Preliminaries

I've been monitoring selling prices of Avedis Zildjian cymbals as part of a pricing study. My focus is mostly on what are called "old As" which are those produced before the 1980s. As I get time I'll be collecting some data on cymbals from the 80s and more recent years, but for now it is just 1970s and earlier.

My sample size is not yet big enough to do the sophisticated analysis I can do with Paiste 602s and Sound Creations which I have been tacking for a decade. And I'm still working out the best way to make my results easy for non statisticians to use. But based on the analysis I have done so far, it seems worth releasing what I've got because it already helps show what's happening. I'll be coming back and updating this page from time to time as I record new sales, and come up with improved reporting.

These prices are for cymbals which don't have any major flaws. Major flaws are: serous keyhole, serious bell cracks (aka spiders), edge cracks, cracks along the tonal grooves, etc.

The links to the definitions for these categories (including pictures) will be added shortly.

My analysis is also based on completed sales, not on "asking" prices. A distribution for sales price is given, along with the "expected" price which is estimated from the median of the distribution. Given that actual sales figures cover a wide range, how do you know where your cymbal sits in that range? These are some of the factors which determine where a cymbal sits in the expected price range:

Condition matters. If the cymbal is in excellent condition it will likely get more than one which is showing wear, other things being equal. Small edge dings, tiny bell cracks (which can happen with these given the smaller mounting hole), nicks, scratches, etc. lower the price, but I don't have enough data on by how much just yet. For 18" and bigger, "thin is in" so lighter weights tend to fetch higher prices. But note that weight ranges for the 1950s aren't the same as the 1980s so it gets a bit more complex. This is also why the translation of a weight (usually expressed in grams) to terms like "thin" or "medium" -- loses the original weight information. I collect weights when they are available and am also adding to that side of the equation.

The following information is divided up into sections by diameters. You can jump directly to the diameter of interest: 26" 24"  22" 20"  18" 16"  15" 14"  13" and smaller. Note that these are "notional" diameters in some cases because before the mid 1950s cymbals aren't always the exact inch size. They might be slightly undersized (eg a 19.75" ride is called a 20" ride), and occasionally slightly over. And if you have a cymbal which is some in between size like 17" or 21", then you can use the section for the next larger and next smaller cymbal to see what might be an expected range. If my sample sizes for these less common size get large enough I'll put in a separate section for them.

In the analysis which follows we look at what production era the cymbal comes from when the sample size allows this. We do this because production era is a factor in the expected price. In order to have large enough sample sizes for analysis I'm only dividing cymbals up into major stamp eras (e.g. Trans vs Large) rather than distinguish the 5 sorts of Trans Stamps and 3 different Large Stamps. I haven't separated out the Pre Trans Stamps at present either. Note that which trademark appears on a cymbal is only part of the story in understanding production era, because the trademark stamps are applied after the cymbal is created. Sometimes the delay is in years and you end up with a 1960s production era cymbal with a 19670s stamp. In these analyses I refer to "stamps" as if that is the whole story, but that is just a shorthand for "production era as estimated by all available information".

All statistical and graphical analysis is done in the R statistical system.

If you don't know what these eras are, then you have a bit of catchup reading to do here

26"

Here is a list of the weights (grams) and stamp era for 9 26" cymbals I've recorded. These are all 1950s. Although many people seem to think that larger diameters were not available in the old days, in fact offerings for ride cymbals from 18" to 26" appear in the Zildjian Catalog of 1948.

3835 Large Hollow Block
3849 Trans
3939 50s (Small?)
4037 Large Hollow Block
4500 Large Hollow Block
4620 Trans
4755 Large Hollow Block
5103 Trans
unkn Large Hollow Block

The expected price for a 26" 1950s cymbal is $500 plus or minus $50. Although the sample is low (8 sales) the prices seem fairly consistent.

