I remember dreaming of owning an AP scope 25 years ago, when my first views of Saturn were through an AP 6" f12 Super Planetary that the local astronomy club president owned. That was the beginning of my interest in visual astronomy.
In January of this year that exact same scope became available. The original owner had passed away several years previous and the scope was later donated to the club, but the astronomy club wanted an easier to use scope for their domed observatory. The scope had been poorly cared for and I was able to acquire it and a Losmandy G11 mount, which had also been the original mount for the scope, for $700.
The front lens surface was in bad shape, the coating having been damaged over the years by improper cleaning and who knows what other abuse. Fortunately, the tube was dent free, although there was an assortment of paint chips and scratches. It had the 2" Japan sourced focuser that was offered in the late 80's, which was also in poor condition.
I contacted AP about the condition of the lens and after some photos and several emails, Roland agreed to recondition the lens. Three months later, and for the surprisingly low charge of $450, I was able to pick up the lens which looked like new. The only words I got from Roland were that it is a "very fine lens". No test specs were given, just a "very fine lens".
I have since replaced the 2" focuser with a beautiful 2.5" Moonlite focuser with motorized focus. I suppose I'll try to touch up the paint this winter.
I've been out almost every week for the past couple months using the scope and I'm frequently astonished by the planetary detail I see, which is usually somewhat fleeting with the marginal to poor seeing conditions we usually have in eastern Iowa. On those few nights when the seeing is good, it is amazing and easily out performs scopes ( SCTs ) twice it's size.
I couldn't get much info about the lens from AP. I believe the 6" f12 Super Planetary scopes were triplets, made in 1986 and 1987, but I don't know if it is oil or air spaced. It is number 64 in the run of those scopes. According to one forum post, it seems possible that the NASA glass was used, although I don't know if that really matters to it's performance.
Something unique is that the scope has both Roland's and Marg's signature on the tube. Apparently, the original owner was a good friend of theirs, as Marg commented that they almost never sign their products.
Funny how things work out in life. The very scope I first viewed Saturn through and that got me started in this hobby. The scope that I dreamed of having, though knowing I could never afford. I now own that very same scope.