ago I was very well-behaved, but when I saw the Hohner alto he had, I couldn’t help myself. I had to give into temptation. It was literally the alto I had been looking for.

Truth be told, I had bought a President alto before, but it is in need of an overhaul and some body work. However, since I haven’t heard a Hohner alto in person, and didn’t know what it would sound or play like, spending $1,000 on the restoration work seemed like a lot of money on an unknown.

I decided instead that I would bide my time and wait until a really good one came up, that didn’t need much work, and that I could buy close to home.

When I saw Jaye had a couple for sale, I jumped on the chance to buy one. I lucked out, and got a killer little horn.

  Source: H. Kahlke

This two-tone alto is from 1962 (serial 114XX), and is for the most part in very good shape. It is missing its original end cap and round thumb screw that tightens the neck, but since I have a donor horn as it were, that won’t be a problem.

I’ll have my tech David look after the slight crease in the neck for me. I’ve said it before, but you should see what David can do with straightening out the crumpled bells of French horns. This little crease will be nothing for him.

It will also be interesting to see what the neck of my other alto will sound like with this horn. I know with my tenor, getting a second neck from David’s donor horn was amazing. The sound difference on the instrument is huge. Playing my tenor with the 2 different necks is like having 2 different saxophones. I’m curious if the differences will be as profound on this alto. Or perhaps it won’t sound good at all. Since my other alto is with David at the moment, I haven’t been able to try it out yet.

This little alto can sing very nicely. It’s intonation is what I expected, and the compensation is similar to what I have to do on my Toneking.

I haven’t yet played it against my main alto: a Conn 6M, so I can’t honestly compare the power and volume. Nor have I played it against my late-model Mark VI, which can be a real screamer when it needs to be.

However, I have to agree with Kumar’s comments about the build: the President does feel very small under the hands. The right palm keys especially, would be difficult to play if the player had large hands or fat fingers. Since my hands aren’t exactly tiny—I’m 5′ 9″ tall—I do find my right hand cramped. It will take me a while to get used to playing this little beastie.

Although this alto didn’t come in its original case, my other alto (serial # 48XX) did. The case is indeed small, and could easily be mistaken for something other than an alto saxophone.

Smallness aside, this is one tough little horn. It is built like a tank. There is no mistaking it for anything other than what it is: A high quality, German, professional model saxophone. Its core tone-centred sound, lets you know that what you’re hearing is a mid-century, German saxophone, quite possibly Keilwerth in origin.

Once David has all the school horns out of his shop in September, I’m going to take this little sax in and get it tweaked to just the way I like my horns set up. Until then, I’m going to get more familiar with this horn, and see what exactly it can do compared to my other altos. I suspect Kumar might be correct, and that it doesn’t have the same power as a Mark VI, or even more modern horns.

If you’d like to read more about Hohner President saxophones, check out the Hohner Page on my website. If you’re looking for a serial number chart to date your Hohner, you’ll find one here on Saxpics. If you’d like to read more about Max Keilwerth, the designer of these instruments, check out the page on my site that describes what he did before he worked for Hohner.

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is www.bassic-sax.info. If you’re looking for sax info, you should check it out too.There’s lots there!

Needed: A Neck For A Hohner President Alto

This entry is part 12 of 18 in the series Hohner President Saxophones

I received an email a few days ago from a saxophone player by the name of Daniel. Daniel was doing research on a horn that he has, and happened to come across my site. The saxophone he was looking up: a Hohner President alto.

Unfortunately his alto has been missing its neck for a long time, so Daniel emailed me to ask if I knew where he could get a replacement neck for his horn. I was fortunate enough that my tech had a President tenor donor horn that was only about 1,000 numbers newer than mine.

Although I wasn’t missing the original neck from my horn, I now have 2 necks for my tenor. Each gives my President a very different sound, which is really like having 2 horns in 1. Both necks play in tune, but sound very different from each other.

This got me thinking; it’s very likely that there are altos out there that are beyond repair—just like my tech’s tenor was. I’ve suggested that Daniel post to sax discussion boards, but I offered to write a blog post for him as well.

So if you have a neck for a Hohner President alto, but no horn to go with it—or a horn that is trashed beyond repair—and would consider selling the neck, fire off an email to me please. I’ll get you in touch with Daniel.

Daniel’s alto is serial #134XX. I didn’t ask about the finish, but I don’t think it matters a whole lot.

If you’ve got an unused alto neck lying around collecting dust, please get in touch with me. Through our combined efforts maybe we can get another Hohner alto playing music again. Thanks!

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is www.bassic-sax.info. If you’re looking for sax info, you should check it out too.There’s lots there!