Saxophone Forum

by Rafael Pessoa
(2 posts)
6 years ago

Late 1800's Ferdinando Roth Alto Sax

Could some one please help me find out more information about this sax, how old, rare and valuable it can be in the market for collectors? It's in excellent condition.


I could find only this information about Ferdinando Roth:


he label on the garland reads "Premiata Fabbrica / Ferdo. Roth Milano."  Roth was born in Adorf, Germany in 1815 and died in Milan, Italy in 1898.  He worked first for Pelitti, and later as a foreman in Prague and Vienna.  The establishement of his Premiata Fabbrica in Milan is given variously as 1838, and 1842.  Roth instruments were exhibited in Florence (1861), Santiago (1875),  Milan (1881, 45 brass instruments, and 1894).  An 1878 city directory lists the address at vis S. Giovanni in Conca 9, Milano. In 1892 a one-page catalogue was issued, "Premiata fabbrica d'instrumenti musicali in ottone e legno Ferdinando Roth."   In 1894 he advertised as a specialist in saxophones and claimed to be the original supplier of Aida trumpets made according to Verdi's instructions.  In 1894, blind and in his eighties, he put his son-in-law, Antonio Bottali, in charge and on his death in 1898 the firm became Roth & Bottali.


Ferdinando Roth invented the Rothphone:


he is very well mentioned in this research, as the probably the most important sax maker of his time in italy:



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  1. by bjroosevelt
    (47 posts)

    6 years ago

    Re: Late 1800's Ferdinando Roth Alto Sax

    Great to see rare instruments like this on the web, but I wouldn’t post too many pictures of it. Definitely a collectors piece.  Suspect it would go for more than most horns due to its rarity.  Where there isn’t a frequent market for an instrument, it is tough to not have to rely on the basics of Adam Smith’s economics - It is worth what someone would pay for it.  Even if one of these sold for $25,000 5 years ago, if there are no willing buyers for it today, you will be hard pressed to get $5,000.  And if a conniseour is deperate for that one last missing piece in their collection, they will fork over $100, why ask $25,000.  A few options to consider for selling.

    1). Connect up with some top quality sax shops to discuss if they could broker a deal for you with a connoseur of instruments.  The conniseur may be a collector, a musician, a museum or a university.  If you want top dollar, give them a commission structure with incentives for getting to certain price levels, not a flat commission percentage.  You want your sales team to be jacking up that price as high as possible. Remember, it is not how much they take, it is about getting the maximum amount into your pocket.  

    For example:  10% straight commission plus an extra $2,000 if you get to a $25,000 price might be the difference between selling the horn for $10,000 and selling the horn above $25,000. 

    2) Work with an auction house such as Christie’s to appraise and sell.  These guys have good access to the ‘market of wealth’.  

    3). If you know the sax market pretty well yourself, you could start making phone calls and float some prices out there.  Start with a high price, and based on the responses you hear in your first few conversations, adjust your request.  Say you are soliciting offers.

    It is very unlikely that you would get close to a true value for something like this on e-bay, as it is the wrong market.  Yes, there are collectors out there who troll e-bay, but they are looking for bargain-basement pricing on an instrument that might be worth something.  There are a lot of people who put things on e-bay that have no clue what they are worth. 

    This could take some time. 

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