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Towa telescope #305

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#1 shredder1656

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 10:27 PM

Hello, is anyone familiar with the Towa model 305 telescope? It comes/came in a large wooden box? Made in Japan. 60x900

#2 M11Mike

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 10:51 PM

Quite common - from the late 60's I believe.  Japanese.  Towa made a number of models - most 60mm - and I'm quite sure they ALL came in wooden boxes (that weren't very sturdy I might add)....but they looked 'impressive'!!!   :-)    You see them now and then on ebay, etc.   Normally being sold cheap and with "issues" (missing parts, damaged, etc.).  Low cost .& simple 965 eyepieces, etc.   Some refer to them as "DEPARTMENT STORE" telescopes as that's where you would often find them for sale, especially at Christmas time.       



#3 Bomber Bob

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 11:14 PM

Towa made a boatload of 60mm F15 EQ refractors.  Oddly enough, you're more likely to see them re-branded as Sears, Tasco, Penny's, etc. than with TOWA on the label.  Optical quality varies, though it seems Towa put more effort into the 305 (60mm) & 339 (80mm) models, which were their top refractors in the 1970s / early 1980s.  I owned a Tasco-branded 339 for years and logged thousands of hours with this scope.  The lens was excellent.  After I upgraded to Meade Research Grade eyepieces, I routinely used this refractor at 80x to 100x per inch of aperture (240x - 300x) -- the .965" eyepieces bundled with the 339 were mediocre.  After about 7 years, I repainted mine to red & black (my high school colors), and put it on a Jaegers mount + tall pedestal:

 

Tasco 80 on Jaegers Pedestal S91.jpg

 

The 305 runs about $100 or less, while the 339 can be had for $200 or less, depending on condition & completeness.  In general, those in the wood cases are older and tend to be better quality than the 1980s versions in the cardboard boxes.

 

 


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#4 shredder1656

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 06:50 AM

Thanks for the info.  I am a bit of an idiot, and semi-accidentally bought one off of an auction site.  I think with shipping I ended up buying it for around $80.  It has the wooden box, and a bunch of EPs.  However, I am guessing it is a mismatched bunch of stuff.  Anyway, maybe it is salvageable.  I have no business messing around with stuff like that, because I have a very limited knowledge about telescopes in general, and classic/just plain old scopes specifically.  My knowledge ends just past the ability to properly pronounce their brand name(s). 

 

Did I give my wife justification for being irritated that I wasted $80, or is it possible that it would be worth that?  I have no intention of "investing", and then selling, or dreaming that I have the next "Antiques Roadshow" shocker.  Just thought it was interesting, and knew that some Towa scopes were diamonds in the rough.  I really didn't think I would win, though.  LOL 


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#5 Bob S

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 07:31 AM

$80 including shipping is a good price. I've had several Towa scopes, and they've all had good optics. I think you got a good deal on it.

Bob


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#6 Bomber Bob

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 08:07 AM

$80 including shipping is a good price.

 

Yep.  If it has that nice Towa 6x30 finder, that alone is worth about half what you paid for the whole scope.  Definitely not a waste of $$.



#7 shredder1656

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 08:35 AM

Thank you, again, to all.

When I paid this morning, it actually ended up being a shade under $60. However, now that I realize I'm actually the new owner, but not yet possessor, I looked more closely at the photos. I think it's missing the finder, and probably the dew shield (if it had one), and the tripod looks like it's metal. Wouldn't the original tripod have had wooden legs back then?
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#8 Marc-Andre

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 09:25 AM

Thank you, again, to all.

When I paid this morning, it actually ended up being a shade under $60. However, now that I realize I'm actually the new owner, but not yet possessor, I looked more closely at the photos. I think it's missing the finder, and probably the dew shield (if it had one), and the tripod looks like it's metal. Wouldn't the original tripod have had wooden legs back then?

Some had metal legs.  I've had the Sears badged Tower, model # 4-6333-A both with wood and metal legs.  Metal can be replaced with wood for greater stability.


Edited by Marc-Andre, 30 September 2017 - 11:45 AM.


#9 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 10:50 AM

Since the deal is done, if you can stand it, wait to see what arrives. You may have done well, or, at worst, only okay, but that would not mean the deal was bad! Most importantly, you (if accidentally!) struck your first deal. If, for $80, or $60, you get $30 worth of parts and hundreds of dollars worth of education, that won't be so bad, either.

