Safe to use an old Sumiko Talisman Virtuoso B?

I bought a VPI HW19 / Souther Linear tracker some time ago, surprised to find it came with a Sumiko Talisman Virtuoso Boron cartridge.  The seller ( a reputable shop) warned me that the cartridge was old, and he couldn't verify it's condition.  he mentioned the possibility that the suspension could be old and dried out, could even fail and drop the whole cantilever out, allowing the cartridge to scrape along the record (if I understood him correctly).  I think he was trying to cover himself from any liabillty, he didn't even try to sell me a new cartridge.  I did try the cartridge, and it worked, but I replaced it with a Clearaudio Maestro Satine (installed with the supplied weight plate, due to the Souther low mass arm).  I don't remember how it sounded relative to the Clearaudio.

I'm wondering if I'd be better off with the Talisman, and if the whole suspension scenario is a real concern.  Has anyone heard of such a thing?  I'd hate to ruin a prized old record. 


I have a Talisman A and I've read where the suspension could be suspect on older carts.  Not sure if the Virtuoso is the same engine, but I think if it rides okay should be good to go.

Mine went out to Joseph and he never mentioned anything but it seems to me it does ride a bit low.  I'm sure if it was bad he would have mentioned it.

If it's a direct field cart it's worth saving and I would send it out for inspection/retip.

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Send it to VAS for a checkup. Steve is great and can give you an honest, informed decision in short order, assuming he can work on it. 

I bought a used Dynavector DV20XL or something like that and it had collapsed suspension. The bottom of the cartridge was scraping on the record.  But, for that brief moment, it sounded sublime. I ended up getting it fixed by Andy at The Needle Clinic for a few hundred back in 2011. 

I am not clear from your post whether you tried to play music with your vintage cartridge. In any case, while I have never heard one myself, this is a very highly regarded cartridge. If it works and plays music and you’re happy, there is no need to do anything further, or to spend any money on it. Just enjoy it. I think you are correct in thinking your dealer was just trying to cover his behind. I have many cartridges that are older than that cartridge, and have never been worked on by Andy Kim or VAS, or any other guru, and they sound wonderful. I can’t see any way in which having a check up would help a problem that may not exist.