Analysis date: 12 Jan 2016

24"

Here is a list of the weights (grams) and prices:

3050 $200.00
3886 $280.69
3830 $295.00
3100 $300.00
2882 $300.00
3175 $349.00
4222 $350.00
3835 $375.00
3140 $385.00
3150 $400.00
3540 $450.00
2882 $500.00
2930 $550.00
3830 $550.00
2948 $700.00
2786 $1,149.00 <<-- this is an exceptional 1950s example

The expected median price is $380. Half sell for between $300 and $450. I haven't got a big enough sample to report these by different stamp eras. These sales include 7 cymbals with a 60s stamp, 3 Large Stamp Hollow Blocks, 1 Large Stamp with the 3 dots, 2 Trans, 3 late 50s. So 24" cymbals are found in a variety of production eras.

Analysis date: 12 Jan 2016

22"

Here is an overview of the prices for 22" Avedis Cymbals by Stamp Era. I'm introducing a shorter convention for names here because it is better on graphs. L is Large Stamp S is Small Stamp T is Trans Stamp.

Image: 22" A Price by Era

images/22-price-by-era.png

The above is a plot of prices for 22" cymbals divided by Stamp (Trademark) Era. This is a box-and-whiskers plot and it may not be familiar to you. So here is a little introduction to what boxplots are and why they are a nice way to see what is going on in a set of data.

After examining the data, I grouped together the three Large Stamps into one category for reporting, although they are separate in the raw data. Similarly, all the Trans Stamps are reported together. The median price for n=73 sales is $250 with half selling for between $180 and $338. The average price is higher than the median (the average is $20 higher) because the average is unduly influenced by a few high value sales.

In terms of statistical analysis, there isn't a significant difference between the 60s and the 70s, or the Small Stamps. Large stamps are significantly higher in expected value (p<0.05) and Trans Stamps are higher again (p<0.001).

The expected expected price for the different eras is:

When you don't know the era: $250
Small, 60s, 70s expected price: $187
Large expected price: $250
Trans expected price: $530

In my sample most Large Stamps were Hollow Blocks, so the expected price for Large Stamps is going to be your best estimate for Hollow Blocks. I don't know why my sample for 22" Large Stamps is so dominated by Hollow Blocks compared to the other two sup types.

The era of a cymbal predicts about 47% of the price, but there are more variables at play. We now turn to the effect of weight.

Image: 22" A Price by Grams

images/22-price-by-grams.png

This graph shows the relationship between price and weight in grams. There is a significant relationship between price and weight, with lighter cymbals tending to reach higher prices. However, this pattern is confounded by the price which Trans Stamps generally attain. Trans Stamps are both lighter on average and fetch higher prices on average, so it is hard to tease apart what portion of this is due to weights and what is due to being a Trans Stamp.

Of the 6 sales which exceeded $400, 5 of them are Trans Stamps and one is a Large Stamp (a Hollow Block or L1 as it happens). And the highest price went to a Trans Stamp which is very light for a 22" cymbal: 2080g.

Weight predicts about 30% of the variation in price on its own. Stamp Era predicts about 47% of price on its own. But note the 30% contribution for weight is not additional to the 47% contribution of stamp era. Fitting a joint model with both stamp era and weight as predictors allows us to see if there is an independent contribution to price from being a Trans Stamp beyond just Trans Stamps being lighter. The joint model shows being a Trans Stamp (p<0.001) and lighter in weight (p<0.001) are both predictors of higher price. So there is a contribution from being a Trans Stamp beyond just being lighter. The joint model explains 57% of the total variation in price.

Image: 22" A Grams by Era

images/22-grams-by-era.png

Within any era there are lighter and heavier cymbals, and the distributions overlap a bit. But against this background, there is significant variation in weight across the Stamp Eras. Trans Stamps (p<0.001) and Small Stamps (p<0.05) are the lightest, then Large Stamps (p<0.05) are a little heavier, then 60s and 70s are the heaviest (and not significantly different from one another).

Image: 22" A Price by Year

images/22-price-by-year.png

There are no significant price differences between the two years in the data. The three outlier values (separate circles) in 2014 are those expensive and light Trans Stamps again.

