Sold on September 8, 1994 at London’s Christie’s auction for $144,500, an ordinary Grafton alto is the world’s most expensive saxophone. This molded, cream-colored acrylic plastic sax was a stark contrast to Thailand’s $60,000-worth saxophone made of crystal and encrusted with diamond and gold, yet it remains the most valuable sax ever sold. What’s so special about this Grafton alto sax?
It was left behind by the Jazz legend named Mr. Charlie Parker or the Yardbird. Charlie was the brilliant saxophonist that invented a genre of music known as Bebop. At age 10, he began playing and practicing for more than 11 hours a day using a beat-up horn his mom had bought for him for $45. While this early devotion to playing sax didn’t please his neighbors, it paid off for Charlie later in his career.
His fans and aspiring musicians remember him for his ingenious sax improvisation and composition as if he had been touched by the gods of music.
If you’re wondering what happened to Charlie’s legendary memorabilia, it returned to his homeland in Kansas. The American Jazz Museum secured the high-valued piece for Jazz musicians and aficionados to see. Indeed, the most valuable sax fell into the right hands.
Jazz buffs should really check out this legacy. However, since you can’t own this piece, you might as well look into eBay to find the brands and types you’re looking for. If you steer clear of vintage Selmer saxophones, you can get a top-rated alto sax for $275 plus shipping cost.
Take it from Charlie, it’s the playing that counts not the stellar musical instrument.