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This is a picture of probably the oldest record in my collection, and I was wondering how old it was exactly.According to the Almost Complete 78 rpm Record Dating Guide by Steven C Barr it should be from 1901, because the matrix number is 512-8-8.Also, it was also very common for those early Columbia records to also be issued, sometimes with pseudonymous artist credits, on various client labels that Columbia pressed - for example Harvard and Oxford which were in-house labels for Sears, Roebuck and Company as well as the Standard, Harmony and United labels, all of which had over sized spindle holes designed to fit phonographs made by specific manufacturers.Phonographs with the odd sized spindles were sold at a discount or given away as premiums because, to use them, owners had to buy their brand of records with the correct sized hole (or drill out wider holes in records from other labels - which was not uncommon for people to do).Usually, from a collecting standpoint, a label reflecting an early pressing is considered more desirable. It wouldn't surprise me, in fact, if there are collectors, who attempt to pick up copies of various favorite records reflecting the various label designs - and some of those label designs will be harder to find than others.For example, a 1930 Columbia issue which stayed in the catalog would have initially been pressed as a standard Viva-Tonal - but you might find examples pressed in the Royal Blue shellac that Columbia switched to in late 1932.Speaking of Columbia being bought by ARC, an instance when a given pressing might be more desirable than another is when ARC began to use Columbia's old pressing facilities for Brunswicks, Melotones and other ARC labels.
Those very early Columbia recordings can also be confusing in that, when Columbia came out with its double disc records in 1908, a great many of those early recordings were paired up and issued under a new catalog number.
For example, very early 1900s Caruso recordings on Victor Red Seal remained in the catalog for decades so you can find copies of such recordings with examples of all of the various label design changes that took place during those years.
The same is also pretty common on successful records issued in the year or two before Victor changed from the its "scroll" label design to its "circular" label design in 1937.
So, if I understand it correctly, while my record dates from 1905-1906 the recording it features is indeed from 1901, but this particular record is a reissue?
Hi Dismuke, Thank you very much for your explanation. The only way of being able to date a later pressing is by any changes that might have been made in label design or pressing materials during the time since the initial pressing.