1953 SML “Rev. D” Tenor Saxophone in “Gold Plate”


SOLD and overhauled to the new owners specifications.  Want one for yourself?  Get in touch and tell me to find one for you.


This is a 1953 Strasser-Marigaux-Lemaire (SML) tenor saxophone, with original Perma-Gold finish, in very good physical condition.  It is scheduled for an overhaul, and the price includes this work.

Ok, ok- so I can almost hear you wondering: Why did you put “Gold Plate” in quotes?  What is Perma-Gold?  Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it does not look as if SML made many (if any) saxophones of this era that were actually plated in real gold.  Instead, if the horn looks like this one- a combination of buttery-yellow matte and flat finish- the horn is actually the  Perma-Gold finish,  which is a zinc dichromate plating over zinc (not gold over silver).  It wears off in flakes like lacquer rather than slowly wearing through like plating and was a finish used only by SML, though it can still be found used in other non-musical instrument applications today.  It doesn’t tarnish and it doesn’t polish, and it will burn with excessive heat just like lacquer.  Unless they actually DID use any real gold plate (which I am not convinced they did outside of a few exhibition horns) this was their top-of-the-line finish, and it looks the part, real gold or not.

These horns are commonly called the “Rev. D“, though SML did not call them that.  The “Revision D”  is the horn whose design won the Gold Medal at the International Music Expo in the Hague in 1953 (same year this horn was made!) and were therefter stamped “Gold Medal”.  So the “Rev. D” is very close to the Gold Medal, and is the model that actually won the Gold Medal.


Whew!  So now we’ve got the education and disclaimers out of the way about the “gold plate” and the “Rev. D” moniker, let’s talk about the saxophone itself.

This is a very finely crafted instrument, with excellent design- perhaps some of the best ever in a saxophone, with several features such as the spring design and the neck receiver that were such major improvements they should have become standard.  The quality of build is second to none, and the sound is big, rich, and powerful- think like if Conn was built in Paris, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of the SML sound.

This saxophone features adjustment screws on the stacks, a G#/C# articulation lever (meaning you can quickly connect or disconnect the G# from the C# with the flip of a lever), a removable neck tenon tensioning ring, and rolled toneholes.

This particular instrument is in very good condition with its original case.  The finish is in good condition with very light wear, the neck is completely straight and undamaged, and all original parts are present, even the adjustment screws which often seem to go missing on these horns.  The only blemish is a resoldered body side tenon receiver, which was sloppily done (and which will be redone by me) and has thus burned some of the Perma-Gold finish.  However, it appears whatever made the previous repairman resolder the receiver was not a structural issue or related to damage, as other than the resolder itself the area is completely undamaged.

This saxophone comes in its original case, and will be overhauled before sale with domed metal resonators.  If you would like to reserve it before I complete the overhaul, you can have it overhauled to your particular specifications.


To purchase this item (or to make a trade offer), please click the “send inquiry” button next to the price and send me your shipping address. I will respond promptly with methods of payment accepted and a total cost including shipping.