How old is it? And what is it worth?

These two questions arise often on many drum and cymbal forums. When the question is about cymbals there doesn't seem to be a really good place to turn. The Paiste-Only-Wiki (temporarily down) provided good quality info on what series Paiste cymbals are and what the production year is, but no price info was allowed. For Avedis Zildjian and K Zildjian Istanbul cymbals there were no quality online sources for detailed identification of production era, and no proper price info.

We need to know "how old it is" in order to know "what is it worth", but that is only one ingredient in getting a good estimate of price. In addition you need to know condition, and a few other factors.

I've presented work on pricing of Paiste 602s and Sound Creations and have been collecting data on sales since 2005. I've been collecting sales data on Avedis cymbals (since 2104), and Turkish made K Zildjian cymbals (since mid 2013). Price reports are available for Turkish made K Zildjian cymbals and Avedis cymbals. Since I'm actively updating the price pages, be sure to refresh your browser to get the latest version. All my raw data is freely available to the public.

Scope: I'm interested in the professional lines of Avedis Zildjian cymbals, so I've done very little with student and beginner lines. The Avedis work includes the professional level cymbals manufactured by Avedis Zildjian in North America, so does include Canadian Ks, EAKs, IAKs, and modern Ks as well as those 1970s brilliant finish Avedis Zildjian & Cie Constantinople cymbals. If you don't know what those things mean, then don't worry. We'll get to them in due course, but it will take a time. A's before K's so expect some delays.

I've also created an interactive tool for K Zildjian Istanbul trademarks (aka Old Ks) as an experiment in different ways to help people identify their cymbals. The printed timeline is in the book by Rob Cook called The Gretsch Drum Book. Read the two page section by Bill Hartrick which gives the timeline for the K Zildjian Istanbul cymbals based on his research. That's the official version from the source.

When I started doing pricing research I discovered that the timeline for Avedis Zildjian cymbals was in a bit of a muddle and ten years out of date. Although I was mainly interested in price modeling, I needed a good reference to work out the age of cymbals. I ended up having to do it myself, because I did't see a reference which does a good job of showing photos with annotations which explain just what to look for in the different trademark eras. Although Bill Hartrick (the pioneer in this work for both old Ks and old As) has promised a book which sorts it all out, there isn't anything available now. Last I heard we should expect his book about 2020. I've also noticed that there wasn't any nice online information for the 1970s onwards. And last (but most recent) laser serial numbers began in 1994, and I've got a list of those which I've started annotating with the years when different models came in and out. But that's all recent. Time to begin at the beginning.

The original work by Bill Hartrick which introduced the timeline

Click on the link below to download the original PDF file from Vintage Drummer Vol 3(3):14-15 (July 2003):

Dating Cymbals by Trademark by Bill Hartrick

A gallery of Avedis Trademarks and Ink Logos with bigger easier to identify photos

I found the photos in the scanned version of Bill's article too small. I've collected up my own and tried to annotate them with detailed diagnostic info on how to tell the trademarks apart which Bill didn't mention. I've seen too many people stumble at the first hurdle because they don't know exactly which part of the trademark to consider. I've also tried to move beyond just trademarks to considering whole cymbals, so there are also examples of hammering styles, lathing styles, and bells (size + shape). But there are still plenty of trademarks including maybe a dozen Bill didn't describe. I haven't counted recently.

Avedis Gallery

This gallery is a work in progress and I'm still adding both pictures and content. Use the gallery if you have a cymbal you are trying to identify and you aren't familiar with the different trademarks and ink logos. I'm familiar with the production eras so I tend to use the year by year timeline as my quick index into the gallery.

A Year by Year Timeline

Avedis by Years

This is a quick access year by year timeline including which models came in when and were discontinued (as I get to it). For those who are wondering, my inspiration for this is actually the (currently offline) Paiste Only Wiki and I do intend to provide a Model based index, and better cross indexing generally. This quick index is quick because there aren't any images. But they are only a click away.

Have something to contribute to this project? Or a specific question or comment?

You can email me at: oh look a missing image

zenstat aka Steve Black, PhD -- retired statistician and general gatherer of information about cymbals.

site first published 30 August 2014
text last updated 31 Dec 2017 5:20 PM

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