The fact that the veneers on both speakers don’t match in the front makes me think that it was done aftermarket. On better speakers it's usually book matched.
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It may have been an attempt by someone to refinish these and ended up looking like what you have now. It looks fresh and not old from the pics that’s why I say that. Have you had a chance to play them yet? How do they sound? For 750 you did alright if they still play and don’t have any defective drivers or crossover issues. How are the binding posts?
No chance to play them yet, but I was assured they are in good working condition. As for the binding posts I'm not entirely sure as I haven't seen them in person, but there are a couple close up pictures and as far as I can tell they look good. I'll update you once I test them out. So the consensus is that it's aftermarket, any idea on the wood?
They are unique for sure, I like them, I agree not factory finish.
It is unusual they are not book-matched, however, whoever had it done might have a woodworker friend who had a limited amount of this very interesting veneer, not enough for book-matching.
My woodworker had a small ’flitch’ (veneer sliced in layers from the same tree) of Rosewood, he had saved for many years for a small special project (saved from before it became illegal to import Rosewood). Just enough to make my speaker enclosures book-matched.
I sent the link to my woodworker, asked him what it is, I’ll let you know what he says.
Discoloration from strong daylight?
Will you be using them near windows where daylight could effect the wood color over time?
Mine are in strong morning daylight, and Rosewood is susceptible to discoloration problems. I remember my woodworker telling me he added a slight tint, then the final finish to prevent dis-coloration. If yours will be subject to strong daylight, you might want to talk to a woodworker about their finish, or just keep an eye on them, if any sign of change, they are worth protecting.
good listening to those beauties, Elliott
Did anyone notice that the grills on the Bass section are not in the same location on each speaker. I owned 802's in the late 80's and I don't remember the Binding Post looking like that. Also, the "Head" should be wired with a coiled XLR type cable. My cable failed and it took months to get a replacement from the Factory.
Definitely someone has refinished/refurbished them. I would exercise caution before buying. Remember, these speakers are around 30 years old. B&W's sounded a lot different back then compared to the Modern "Nautilus" type tweeters found in today's 802's.
Thank you all for the kind words and ideas, thank you especially Elliot for your tips about keeping them nice and actually getting your woodworker on this. As for the bass grills I'm pretty sure it's just the picture, I have several more pictures that I didn't include that showed the grills at the same level, also a few zoomed in pics. I can include some of those too if it'd please you all.
They are striking in appearance! I like it. B&W did use some exotic woods on some of their later 800 series speakers. I remember seeing pairs of them in Tiger's Eye veneer. Very beautiful. Probably is aftermarket, but notice nice touches to detail as rear plate/sticker ID badges are intact on back. As others have said if they are in good original working condition, you have scored a good find for $750.
Sorry for the delay, the universe did not want me to get these speakers up and running. Took a week to find the time to get them from the auction house, then I had to order banana plugs, then when everything was plugged in no sound came from the speakers, then a new pair of speaker wire and a little while of figuring out my Carver doesn't like banana plugs later, here I am. Even with my dinky Carver 6200 Receiver and not so fantastic wire they sound fantastic. I put on a Lee Ritenour "Direct Disk" and it came to life, especially at higher volumes. So as far as I can tell they work perfectly AND look great (matching pair too (: )