If you're talking a Mark VI (which is pretty much the benchmark when you're talking sax values), it pretty much cuts it in half (i.e., a 5-digit relaq could be worth only 4K while a minty example with original lacquer goes for 8-9K).
For non vintage Selmers, I don't think cutting value by half is true. I see many offered and sold for 1/4 to a 1/3rd less on Martins, Conns and others. Selmer MKVI's and SBA's have greater collectable value. Therefor, original condition is worth more.
As long as the sax isn't "butchered" by the relacquer, it seems to me that the decrease in resale value is only relevant if you plan to resell the horn. If you plan on keeping it and you like it it, who cares if its a relacq.
My 5-digit mark vi was relacquered many years ago before I got it. Now it looks like crap. But it plays good. (I don't but it does.) I've wondered whether having it chemically stripped, relacquered, and re-engraved (using only the best services available, of course) would increase or decrease its value given that it is already a relacquered horn. But I don't seriously consider it. I wouldn't want to risk doing anything that might affect how it plays.
Al, that would probably further detract from the value if you were up front about the history of the horn when selling it or having it appraised. I've heard it here from a few folks that the fewer steps there are between original condition and the present, the better.
stripping and bright dipping seems to be fairly appealing for dealing with relacqs, the bright dip stops the red or green rot and gives you the same result as stripping it.
notb sure about a price though
From my recent experience I can say that relacquering definitely decreases the value of any horn. The Super 20 tenor that I recently sold is a prime example. I bought it in 1974, in terrible condition. I had it completey overhauled, to include a relacquer, by the best shop in Kansas City. They did a wonderful job. The engraving was till sharp, and the horn played great. Over the years, I had several offers for that horn from local pros and instuctors.
But when I recently decided it was time it was time to let it go, I found that most people lost interest when they found out it had been relacquered. It seems to be one of those things that people take on faith: "Relacquering ruins a horn".
Of course it can "ruin" a horn, if improperly done, but it doesn't necessarily have to.
Kritavi bought my Super 20 tenor. I'd be interested to hear his thoughts on whether the relacquer ruined it.
It's simple take a look at the gauge of the brass at the tone holes. There's really not much there to work with. If you take it down even the slightest with a relacquer than you've altered the instrument in a negative way. There's nothing positive about doing this to a horn.
And I remember reading so many ads for overhauls including a relacquer even back 10 -15 years ago as well. Now they are becoming rarer and the reputable guys won't even think about doing this.
It's not the 'relacquer' per se that does the damage - it's the buffing/polishing. The hip thing to do now is to chemically strip the old lacquer and dip it for tarnish removal, wash, dry, and clear coat. This way the horn still has the old look but you can live with it. Another way is to lightly bead-blast to give it the matte look, then lacquer or plate. The blasting does not remove metal and hides pitting or other irregularities that would have been buffed out with a conventional relacquer. The final way is good but also controversial - hand polish, then lacquer. This could be done a hundred times without any noticable loss of detail, but the surface won't look 'new'. The key to it is to remove all residue of the polish and oxidation before coating, or it won't last long. If you ever have the springs removed for any reason this is a good time to at least go over the horn, clean it up and get rid of any corrosion/discoloration. You can do it with the springs in but you will get painfully stuck many time by the needle springs. Of course, you could just strip the lacquer and figure on dipping it every year to clean and remove tarnish. This could basically be done for many, many years without removing enough brass to make any difference.
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