How to Date Zildjian Cymbals

Written by richard kalinowski
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Zildjian Cymbals are popular for their durability and excellent resonance. They represent the top tier of drum equipment and are collected for both their history and continued usability. It's a treasured find to come across a vintage Zildjian Cymbal. Unfortunately, older Zildjian Cymbals do not typically come with a date stamp or searchable serial number, so it's difficult to tell if that rare find is truly a vintage Zildjian or just a newer model that looks old because of overuse or improper storage. The best way to date a Zildjian Cymbal is to study its trademark logo, imprinted on every model. The trademark's appearance can narrow down generally a cymbal to the appropriate decade, but a professional is needed for an accurate yearly or monthly appraisal.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ruler or tape measure

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  1. 1

    Measure the logo. Though not always a steadfast indicator, logo size can get you started in the right direction. Be sure to measure from top to bottom. Logos measuring at about 1 1/8 inches are typical of Zildjian Cymbals of the 1930s, the late 1940s and early 1950s. Logo stamps measuring 1 1/4 inches are typical of the early 1940s, late 1950s and most of the 1970s. Most of the 1960s logos were about 1 1/2 inches tall.

  2. 2

    Study the Arabic text. You don't need to know Arabic for this step; it's the appearance of the Arabian text that is important for dating, not its meaning. The text features three dashes or dots beneath various letters. Think of these like the dots English uses for the letter "i" or "j," except the Arabic dots appear below the text. A series of three dashes is indicative of the 1930s cymbals. Three consecutive dots are typical of the 1940s through the early 1950s, and again through all of the 1960s. The late 1950s and the 1970s do not feature any dots or dashes, but inspect carefully to make sure the dots didn't just get scratched off.

  3. 3

    Examine the engraving. An important final clue for dating is how the text is applied to the cymbal. In the 1930s, text was deeply engraved evenly into the cymbal. In the 1940s and 1950s, the text was engraved near the centre but was shallow near the edges. In the 1960s and 1970s, the trademark logo was shallowly engraved; unless thoroughly inspected, it can first appear to be a simple ink transfer.

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