After buying Margarita, the Salt Encrusted C8 (a notorious scope on this forum), I realized it was beyond my ability to repair her. Advice on this forum lead me to Duane Beach, for whom refurbishing Margarita became an important project. The finished scope is superb, so the buy was good for both of us. It's way too soon to know the outcome of your purchase. Post pictures of whatever you receive, and we'll work from there.

The best advice I ever read on auctions came, if I recall correctly, from Tim53 (who also referred me to Duane). He recommends never bidding what you think a scope is worth, but only as much as you could walk away from the deal without regret. If you have any regrets upon receiving your new scope, it will have been a reasonably inexpensive lesson, as you did not bid hundreds for a scope worth tens.

It's true that Towas are a mixed lot, but many are quite good. My Jason 313 is a marvelous sleeper. Wait to see what you bought!

#10 Kasmos

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 12:34 PM

Shredder,

Sounds like you bought this 305 off of the Goodwill site

https://www.shopgood...m/Item/43985729

 

I was going to bid about what you did, but I live close enough to pick it up or only pay about $12 for shipping. I wanted to bid on it mostly for the box and the eyepieces, but with two scopes arriving this last week, I didn't want to explain why I needed more stuff.

 

The tripod included is not the original and is likely junk. Like the diagram in the lid shows, It should instead have had an equatorial mount with wooden tripod. Overall there are enough parts and eyepieces to make your purchase worth it on a part by part basis. If you are disappointed with your purchase you should be able to part it out and recoup more than your cost.


Edited by Kasmos, 30 September 2017 - 12:39 PM.

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#11 Bomber Bob

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 12:46 PM

If you are disappointed with your purchase you should be able to part it out and recoup more than your cost.

 

Yes -- those multi-colored eyepieces are highly collectible.  The yellow 20mm Kellner doesn't show up all that often.  Assuming all the optics are in good shape, you should at least break even selling off the pieces.


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#12 shredder1656

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 02:41 PM

Since the deal is done, if you can stand it, wait to see what arrives. You may have done well, or, at worst, only okay, but that would not mean the deal was bad! Most importantly, you (if accidentally!) struck your first deal. If, for $80, or $60, you get $30 worth of parts and hundreds of dollars worth of education, that won't be so bad, either.

After buying Margarita, the Salt Encrusted C8 (a notorious scope on this forum), I realized it was beyond my ability to repair her. Advice on this forum lead me to Duane Beach, for whom refurbishing Margarita became an important project. The finished scope is superb, so the buy was good for both of us. It's way too soon to know the outcome of your purchase. Post pictures of whatever you receive, and we'll work from there.

The best advice I ever read on auctions came, if I recall correctly, from Tim53 (who also referred me to Duane). He recommends never bidding what you think a scope is worth, but only as much as you could walk away from the deal without regret. If you have any regrets upon receiving your new scope, it will have been a reasonably inexpensive lesson, as you did not bid hundreds for a scope worth tens.

It's true that Towas are a mixed lot, but many are quite good. My Jason 313 is a marvelous sleeper. Wait to see what you bought!

Good advice.  I don't mind a bit of work, but beyond cleaning, I have a ton to learn. 

 

I am hopeful that it is a sleeper. 



#13 shredder1656

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 02:47 PM

Shredder,

Sounds like you bought this 305 off of the Goodwill site

https://www.shopgood...m/Item/43985729

 

I was going to bid about what you did, but I live close enough to pick it up or only pay about $12 for shipping. I wanted to bid on it mostly for the box and the eyepieces, but with two scopes arriving this last week, I didn't want to explain why I needed more stuff.

 

The tripod included is not the original and is likely junk. Like the diagram in the lid shows, It should instead have had an equatorial mount with wooden tripod. Overall there are enough parts and eyepieces to make your purchase worth it on a part by part basis. If you are disappointed with your purchase you should be able to part it out and recoup more than your cost.

 

Yep, that is the site.  I apologize if I outbid you. 

