Two outstanding 1950s saxophones and the holy grail of electric guitars are among the items going under the hammer at a speciliast auction tomorrow (Wednesday, January 31).

The saxophones - each being sold with an estimate of £3,000-4,000 plus buyer’s premium - are part of a small collection of musical instruments in the sale, which belonged to the late Alan WW Fenny, a successful businessman from the North East who was once the largest employer in Stockton.

Music was of great importance to Mr Fenny throughout his life, from playing in a band whilst serving as a pilot in the RAF, to playing with the Haverton Hill Silver Band and the Cleveland Pipes and Drums. The saxophones were purchased at Boosey & Hawkes Ltd in London, shortly after his marriage.

The alto and the tenor saxophones are prime examples of the Selmer Mark VI, long considered to be the gold standard of saxophones which were played by the likes of John Coltrane, Kenny G, Stan Getz, and Sonny Rollins.

The Northern Echo: Tenor Saxophone Mk VI by Selmer – Estimate: £3,000-4,000Tenor Saxophone Mk VI by Selmer – Estimate: £3,000-4,000 (Image: TENNATS OF LEYBURN)

The legendary Mark VI, which was in production from 1954 to 1974, was renowned as the most ergonomically designed in terms of hand and key positioning. It set the benchmark for the instrument and was copied by numerous other instrument makers.

The two present examples date from 1955, a golden era of handmade instruments, and are sold with accompanying original invoices and documentation. 

Further instruments from Mr Fenny’s collection will also be included in the sale.

The Northern Echo: Alto Saxophone Mk VI by Selmer - Estimate: £3,000-4,000Alto Saxophone Mk VI by Selmer - Estimate: £3,000-4,000 (Image: TENNANTS OF LEYBURN)

Scientific & Musical Instruments sale, hosted by Tennants of Leyburn, also includes a rare 1963 Pre-CBS Fender Stratocaster, considered by many to be the Holy Grail of electric guitars. It has an estimate of £10,000-15,000, plus buyer's premium.

The Fender Stratocaster was first designed in 1953 by Leo Fender six years after he had established Fender Guitars.

His first guitar, the Broadcaster - later renamed the Telecaster - was criticised for being too square and uncomfortable to use. The Stratocaster was his response, with its sleek curves and contoured body to fit snugly against the musician, and a host of new features that influenced the design of electric guitars for generations to come.

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The present example is being sold by a former professional musician from the North East, who played in a band in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The Northern Echo: Fender Stratocaster Guitar Serial No. L11885 (1963) – Estimate: £10,000-15,000Fender Stratocaster Guitar Serial No. L11885 (1963) – Estimate: £10,000-15,000 (Image: TENNANTS OF LEYBURN)

He purchased the guitar new from Kitchen's in Leeds and took the instrument to New York and Mexico as well as on tour around the UK. The body of the guitar was re-finished in the early 1980s in the same Fender 'Daphne Blue' by Jim Cairns, guitar technician to Chris Rea.

  • For more details and to view fully illustrated catalogue of the sale, visit