|Mitchell Reel Museum - Mitchell Mates Discussion Group
|Mitchell reel dating
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|Author:||Larry65 [ Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:48 am ]|
|Post subject:||Mitchell reel dating|
Why is the reel dating section down?
|Author:||Larry65 [ Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:55 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Mitchell reel dating|
I have several reels I would like to find out what years they were made.Can anybody help me here.I tried several times to get get into the reel dating section ,no luck-its blacked out Thanks
|Author:||CDSAND7640 [ Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:35 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Mitchell reel dating|
From the MRM Dating page, below is the dating info for the classic egg-shaped cover plate models:
Dating Mitchell Reels is easy if you have the right tools and here it is; the Original Mitchell Reel Dating Guide by Wallace Carney of the Mitchell Reel Museum!
Though most vintage Mitchell reels have oval shape bodies; my purpose for identifying these reels as Egg-Shape is very simple. They all have the basic classic body (housing) design of the very first Mitchell with a three screw "Cover Plate" as shown to the left.
Plus and most important; these all were serial numbered in sequence at the Mitchell factory after assembly regardless of the different models or even which distributor (country) they were made for. It's very important to know that ALL Mitchell reels started using this dating system starting in 1974 to their last reel in 1989!
The classic cover plate models I’ve found to have the same SN sequence are the Mitchell 300/301, 300C/301C, 300DL/301DL, Otomatic, 330/331, Rapid, 350/351 400/401, 410/411, 410DL, 440/441, 440/441 Match, Garcia Mitchell Match (no 440/441 engraved), 500, 510 and 540. Other Classic Egg-Shape models made after 1970 were included in the same serial number sequence.
There were certain “events” that happened and documented that helped “date” a change in the reel. Other artifacts and celebrations also documented dates. These are from a continuing spreadsheet study I originally did and self-published in January 2006 called Mitchell ~ Rebirth of a Legend. Because this is not an exact science some may be off but they can’t be by much.
Please note that these dates are the approximate date of manufacture at the factory and NOT date of receipt by the wholesaler, retailer or when it was first advertised or purchased. Gaps between the serial numbers I give are ones I’ve not found and documented. Therefor these gaps in serial numbers could be the years before or after. Please use this as a general dating guide only!
The first four versions of the 300 called “The Mitchell” at the time did not have the 300/301 model number engraved. The first two versions did not have serial numbers at all and the beginning of the 3rd version also did not have numbers. Keeping this in mind:
Mitchell 300 AM – 1946-1953 = 269,700 Units
Mitchell 301 AM – 1949-1953 = Unknown But Limited
Mitchell 300 AP – 1952-1986 = 13,128,960 Units
Mitchell 301 AP – 1952-1986 = 1,335,253 Units
We are listing these most famous 300 series Mitchell reels in versions as determined by our team for the purpose of our website and an easier understanding the differences between major changes only.
Though there are several publications with other opinions on what constitutes a version; we can not all seem to agree. For this reason we’ve tried our best to make this complicated issue as simple as possible.
The main difference you will find is we do not consider any removable stickers placed on reels a version. We also take into consideration the differences or likenesses of both Garcia and European issues.
1st Version – 1939/40 No Serial Numbers but a “unique” #5 is stamped on foot
This was the very first version of the legendary Mitchell 300 we all know and love! To us the rarest and most valuable in the original form one of which is this one pictured. This reel, affectionately called "The Mitchell", was first manufactured in 1939/40 in very limited quantities. The last two photographs is also a true first version but was professionally restored. We thought you'd like to see what these looked like when new.
The most obvious features you will find on the first version is; Made in France is not on the housing, no paint primer which caused significant paint loss, a round anti-reverse knob and a Rosewood handle knob which could have been exchanged through the years.
No LH (301) 1st versions were produced. Their box is currently under study and will be completed soon. For a lot more information on this reel, please look at our First Version Study under Study
2nd Version – 1940/46 No Serial Numbers but various stamps on foot
This second version was first manufactured in 1940/41 and the first time “Made in France” was caste on the housing. All first and second version reels have the round anti-reverse knobs, were Right-Handed (left hand wind) with Level Wind gearing only and now have paint primer. You will find first version parts without primer on second version reels with primer during the transitional period. You will not find serial numbers on any authentic first or second versions.
The earliest releases of this version will have several different variations of the internal Transfer Gears made of aluminum and brass and if this is the case; the Handle was originally fitted with the Rosewood Knob. Please note that the wood knobs wore out and were replaced with the new aluminum. The pictures of the Spools (5 and 6) show the first version to the left and the second version to the right. Pictures 7, 8 and 9 are of the most common last release of this 2nd version. These were also the first of the round aluminum Handle Knobs and the Transfer Gear is now solid aluminum.
Some incorrectly believe The Mitchell (300 series) was first made in 1946/47 for many reasons but mainly due to no historical records prior to then. We have also documented that Garcia's involvement started in 1947 but No 1st or 2nd versions were sold by Garcia. No LH (301) 2nd versions were produced. Their box is currently under study and will be completed soon.
