Current Topic: My father recently passed and had several instruments which the family is liquidating. He was not a very good musician but he was able to afford good instruments. What he couldn't afford was to have bad quality instruments make him sound any worse then he naturally was.
There Are Three Mandolins...
The first mandolin is of moderate quality and was originally purchased for accompanying him while on vacation. My father didn't want to take any chances with his favorite mandolin but he did occasionally like to play while on holidays so he acquired it for that purpose.
It is a Lone Star brand eight-string and seems in reasonably good condition.
The second mandolin is slightly unusual. It is made by Dotras Cordoba and is a twelve string. It comes in a soft canvas case and has a repair tag accompanying it with no description of the repairs. The tag/repair may not even belong to this mandolin.
There is also some noticeable problems. The string end-plate cover is loose and held on by masking tape. The mechanism that holds the strings to the body is in good condition just the cover plate is loose. There is also some tape holding down the pick-guard which itself is a self-adhesive plastic. It has delaminated over time and the tape prevents it from spreading.
Then there is the Gibson mandolin. It was one of my fathers prized possessions. Even though he didn't play it very well he really enjoyed playing it. That's all that really counts. Isn't it. Anyway the serial number is 40200 placing it at approximately 1917. I think he purchased this in the early 1950's (post WWII).
It is in the original Gibson case. It has an original finish. It has all original parts.
However... It is missing one of the curly features on the peg-board. I really don't know when this happened but the repair is reasonably good. Since it only a decorative detail if you didn't know it was supposed to be there you wouldn't know it was missing.
There Is A Harmolin...
This is an unusual instrument. Like an auto-harp but with a completely different sound. Kind of like the difference between a piano and a harpsichord. Instead of dampening (muting) the strings not played for the chord it strums only the strings of the chord. Leaving the previous chords still resonating. In conjunction with a global (all strings) dampener the musician has the extra ability to control the decay of the melody to suit the feeling of the musician.
The Harmolin comes-with original chord-guide, tightening tool, music,holder, rolling-picks and stencils. It appears to be complete and in original and very good condition. It additionally has a shipping label on the back of the case that places it as old as 1954.
There Are Several, Mostly Wooden, Recorders...
There is several old (60's) mostly wooden recorders. They are primarily made by Dolmetsch and Kung in is a variety of ranges.
Mostly they are in very good condition with maybe loose fitting cork seals. Many also have original canvas cases.
There Are Two Clarinets...
The first clarinet is complete. It is a Buffet in its original hard cover case. The serial number (which all elements share) is 103250. Interestingly this one appears to have been seldom played. The favorite it seems was kept in the alto saxophone case. Unfortunately I can't determine that all pieces are Buffet. Some are clearly marked and the others are unidentifiable.
The confusing part is that the questionable one has a Buffet hard case also. In any event both these clarinets could be cleaned and refurbished to very good condition.
There Are Two Saxophones...
Both saxophones are Selmer Mark VI made in France. There is one tenor and one alto both in hard cases and complete with multiple mouthpieces and tools for crafting and shaping the reeds. In Addition the alto has an extra Selmer soft case. The serial numbers are M.215747 (tenor) and M.208757 (alto) placing them both circa 1974.
The alto saxophone is brilliant. The finish is original and in excellent condition and the engraving is exceptionally sharp. It's hard to believe this is a lacquered finish. Maybe it's gold plated I cant tell but it is a remarkably gold color.
It has an original Selmer hard case in near new condition and is covered with a Selmer soft cover that is also in very good condition. There is no noticeable wear and the keys all appear to be in functional condition. There are also multiple mouthpieces and tools for custom shaping of reeds and for cleaning and maintaining of the instrument.
Even though it is in rare condition it hasn't been played in maybe twenty years so I would expect it will require a thorough cleaning and refurbish.
The tenor saxophone is also brilliant. The finish is original and in excellent condition. Again the engraving is crisp and the finish has no scratches or visible wear except where noted below.
It has a hard cover case that is not identified as Selmer so it is most likely another brand. The case is in good condition but has some noticeable wear. It could also use a good cleaning.
There is however some very localized wear on this sax. The neck has been stored in a cloth inside the horn. As a result there is some noticeable oxidation (patina) inside the bell as well as all around the neck. There is also a minor ding and some wear below the thumb rest.
So... Other then the few insignificant flaws this saxophone is essentially in very good condition. Certainly not mint but still almost unused. Well except for the pads probably which will most certainly need replacing.
For both of these saxophones the primary reason they are in such good condition is that my father played them infrequently (thank goodness) and he never traveled with them. Basically... From the time they were purchased in the mid 1970's they never left the house.