The categorical answer is: The Saxophone that you can play the best and comes closest to your conceptions of sound is the best one for you, no matter when it was manufactured.
There are a number of opinions as to this range of serial numbers or another being better or worse than the other. Those holding these opinions will have their reasons for doing so. We at Legendary Saxophones do not see it like that. From our perspective, the popular “5-digit” (five-digit serial number) horns do not necessarily play any better than a late Mark VI with a 200-thousand number.
Our observations have shown us that a Saxophone changes its sound and play-characteristics with increased age. There are no secure scientific findings on why this is so. We suspect that the body changes in the course of aging, the molecular structure of the brass “relaxes.” Every tone played on an instrument was and is a vibration, and every vibration permutates the material structures. The surface tension changes, the Saxophone is easier to play. This is why an old Sax that was much played generally has a more expansive and freer tone than a brand-new horn, and precisely this, among other things, is the source of this instrument’s charm.
Now it can be asked why the five-digit serial numbers are more in demand and are higher priced. We believe this to reflect an historical development. When SELMER put the (unjustly) vilified Mark VII Series on the market, there was a rush for used Mark VI horns.
At that time the high Mark VI serial numbers were still quite fresh. Early serial numbers, in turn, had already had years of playing behind them. In light of the abovementioned permutation theory (of which we are thoroughly convinced), it would only be natural that the 5-digits would have been in greater demand. Perhaps this mythos still holds sway today.
In the end, however, and as already suggested under earlier points: Come and try-out for yourself which Legendary Saxophone is right for you, no matter the serial number. Sometimes what you get out of it will be completely different from what you expected – if you allow yourself to engage it with an open mind😉