Analysis date: 13 Jan 2016

20"

Here is an overview of the prices for 20" Avedis Cymbals by Stamp Era. I'm introducing a shorter convention for names here because it is better on graphs. L is Large Stamp S is Small Stamp T is Trans Stamp.

Image: 20" A Price by Era

images/20-price-by-era.png

The above is a plot of prices for 20" cymbals divided by Stamp (Trademark) Era. The median price for n=72 sales is $172 with half selling for between $120 and $280. The average price is higher than the median (the average is $30 higher) because the average is unduly influenced by a few high value sales. And those few high values are amongst the Trans Stamps. This is the same pattern as seen in the 22" cymbals.

In terms of statistical analysis, there isn't a significant difference between the 60s and the 70s, or the Large Stamps. Small stamps are significantly higher in expected value (p<0.05) and Trans Stamps are higher again (p<0.0001). This pattern is a little different from the pattern in 22" cymbals where Large Stamps sold for a little more than Small Stamps.

The expected expected price for the different eras is:

When you don't know the era: $172
When you know it isn't a Trans: $140
When it is 50s but not Trans: $150
Trans expected price: $332

The stamp era of a cymbal predicts about 58% of the price, but there are more variables at play. We now turn to the effect of weight.

Image: 20" A Price by Grams

images/20-price-by-grams.png

This graph shows the relationship between price and weight in grams. There is a significant relationship between price and weight, with lighter cymbals tending to fetch higher prices. However, as with 22" cymbals this pattern is confounded by the price which Trans Stamps generally attain. Trans Stamps are both lighter on average and fetch higher prices on average, so it is hard to tease apart what portion of this is due to weights and what is due to being a Trans Stamp.

With the exception of a single Large Stamp (a Hollow Block or L1 as it happens) all the prices of $340 and above went to Trans Stamps. So yes there is lots of variability within each production era, and yes there is a clear price advantage to Trans Stamps above and yes Trans Stamps tend to be lighter weights.

Weight predicts about 31% of the variation in price on its own. Stamp Era predicts about 58% of price on its own. But note the 31% contribution for weight is not additional to the 58% contribution of stamp era. We can fit a joint linear model with both Stamp Era and Grams as predictors and see that being a Trans Stamp does have a unique contribution to higher price (p<0.001) in addition to lower weight making an independent contribution (p<0.05). A model with both variables in place predicts 61% of the price variation.

Image: 20" A Grams by Era

images/20-grams-by-era.png

Within any era there are lighter and heavier cymbals, and the distributions overlap a bit. But against this background, there is significant variation in weight across the Stamp Eras. Trans Stamps (p<0.01) are lighter. The other medians show some variation but significance tests suggest caution in making much of the apparent differences given the sample sizes and variability involved. Perhaps when my sample sizes are larger.

Image: 20" A Price by Year

images/20-price-by-year.png

There are significant price differences between the two years in the data. Prices in 2015 are lower than in 2014 (p<0.05). In broad terms $200 versus $150. However, after fitting a model with both Year and Stamp, this this difference turns out to be due entirely to more Trans Stamps being in the 2014 sample.

Analysis date: 14 Jan 2016

18"

I'm introducing a shorter convention for names here because it is better on graphs. L is Large Stamp S is Small Stamp T is Trans Stamp. In addition, in the 18" size some Pre Trans Stamps begin to appear in the sample. Four of them in total. After looking at an analysis separating them out, they have been put in with the 7 Trans Stamps. It seems that 18" is as large as one can expect to find in pre 1945 cymbals, and there aren't very many of those. They fetch high prices presumably because they are relatively rare. But in terms of weights and prices they behave like Trans Stamps.

Image: 18" A Price by Era

images/18-price-by-era.png

Once again, Trans Stamps (and Pre Trans) get higher prices (p<0.001). Stamp Era predicts 55% of the price variation in the model. But in the case of 18" cymbals this isn't about weight differences. It's all about being a Trans Stamp.