 

I actually am not disappointed, but just a little nervous.  I have only just started to engage in this hobby, and am currently up to 5 inexpensive telescopes.  Only two have the stamp of approval.  LOL (nervous laugh)

 

This was one that I thought might be a diamond in the rough, but I really, like I said earlier, have no business dabbling in this side of things.  I would like to learn more about the classics, because ... well, I just like old stuff usually.  My kids think I was born a few decades too late, because I am sort of stuck in the Beaver Cleaver era mindset.  Once I won the auction, I just started worrying about the repercussions.  Thankfully it was only 10's of dollars. 

 

I am actually very excited to have it arrive, and see how I did.  As long as it only needs minor stuff, I intend to keep it, and get it up and running.  We will see.



#14 shredder1656

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 02:56 PM

If you are disappointed with your purchase you should be able to part it out and recoup more than your cost.

 

Yes -- those multi-colored eyepieces are highly collectible.  The yellow 20mm Kellner doesn't show up all that often.  Assuming all the optics are in good shape, you should at least break even selling off the pieces.

 

Are those EPs worth using, or just collectible? 

 

If they have no real value for daily (nightly) use, I could see my wife figuring out a way to incorporate them into our d├ęcor.  She is quite an interior decorator.  I can't remember the name of the show, but I am sure everyone around has seen it, with the husband and wife that rehab houses.  He's a redheaded guy, and she is a dark haired pretty lady with a bit of Asian heritage it seems.  Anyway, my wife, and the wife on that show seem to be cut from the same cloth.  Anything I have seen on that show, when I walk through the room while the show is on, my wife has either done already, thought of doing, or LOVES.  Old colorful, and meaningful items like those EPs would be something she would make into a shockingly cool decoration of some kind. 

 

So, if there is resistance when my sin is exposed, I could sacrifice those as collectibles for her to use, and keep the rest of the stuff to stare at the stars for myself.  Obviously, only if she did not glue them to something, or do something crazy like that.  Kinda like the concept of not needing to run faster than the bear, but only needing to run faster than the slowest person you are with when the bear starts chasing you, or have a pocket full of fresh meat to throw behind you as you run.  Either one or both work for me.



#15 Kasmos

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 03:42 PM

No problem, I held off from bidding.

 

The colorful eyepieces are collectable to people trying to make a complete kit, so I wouldn't go making craft projects out of them. Folks in the classic forum hate to see telescope parts like tripods made into lamps, etc.

 

You are going to need a mount to use the OTA since nothing came to put it on. If you have another 60mm scope it should fit on it's mount.



#16 Bomber Bob

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 03:43 PM

Are those EPs worth using, or just collectible?

 

The yellow KE20 (and there's a green KE22) is a good wide field eyepiece.  The others have small fields of view compared to modern Plossls -- soda straw it's called -- but the glass is better than average for the eyepieces typically bundled with vintage import refractors.  I have a mint set of these color-coded eyepieces that came with my 1964 Sears 6336.  Once in a while, I'll load them up in my Unihex, and use them for old time's sake.

 

Sears (AO) 6 EP Set S02.jpg


Edited by Bomber Bob, 30 September 2017 - 03:46 PM.

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#17 shredder1656

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 04:04 PM

No problem, I held off from bidding.

 

The colorful eyepieces are collectable to people trying to make a complete kit, so I wouldn't go making craft projects out of them. Folks in the classic forum hate to see telescope parts like tripods made into lamps, etc.

 

You are going to need a mount to use the OTA since nothing came to put it on. If you have another 60mm scope it should fit on it's mount.

I totally understand that.  Good to know, and thanks for clearing that up.  I will just hang on to them for sure.

 

Regarding a mount, any suggestions on where to find a decent compatible/inexpensive mount? 



#18 shredder1656

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 04:08 PM

Are those EPs worth using, or just collectible?

 

The yellow KE20 (and there's a green KE22) is a good wide field eyepiece.  The others have small fields of view compared to modern Plossls -- soda straw it's called -- but the glass is better than average for the eyepieces typically bundled with vintage import refractors.  I have a mint set of these color-coded eyepieces that came with my 1964 Sears 6336.  Once in a while, I'll load them up in my Unihex, and use them for old time's sake.

 

attachicon.gifSears (AO) 6 EP Set S02.jpg

 

Thanks, for sharing!  I feel a lot better about buying that scope.  A little disappointed, because I realize that it was not complete like I thought.  It also has some Tasco pieces in the mix.  Regardless, it will be interesting. 



