I appreciate all of the responses in this thread. They have led me to one conclusion. Tone is a purely subjective thing. What sounds good to one person may not to the next. Let your own ears be the judge and play an instrument YOU like, and to hell with what anyone else thinks.
BRW instruments may be more desirable from a collectible and investment stand-point as BRW becomes more and more scarce, but as I am a player more so than an investor, playability and tone (or at least pleasing tone to my ears) are the bottom line for me.
The collectibles that I have (well only 1 really, a 1950 D-28) gives me enormous pleasure to play, and as an added bonus it will hold it's value and increase in time from what I paid for it, and in the end will be a nice legacy instrument to pass on to other generations in my immediate family.
I always wanted an older Martin dreadnaught, partly for the mystique, partly for the historical value, partly for the BRW, and for it's tone, playability, character and soul. But it took a long long time, and a lot of playing on various older ones, till I hit paydirt and found one with the qualities I just described. They are not all created equal, even the old ones. You have to be lucky, and in the right place at the right time, and have the coinage to back it up. Not easy factors to have come together all at the same time......so I feel I was meant to have this instrument. I have played newer Martins that were bassier (thanks to scalloped rather than the straight braced versions from 1946-1976) and had great tone, but where the ''magic'' seems to be in this old beat-up 28, is the responsiveness. You literally just tickle it softly, and in an empty room, it fills the room. Hard to find that in a newer instrument.