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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
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Well, the square sticker is missing off the back of the horn that was originally placed down near the serial number, on the back of the horn. That is one indication that it could be a relac, unless someone peeled it off.

It doesn't look as bright as most relacs in the photos, although not really as dark as an original lacquer either.

One plus is that the lacquer is worn off of the engraved area which happens on original lacquered The Martins.
 

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In my opinion, although it is always very difficult to say from pictures, this is an old re-laqured horn. The lacquer of these horns is much darker and normally on those horns that have retained the original lacquer is cracking and in very bad state.........which is the reason why most have been delacquered, or relacquerd .

Having said this (I don’t have a problem with relacquered horns!), there are other and more concerning things, like trace undenting work that was not entirely perfect and some posts that were pushed in.

All in all, I think this horn is not a bad horn but I find it a little expensive all things considered.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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It is a relac...look at the engravings on the bow. They are completely washed out. The ones on the bell look OK, but Martins had deep engravings and could survive a lot of buffing.
 

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I think that it is a relacqer. I also think that it is a nice horn and a price I have seen others go for.

I dont place much importance on the lack of a sticker. Someone buying the horn new would probably have removed it, just like we remove stickers on new stuff now. I have a near mint Martin, though not this old. In comparison its obvious. Ask for super close ups of the engravings.
 

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It's a 60+ year old horn. And it's a Martin, famous for dodgy lacquer. No way is that original finish. The seller says it's original but then says he doesn't play the sax or any other instrument. How would he know what a relac looks like? On top of that, the BIN price is way too high, especially for a horn that will need additional work. My crap detector is blinking a yellow warning light.
 

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The photos aren't clear enough to tell for certain, however keep in mind that Martin engraved their horns AFTER lacquering them, so there should be no lacquer whatsoever in the engraving itself.

These are very thick walled horns with lots of meat on them, so don't let a properly done refinish deter you from a potentially good player's horn. DO factor that into the actual price paid if applicable to this example however.

As many know, this is my favorite make/model tenor.:)
 

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Old relacquer. I look for dent removal under the lacquer.

I'm pretty sure I see dent removal on the bottom bow underneath lacquer, the neck tenon has been resoldered, and not cleanly. Low Eb keyguard foot was soldered back together, rather than removing it and brazing it together properly. The post for the low C was resoldered back in place without lifting the dent up, even though it's not too hard to get to it when the Eb keyguard is removed, which should have been done during the initial fix. Looks like an old school owned instrument that's seen some tough love through the years, or a player who needed the horn to make their living, and couldn't afford to go a night or two without it.

The gap between the Eb pad and the tonehole worries me, too. It might just be a spring unhooked, but the tonehole could be warped... signifying more problems on the sax that could be expensive to repair properly.

EDIT: The more I look at the picture showing the close up of the Eb key, the more I see scaring me away from that horn. I wouldn't pay anywhere close to what it's currently going for.
 

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I am going to buck the trend....I think it's original lacq. Martin lacq discolored in that manner...coffe-esque blotches and streaking here and there. The general hues there are along the lines of Martin lacquer.

The serial numbers on the neck and body do not show any indication of pooling.

The bow engraving pic is too far away to definitively say it is pooled. And.....MOST III's lost their stickers long ago. The absence of one in and of itself doesn't point to anything in particular.

I would not pay that money for it because it has some dings and needs a repad and a cleaning. If it were fully playing, that would be a current market price for it.

But I do not think it justified, based on the pics, to definitively claim it is a relacq.....
 

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If I were going to guestimate, I would error on the side of a relacquer. You can perceive lacquer in the engraving, and although the zig zag engraved outline areas are pretty sharp (as is the lettering), the linear engraving within the flower pedals shows signs of having been buffed. On originals, this is very crisp also.

At the very least, it has definitely had some dent work done around the bow area at any rate. I agree that it is priced too high given the current market and these red flags.
 

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........badly done
 

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I'd guess relacquer, but the bigger concern is the newer dents and the old wrinkles. The bow looks to be covered with wrinkly repair, and still has more dents, bent posts, possibly resoldered or open joints around the tone holes.
The dents between the strap ring and the body brace are odd, maybe a bad attempt was made to straighten the body where the brace attaches?
 
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