#19 Kasmos

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 04:20 PM

Many of us (including me), have learned the hard way why it's best to buy a telescope as close to complete as possible.

 

Finding a inexpensive good mount can be a little difficult since others are usually hunting too

 

Keep checking ebay, Goodwill, Craigslist, or the classifieds here. You might even find another parts scope without a box and use the best of the two. Then sell off what you don't want and you'll come out fine. It's a pretty common thing to do amongst the folks here.


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#20 Bomber Bob

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 04:40 PM

There's at least 1 Towa EQ-2 for sale on eBay with the 60mm clamshell.  They show up fairly often -- and the Sellers usually want too much.  But as Chuck says, you can always Make An Offer.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 30 September 2017 - 04:40 PM.

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#21 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 07:06 PM

My sense is that this buy may not be what you expected, yet is likely to be good. Assuming the link to Goodwill correctly shows your scope, love those eyepieces! The focuser's draw tube is easily hot rodded to improve its performance, something you may hesitate to do with a finer telescope, so this buy will introduce you to modifying classics. We'll have you remove the single baffle from the draw tube, and then flock the draw tube, to brighten the image and increase the field of view. The changes will not be visible from the outside. Even if the objective stinks, you'll see the improvement, and have learned what to do with (some) other scopes. Between the eyepieces, the other goodies, and learning to work on your own telescope, this buy will definitely be worthwhile!

Are you handy with tools? You could build your own mount and tripod. Classics often get mixed with ATM ("Amateur Telescope Making").

Reminds me of buying Margarita, the Salt Encrusted C8. It came with an unfamiliar eyepiece that turned out to be a 16mm Brandon. Then came the partial let-down, when some said it was an older, less-desire able model. Years later, I met Mr. Yeier, who made it; he said he especially loved that vintage. So, you never know, even when you think you know. Chill and let the box arrive. If you ever buy a similar kit again, you'll be better informed next time, but this time is going to be fun!
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#22 shredder1656

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 08:36 PM

My sense is that this buy may not be what you expected, yet is likely to be good. Assuming the link to Goodwill correctly shows your scope, love those eyepieces! The focuser's draw tube is easily hot rodded to improve its performance, something you may hesitate to do with a finer telescope, so this buy will introduce you to modifying classics. We'll have you remove the single baffle from the draw tube, and then flock the draw tube, to brighten the image and increase the field of view. The changes will not be visible from the outside. Even if the objective stinks, you'll see the improvement, and have learned what to do with (some) other scopes. Between the eyepieces, the other goodies, and learning to work on your own telescope, this buy will definitely be worthwhile!

Are you handy with tools? You could build your own mount and tripod. Classics often get mixed with ATM ("Amateur Telescope Making").

Reminds me of buying Margarita, the Salt Encrusted C8. It came with an unfamiliar eyepiece that turned out to be a 16mm Brandon. Then came the partial let-down, when some said it was an older, less-desire able model. Years later, I met Mr. Yeier, who made it; he said he especially loved that vintage. So, you never know, even when you think you know. Chill and let the box arrive. If you ever buy a similar kit again, you'll be better informed next time, but this time is going to be fun!

That is encouraging.  All of you guys are.  I am more excited the more I listen. 

 

To answer your question, "handy with tools", well, that is a matter of opinion.  Generally, I would say, "yes".  However, more times than not, I find that I am without the proper tool(s), so I improvise.  That does not always turn out so well.  Regardless, it sounds like something I would like to try.  I do not want to ruin this telescope, but it is probably not a head-turner as it is anyway.  Thanks for the encouragement. 

 

I actually was considering the idea of building my own tripod.  At least getting the mount, and making the legs of the tripod. 

 

Once it arrives, I will sort through whatever is there, and post pictures, etc. 

 

I appreciate all of the help.  However, if I become a burden, feel free to cut me loose. 