The expected expected price for the different eras is:

When you don't know the era: $103 (and half sell for between $70 and $162)
When you know it isn't a Trans or Pre Trans: $100 (and half sell for between $66 and $131)
When it is 50s but not T or PT: $129 (and half sell for between $75 and $150)
When it is 60s or 70s: $90 (and half sell for between $75 and $150)
Trans or Pre Trans expected price: $312 (and half sell for between $206 and $387)

Image: 18" A Weight by Era

images/18-weights-by-era.png

There aren't any significant differences in the weights between the different stamp eras. Lots of variation, but it isn't patterned by Stamp Era.

Image: 18" A Price by Grams

images/18-price-by-grams.png

In this view you can see that once again Trans Stamps (and Pre Trans Stamps) are the only ones over on the right side of the graph getting the high prices (over $250).

The other thing visible in this graph is that there are a group of 18" cymbals which are 1700g and above over on the top left side. These are your heavier 18" cymbals and they were probably intended as ride cymbals or for marching band use. But the majority of the 18" Old As fall in the 1200g to 1600g range.

There is one outlier way down at 1060g. This turns out to be a Trans Stamp T3 Pang so it is actually a one off special case. Pangs tend to be quite light. But I know of one other 18" Old A this thin which is the usual shape (not a Pang), and it doesn't appear in my sales records. It is a Large Stamp LS2. Sometimes I keep records in my database just for the weights or other information even when a sale hasn't taken place. But these don't make their way into this sort of specific analysis.

There is no evidence for any price difference between 2014 and 2015.

Analysis date: 14 Jan 2016

16"

16" is the first diameter where we have both Hi Hat pairs and single cymbals. There are 5 pairs of Hi Hats in my records so far. These are:

PT 887g 1077g $545
60s 1020g 1417g $125
70s 1100g 1400g $175 ink: TOP HI-HAT
S 816g 906g $232.50 ink: TOP HI-HAT
60s 1080g 1153g $125

For separate cymbals there are only 18 sales, and most of these are Trans Stamps. I don't think this is because most 16" cymbals sold are Trans Stamps. Far from it. It is just that I started out with a specific focus of 1950s and earlier cymbals in my sample and Trans Stamps are overrepresented. There are also two Pre Trans Stamps, which have been coded into the Trans Stamp category.

Given the tiny sample there isn't much to say about variation in weights or prices separated by production era.

Expected median price for 16" cymbals: $130 with half selling for between $92 and $174 if you don't know the era.

For 16" cymbals post Trans Stamps the median price is $90 with half selling for between $70 and $100. This is based on just 16 sales having filtered out 16" hat pairs, and Trans stamps and older.

In terms of weight, for post Trans stamps the median weight is 1020g, with half between 1000g and 1100g. So that's your Crash cymbal weight class. In addition there are a few significantly heavier ones at around 1600g and over which suggests these are marching band or symphonic cymbals. They could also be small diameter Ride cymbals, but once the model ink is gone we can't be sure.

Weights for Trans Stamps overlap completely with post Trans Stamps, but also go down below 900g and all the weigh down to 720g. But there are also heavier Trans Stamps (over 1400g and up to 1760g) as well. This shows it isn't a good idea to simply assume all Trans Stamps are light.

Analysis date: 16 Jan 2016 updated: 4 Nov 2016

15"

14"

I've been waiting on larger sample sizes and spare time to do more analysis, but in the meantime here is a little info. Prices for larger diameters of Small Stamps don't show a significant price advantage over 60s (or 70s). If we "generalize" that result for now, then we're looking at an expected median price of $140 for post Trans Stamps (late 50s small stamps, 60s, 70s) based on a sample size of 50 sales. Half sell for between $100 and $200. This is for Matched hats where the top and bottom tend to be within 80g of one another.

This excludes New Beats although a preliminary look at those gives the same ballpark answer. And again, this is for cymbals in good or better condition. But because this is a very preliminary look I haven't gone through the effect of condition in my usual detail. For full info on New Beats see The New Beats page.

Analysis date: 4 Nov 2016

13 and smaller

go to Avedis by Years

or go to the gallery

or back to the introduction page

text stabilized 25 Feb 2016 3:41 PM
text last updated 4 Nov 2016 8:25 AM

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