Thank you so much for all of the info. Right to the point!OK well, based on my experience I gotta chime in here.
there is NO difference...as in zero, zed, zilch....between how an RTH 10M performs and how a post '47 non RTH performs...if serviced and set up identically.
Some changes were made....for example the key finish and going to a double-socket neck, lacquer color, etc...but....and here is the skinny:
specifications of 10M's in all of the places it mattered (as far as tone, blowing response go) ...are exactly the same. Body tube, neck tube, tonehole placement, etc. Only thing that changed is the rolled holes, then later, the removal of the Lady engraving, then a bit later the change to an underslung octave key (which resulted in the body pip moving to a different location and a new octave mechanism).
(People might, and have, argued that the build precision changed...so while specifications and design did not (in any way that mattered), the pre-war ones were 'made better'.
It's an interesting theory....but not one that I have noticed. I have done over 100 refurbs of this model, from 30's ones to 70's ones....I have come away with no impression that say, '48-59 ones.... were built more poorly than pre-war ones).
Soooo...IF....your reasoning leans towards buying RTH because 'they sound better'....that is, in my experience.... b-u-n-k.
Does this mean I am saying folks who claim this are liars ? No, hardly.
I believe what it indicates is: there was variability from horn to horn in vintage horns, more so than modern (generally speaking). So...yup...pick up one 10M...play it, pick up another one side by side, play it....and in fact a discerning player may find a difference. But the difference comes from variables other than the RTH and Lady.
The differences come from the fact that they are two different 10M's, and add to that the HIGH likelihood that they have also been set up differently and may NOT be in exactly the same play condition as far as leaks, etc. So people try two or four, not set up the same, not in same playing shape, very likely NOT at the same time and next to each other or in sequence....and they conclude that the tonehole surface is the variable which results in the differentiation of performance and sound.
And agin, those very FEW players who actually DID try them side by side, set up exactly the same and in exact same tack, are simply experiencing the 'natural variability' between one individual horn and another.
10M's are classic models...but having refurbished around 100, all eras....their prices today (particularly RTH ones) are outrageous, period.
To the degree that I state: an RTH Lady 10M in good, serviced, playable shape... is NOT a $3000+ Tenor sax.
I reiterate - I like these, they are classics. But they are not worth $3000, they just aren't.
So...to answer OP....NO, 'springing for' the RTH versions....
...is absolutely NOT worth it (unless to you...being able to say "mine has RTH's"...is worth $750-1500 in and of itself).