Pre Trans Stamps: It gets confusing now...

One of the things which distinguishes the earliest Avedis Zildjian stamps is that they were in 2, or possibly 3 pieces, stamped separately. How do we know this? We know the die stamp pieces were in two parts because occasionally somebody applied one of the two pieces upside down, or misaligned relative to the other. Don't get excited if you have one of these. They are not worth $100,000 like some extremely rare postage stamps. But they do demonstrate that the stamp was in at least two parts in the early days. One piece has the stylized Ottoman text (often referred to as Arabic text). The other piece is the English part.

Image: Pre Trans Stamp with the Ottoman part upside down


The reason we say that there might be 3 parts is that the bottom line which says MADE IN USA isn't always in the same place. Compare the location on the stamp shown above with this one where it is slightly lower

Image: Pre Trans Stamp Slightly Low MADE IN USA


and then with this one where it is much lower as well as a little crooked:

Image: Pre Trans Stamp Low MADE IN USA


This sort of thing suggests that maybe the MADE IN USA was not built into the English part of some dies. And there are some examples of these early stamps which have no MADE IN USA on them at all.

The other thing about these early stamps being in at least two parts is that there isn't one fixed height for them. They are usually 1" to about 1 1/4" high. But obviously they can vary from one example to another, even when the same die pieces are used.

Since the die is in at least two parts, it is also possible to combine one top (Ottoman) portion with two different bottom (English) portions, which in effect creates two different stamps. For example, here is a Swish model which goes back this far and combines the Ottoman stamp die from the stamp shown just above, with a different bottom.

Image: Swish Die Stamp

swish die stamp

This particular stamp is illustrated in the 1939 Ludwig Catalog

Image: 1939 Ludwig Catalog

swish die stamp

There are also Swish cymbals from this early period which have the Swish shape but carry the GENUINE TURKISH CYMBALS version of the stamp.

There is a "chunky" or "thick line" version of the Ottoman, and it has three dashes under it

Image: Chunky Ottoman Example


This is distinct from the "thin" or "fine line" version of the Ottoman, which has three dots where the other one has three dashes

Image: Thin Ottoman Example


In a similar way, there are at multiple versions of the English section. In addition to the Swish version, there is a version of the English which has this alignment of AVEDIS over ZILDJIAN with the S hanging out on the right:

Image: Pre Trans Stamp English bottom 1


which in this case is combined with the chunky dot dot dot Ottoman version. The Swish variant of this also has the hanging S, but if you look closely at the AVEDIS the shapes of the letters is different. In particular compare the A of Avedis and how the right leg of the A points to the D. Another English version can be seen which doesn't have the S of Avedis handing over.

Image: Pre Trans Stamp English bottom 2


And here is yet another variation of the bottom English portion which is different again this time in the execution of the ZILDJIAN:

Image: Pre Trans Stamp English bottom 3


I've annotated the three differences which appear in the letters JIA of zildJAIn. I've also noted that the prominently stamped U S implies there were selected for military use. But the U and S (and sometimes joined by a N for Navy) are applied entirely separately again from the rest of the stamp portions. Military stamps like this appear on 30s, 40s, and early 50s cymbals in the highest frequency. Busy times for the military.

So just to sum up what we've got so far:

There are at least 4 English bottom portions. I'll call them 1 2 3 and S for swish, although I'm not implying any time ordering.

There are at least 2 Ottoman top portions. I'll call them chunky and skinny Ottoman.

If all 4 English portions were combined with the 2 Ottoman portions that would create a potential 8 stamps. So this begs the question: how many combinations actually exist on cymbals?

The first pass I undertook on this was just based on four combinations:

Combo A: Thin Ottoman English 1 or 2

Image: Pre Trans Stamp Combo A


Combo B: Thin Ottoman English 3, aka "Second"

Image: Pre Trans Stamp Combo B "Second"


Combo C: Chunky Ottoman English 1 or 2, aka "First"

Image: Pre Trans Stamp "First"


Combo D: Chunky Ottoman English 3

Image: Pre Trans Stamp Combo D


This first pass was enough to convince me that we needed a major rethink. All four combinations exist, which means there aren't two discrete stamps ("First" and "Second") separated in time. Instead the evidence shows that there are multiple tops and bottoms used in various combinations. We need a whole new paradigm. We need a lot more research.

In the meantime I've banished this level of detail to a separate page and stay with a nice little "oversimplification" on the main gallery page.

go to Avedis by Years

or go to the gallery

or back to the introduction page

text last updated 9 Jan 2016 6:21 PM

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.