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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Found a VI alto, seller claims it to be original but there are a few things putting me off that are making me it could have been relacquered a long time ago. Any opinions are much appreciated!

First picture - many parts of the bell logo look like they have been smoothed out on the ends of the lettering
Second picture - same thing, smoothing out of the letters on the patent labels
Third picture - the “MARK VI” lettering looks off, especially the R and K

The engraving seems to be very sharp throughout and the overall lacquer colour is correct but it’s just these few things throwing me off, looking for some other opinions on this. Thanks!
 

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IMHO since that is an extensively played horn with hardly any lacquer left, it should be judged purely on it's playing characteristics. The originality of the small amount of lacquer left is debate able and largely irrellevant to it's playability or lack there of. Collector horns with minimal wear is where originality comes into play. Good luck! Looks like a nice horn, probably a player since somebody obviously loved playing the hell out of it in the past.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
IMHO since that is an extensively played horn with hardly any lacquer left, it should be judged purely on it's playing characteristics. The originality of the small amount of lacquer left is debate able and largely irrellevant to it's playability or lack there of. Collector horns with minimal wear is where originality comes into play. Good luck! Looks like a nice horn, probably a player since somebody obviously loved playing the hell out of it in the past.
I do agree with you that it should be judged on playability, but for the sake of the seller stating that it is original lacquer who has priced it accordingly, I would like to justify whether or not it has been relacquered or not in order to let the seller know. Thanks
 

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I do agree with you that it should be judged on playability, but for the sake of the seller stating that it is original lacquer who has priced it accordingly, I would like to justify whether or not it has been relacquered or not in order to let the seller know. Thanks
To be honest, I don't get why it would matter for a horn with so little lacquer left as to whether it's original lacquer or not. Maybe you can raise that with the seller as well. As noted by Brian, whether a vintage horn has its original lacquer or is a relacquer only really matters to collectors, and collectors will ignore horns that do not have at least 90% of the lacquer intact.

In my opinion, horns with less than 75% (just my own personal threshold -- the actual threshold might actually be much higher) of their original lacquer belong in the same category as relacquered horns for purposes of pricing. Sellers should not be able to piggyback on collector pricing factors when the horn is not a collector item in the first place.
 

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The only reason (but not exactly a rationale) is that a relacquered horn needs to have been buffed, prior to relacquering ,with consequent loss of minute amounts of material which some folks persist thinking it would make a difference ( stop it , it doesn’t :soapbox: ) to the sound.

Having said this.

I don’t think this horn has ever seen a buffing wheel after it came out of the factory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the help milandro. Any other opinions on the lacquer originality much appreciated as well
 

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I agree with all of the above. Don't worry about whether it's a relac. If it was done many years ago, so what, it hasn't been over buffed which is the only potential problem (if it occurred on the tone holes). My opinion is that it's original anyway. The ONLY thing that matters is the way it plays. As others have said, it looks like a 'players horn' from the condition so I wouldn't hesitate (assuming that you can play it before you buy). It's quite possibly the best blowin' alto on the planet! (After my 106xx ;) )
 

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My 1954 tenor has that color lacquer. My 1957 doesn't have hardly any lacquer, but it's that color too. I think lighting affects the color in photos a lot though.
 

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In my opinion, horns with less than 75% (just my own personal threshold -- the actual threshold might actually be much higher) of their original lacquer belong in the same category as relacquered horns for purposes of pricing.
Which is irrelevant when discussing market value. As for the horn in question, I'd like to see more of it. The pearls, the feet of the tone hole guards, etc. Heck, even the case if it's original.
 

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Letter stamping being smooth is fine, if it's at the tip or end then that means the stamping wasn't applied deeply, rather than being a sign of buffing.

I very much care if it's original or relaq, if I'm paying original prices.
 

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I very much care if it's original or relaq, if I'm paying original prices.
As would anyone who is actually spending the money. The folks that come to these threads expressing disdain for how relacquered horns are valued as if subjective standards of playability is all that should matter might be correct in an esoteric sense, but it's of no help to those with economic concerns.
 

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Which is irrelevant when discussing market value. As for the horn in question, I'd like to see more of it. The pearls, the feet of the tone hole guards, etc. Heck, even the case if it's original.
As would anyone who is actually spending the money. The folks that come to these threads expressing disdain for how relacquered horns are valued as if subjective standards of playability is all that should matter might be correct in an esoteric sense, but it's of no help to those with economic concerns.
Read my post again. My point was not about how relacquered horns are valued, but about how horns with barely any "original" lacquer are valued. There's a difference. Supposedly knowledgeable people acceding to erroneous market valuations is one major reason for the prevalence of distorted market pricing. I clearly acknowledged that original lacquer horns have a collector's premium, but those with barely any lacquer left shouldn't get to piggyback on that premium. And yes, in my experience one can be successful negotiating down an item's price by "educating" the seller on the erroneous aspects of the pricing matrix applied to the item in question.

You can't just cherry pick parts of people's posts and respond to the cherry picked parts. Milandro's response made sense. Yours, not so much.
 

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I don’t think that a horn that has lot most of even all of its lacquer is normally considered in the same category ( by the buyers) as a relacquered horn. But you may very well think so, as a buyer, and turn down the chance to buy this and other horns. This is the beauty of the market and of the “ market price”. It doesn’t exist “ per se” it is determined by every sale.

The whole realacquered thing was started by the collectors supposition that buffing (necessary to relacquer anything ) has a negative influence on sound because it does remove minute amounts of metal.