#23 shredder1656

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 06:26 AM

My sense is that this buy may not be what you expected, yet is likely to be good. Assuming the link to Goodwill correctly shows your scope, love those eyepieces! The focuser's draw tube is easily hot rodded to improve its performance, something you may hesitate to do with a finer telescope, so this buy will introduce you to modifying classics. We'll have you remove the single baffle from the draw tube, and then flock the draw tube, to brighten the image and increase the field of view. The changes will not be visible from the outside. Even if the objective stinks, you'll see the improvement, and have learned what to do with (some) other scopes. Between the eyepieces, the other goodies, and learning to work on your own telescope, this buy will definitely be worthwhile!

Are you handy with tools? You could build your own mount and tripod. Classics often get mixed with ATM ("Amateur Telescope Making").

Reminds me of buying Margarita, the Salt Encrusted C8. It came with an unfamiliar eyepiece that turned out to be a 16mm Brandon. Then came the partial let-down, when some said it was an older, less-desire able model. Years later, I met Mr. Yeier, who made it; he said he especially loved that vintage. So, you never know, even when you think you know. Chill and let the box arrive. If you ever buy a similar kit again, you'll be better informed next time, but this time is going to be fun!

Obviously, I need to wait until the Towa arrives to see the good and bad, but I have my Tasco.  Would it be a better idea to learn to work on a telescope by working on my Luminova?  That way, there might be less of a chance that I screw up the Towa?  I think it would be better to screw up on the Tasco L. if it is possible that that could happen.

 

Also, I will search these threads, but any reading that you would suggest regarding classic scopes, scope refurbishing, or "hotrodding"? 


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#24 shredder1656

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 12:32 PM

I haven't even opened it yet, but the Towa 305 parts and pieces arrived today. My wife received the package, and texted me. I'm excited to open it, even though it isn't a complete scope or in perfect condition.

What would be the best cleaning solution to use? I would guess the objective lens(es) and tube would not be cleaned with the same solution. I believe I've located a mount and tripod, so that's off the list. Other than piecing things together, and checking out the optics, what would be a wise first project with this scope?

#25 AstroKerr

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 10:10 PM

"incorporate in our decor" ?  Are you mad, or just having us on? I'll just look past that, I suppose, Shreddy, because the intent was to please and placate someone loved. I'll chime in with the following:

 

  • You are certainly not an idiot - you are an Astronomizer - don't sell yourself short, Major.
  • It's only not worth what you paid for it if you don't enjoy it.
  • When a wife, partner, or significant other questions your purchase - compare it to something they have spent - lunch with sister, knickknacks, etc. without criticizing their purchase in any way - my expenditures generally come in a few quid lower than Sybil's...
  • Mounts, Tripods and Scopes - they don't have to match precisely - some scopes seem to prefer off-brand or homemade solutions - rings, clamps, clamshells, rails, plumbing pipe mounts, EQs, AltAzs - if it works for you and the scope, then it works.
  • Building your own tripod - is never a bad idea. You will sharpen or gain skills, learn something of the wood, the geometry, tooling, techniques - win-win-win. If the result seems substandard when you're finished, then you're not finished and are free to continue.
  • Let's not forget paint - that's another variable you have that does not affect the optical path and can give you a good feeling of customization - same for changing out chrome for brass or vice versa - those are 'appointments' that you may chose, unless you're going for authenticity - accurate resoration to the original mass-produced standard. It's a telescope, so maintaining (or improving) the performance of the optics can be the only, primary, concern if you wish.
  • It's quite easy, creatively, to do everything the way it was done originally. To my mind, though, that rather fails in a true celebration of the instrument - oh, look, I have an absolutely standard Pickwicker 50, one of hundreds or thousands, devoid of personality - bleh! Your avatar, there, is a joyously singing bird - not a boring pidgeon - should your scope be any less different?
  • To my mind (and this probably and rightly counts for little) you are on a good path - gathering instruments, gathering information, gathering ideas and planning. 

 

Decor - well, what if you acquire a scope missing an objective or that simply can't perform - there's a perfect donation to the decorator! Eypieces missing the lenses or seriously underperforming - same! You turn something of little worth in one world into something of value in another - very good thing! I would venture that to appease the decorator, it would be acceptable to acquire cheapies with the intent to donate to the decorator, pretty them up  - let'er know you did it just for her! 

 

 

Sincerely and with kind thoughts,

 

 

https://www.netflix.com/title/70207411  - Fawlty Towers


Edited by AstroKerr, 21 October 2018 - 02:04 AM.

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