Conn New Wonder “Transitional” Gold Altos

One of the best known features of the Conn New Wonder “Transitional” horns is an elaborate, art-deco-style engraving. For Conn’s gold-plated horns, though, this was turned up to eleven.

Split-bell key model, "Transitional" engraving. s/n Unknown. From intofoc.usmontreal @ eBay via Bassic Sax Pix.
Split-bell key model, “Transitional” engraving. s/n Unknown. From intofoc.usmontreal @ eBay via Bassic Sax Pix.

“Transitional” refers to the period between roughly 1930 and 1935 where Conn was making a variety of key and bore changes. The era ended when the tenor gained single-side bell keys, at approximately serial number 262500.


Single-side bell key model, "Transitional" engraving. s/n 245xxx (1932). From intofoc.usmontreal @ eBay.
Single-side bell key model, “Transitional” engraving. s/n 245xxx (1932). From intofoc.usmontreal @ eBay via Bassic Sax Pix.

The other very obvious thing to see is an evolution from the New Wonder-style engraving, through the “Transitional”-style engraving to the “Naked Lady” engraving found on the next Conn models (Standard/Artist).


Single-side bell key model, “Naked Lady” engraving. s/n 250404 (1932). From saxophone.org.
Single-side bell key model, “Naked Lady” engraving. s/n 250404 (1932). From a href=”http://saxophone.org” target=”_blank”>saxophone.org.

Note that even the “Transitional”-engraved horns shown above have slightly different engraving. I’m sure there was a degree of customization with all “Transitional”-engraved, gold-plated horns.