All of this, is of a questionable influence on sound production, but if buyers think so, whether it is of any substance or not, the buyers determine the price, right or wrong, if they all think so.

But I think, that not all buyers would equate the condition that this horn is in to a horn that has been more or less buffed ( I don’t think there is any evidence of that from the pictures). Of course a horn with almost no lacquer left looks pretty much te way the “ antique “ look horns (or unlacquered horns ) are trying to look like (and failing) in a way that in the business of all vintage things is called having developed a patina, by use and age.

This horn has definitely patina and it would be a crime to polish it.

In my honest (if not modest) opinion this looks very attractive and if I like it, others will like it too. If one persone like this more than someone else, when offered for sale, you have the chance that this will positively influence the price. If nobody likes it this will influence the price too. It’s that simple.
 

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I don’t think that a horn that has lot most of even all of its lacquer is normally considered in the same category ( by the buyers) as a relacquered horn. But you may very well think so, as a buyer, and turn down the chance to buy this and other horns. This is the beauty of the market and of the “ market price”. It doesn’t exist “ per se” it is determined by every sale.

The whole realacquered thing was started by the collectors supposition that buffing (necessary to relacquer anything ) has a negative influence on sound because it does remove minute amounts of metal.

All of this, is of a questionable influence on sound production, but if buyers think so, whether it is of any substance or not, the buyers determine the price, right or wrong, if they all think so.

But I think, that not all buyers would equate the condition that this horn is in to a horn that has been more or less buffed ( I don’t think there is any evidence of that from the pictures). Of course a horn with almost no lacquer left looks pretty much te way the “ antique “ look horns (or unlacquered horns ) are trying to look like (and failing) in a way that in the business of all vintage things is called having developed a patina, by use and age.

This horn has definitely patina and it would be a crime to polish it.

In my honest (if not modest) opinion this looks very attractive and if I like it, others will like it too. If one persone like this more than someone else, when offered for sale, you have the chance that this will positively influence the price. If nobody likes it this will influence the price too. It’s that simple.
I don't even think that the average buyer (eBay, etc.) outside of SOTW knows enough to factor in the buffing and its supposed effect on the tone. Most buyers I've interacted with attribute the variance directly to the lacquer itself, and not the process leading up to the application of the new lacquer. Heck, this what I was told by a supposedly seasoned (and famous) pro with whom I interacted recently. It's just one of those typical things were someone puts out an idea out there and then that idea spreads and becomes more and more embellished as it spreads.

I also tend to disagree that collectors concern themselves with how the vintage horn's sound is affected by relacquering. The premium placed on original lacquered horns by collectors is attributable to the horn being as aesthetically close as possible to its original state.

In any event, I do agree that the buyers comprising the market determine what is market, but there is such a thing as market correction (on a macro level) and negotiation (on a micro level), both of which are driven/determined by the availability of accurate information to one or more or the parties.
 

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I wouldn’t call a mark Vi prospective buyer an average buyer under any circumstances. Most of them are conservatorium students these days or they are older players who never could afford the saxophone of their dreams when they were younger and now , often around retiring age, buy a Mark VI with some inheritance or retirement money.

I know of many owners of these horns whom may not be aware of any of this because thy bought their horns prior to 1980 before the vintage craze had developed.

Most buyers, whom can afford and would be interested in buying a Mark VI , would be, by now, aware of the influence on value of “ original lacquer” and what (supposedly) buffing does to a saxophone (and have their opinion on it). All you have to do is going on line or to a shop and they would immediately educate you to why you need to spend so much more if the horn looks so much worse than if it looks so much better.
 

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I wouldn';t call a mark Vi prospective buyer an average buyer under any circumstances. Most of them are conservatorium students these days or they are older players who never could afford the saxophone of their dreams when they were younger and now , often around retiring age, buy a Mark VI with some inheritance or retirement money.

I know of many owners of these horns whom may not be aware of any of this because thy bought their horns prior to 1980 before the vintage craze had developed.

Most buyers, whom can afford and would be interested in buying a Mark VI , would be, by now, aware of the influence on value of “ original lacquer” and what (supposedly) buffing does to a saxophone (and have their opinion on it). All you have to do is going on line or to a shop and they would immediately educate you to why you need to spend so much more if the horn looks so much worse than if it looks so much better.
Well, we can agree to disagree. In my experience, it's not that much different from buyers thinking that a silver plated horn sounds different from a gold lacquered one. In my experience, any supposed sonic differences are attributed to the lacquer itself, and what goes on prior to the application of the lacquer is not common knowledge.

Also, in my experience, buyers of these horns are not limited to the segments you described. In fact, as far as I know, people who are going to conservatories/music schools typically buy modern horns rather than vintage ones. I have had a lot of buyers from Asia who are more casual type players who have bought into the (mostly deserved) hype surrounding VI's and have a lot of extra cash lying around and have been told or have gleaned the same erroneous information. To a large extent, and outside of the collectors, these are the buyers who are driving up the prices of vintage horns as well as certain mouthpieces. My highest sales amounts have certainly come from buyers in this market segment.

Anyway, I won't derail the OP's thread any further.
 

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Unless there is obvious damage the whole original laq issue is BS.

I will bet money that you can take a dozen players who think they hear a difference and give them a blind test...they will fail.

These are the same guys who think they can feel one or two thousandths on a mouhpiece tip. Go and measure their pieces...they are different than what they think.

...The same guys who think a mouthpeice that looks good plays good.

OP...Im not knocking your post...because of a bunch of crazed people original vs relaq matters.
If its me...I will buy the good relaq and save a boat load of cash.
 
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