This third version was first manufactured in 1946/47 with the most distinctive feature change being the chevron, boomerang or some call angled Anti-Reverse Lever which stayed basically the same through 1968. “Made in France” was still caste on the housing which remained until the late 1980s. All third versions have the black round aluminum handle knob with slight variations in the handle’s shank. All spools had an aluminum Spindle base with a few variation of the spool Pawl clicker. All half bail versions made during this time did not have a reinforced axle shaft (tunnel) on the housing near the Lube Port Screw.
Most third versions were Right-Handed (left hand wind) with Level Wind gearing only as it was on all first and second versions. Cross-Wind gearing as well as Left-Hand reels (right hand wind) were offered as an option about the same time serial numbers beginning with a letter prefix “A” on the foot started being placed in 1949/50. All other half bail reel serial numbers began with the letter prefix “B” and then “C” were then stamped on the housing. All 300 series with serial numbers are in alphanumeric sequence.
3rd Version – 1946/49 No Serial Numbers but various stamps on foot but in 1949/52 Serial Numbers first begin within the 3rd version release. These have a letter prefix starting with “A” followed by only 5 numeric digits. The serial numbers were stamped on the bottom of the foot at first but between SN A66544 and SN A74901 it was moved to the Housing. The breakdown of these years are:
1949/50 – SN “A” Prefix began within 3rd Versions with the lowest serial number I’ve found being #A02558 however; a new discovery was made in 2008 by Jan Haanstra, a well known Mitchell Collector in Holland, a unique 3rd Version with very unique Cross-Wind Gears! It has now been fully documented that Mitchell first introduced the Cross-Wind gearing in 1949/50. To distinguish these from the common Level-Wind gearing they installed a red anodized Handle Knob. The lowest serial number found to date is #A07127 and the highest is #A07324 with two others in between. The red knob had been replaced on one that was discovered but when checked it had the “unique” Cross-Wind gearing. These are extremely rare so start looking!
1950/52 – SN “A, B & C” Prefixes are found on 3rd Versions but again another anomaly occurred; Test or “Pilot” 4th Version full bails were made on what I currently believe on two runs. The first run was found with serial number B29598 and the second with #B49681 or about 20,000 reels later. Between these two numbers I’ve documented regular 3rd versions with serial numbers as low as #B32817 and as high as #B42156. Besides the serial number, they are easy to document as authentic with very unique parts within the Head including the Baffle Plate. These are also extremely rare!!!
This was the end of the standard half bail and the beginning of the 4th version with a full bail:
1951/52 – “C” prefix
1953 – SN 40779 to 203519
1954 – SN 235985 to 617792
1951/52 – SN “C” Prefix was carried over with the transition period occurring in the very low “C” serial number prefix range. The lowest number I've found on a common 4th version was #C00447 but the highest number found on a 3rd version with a prefix was #C03203. The highest number found with this prefix on a 4th version was #C92525.
This is when Mitchell realized there wasn’t going to be enough alphanumeric numbers so they changed to just numbers. The lowest SN I’ve documented is #40779 and the highest is #9963012 and over 900 more serial numbers in between and growing!
Matching Serial Number stickers started being placed on each box’s outer brown paper shipping wrap somewhere within this time period. Unfortunately almost all of these wrappers have been discarded but several have been found and documented, still in their original factory state.
Although this was the first issue where Garcia's involvement began, you'll find no difference between Garcia and European releases except for owner's manuals or other documents. We have much more information to share on the 2nd and 3rd versions which will be disclosed in our Studies section as time permits.
Serial Number (SN) B29598 is a good example of their first experiment with a full bail. Made in c1950 during the 3rd versions, it was sent out as a Pilot or test model to only a few choice distributors and not sold to the public. The reason was that during this time, Hardy held the full-bail patent. It has all the components of a 3rd version except for the rotating head as you can see in the pictures.
SN 190572 (c1953) is a good example of their new full bail that was sold to the public after a deal was made between Mitchell, Impecco and Hardy allowing full bails production starting in c1952. The rare black and silver sticker is Garcia's first but soon changed to yellow and black.
SN 472839 (c1954) is a very nice Left-Hand (LH) or a right-hand-wind model soon to become the Mitchell 301. As in the 3rd versions, the Mitchell brand name was still being engraved inverted or upside-down. The paper Garcia sticker has fallen off.
SN 608370 (also c1954) in among the last 4th version models soon to become the Mitchell 300. The famous “300” is still not engraved on these reels but Garcia as well as other distributors first started placing their stickers on this version. On all of these, if you remove the Garcia stickers, they will look just like the European versions.
1955 – SN 624001 to 1004270
1956 – SN 1040182 to 1517887
1957 – SN 1520736 to 1883288
SN 624001 was the earliest 5th Version I’ve found
The 5th version main determining factor was that the model number is now engraved as “Mitchell 3-0-0 or 3-0-1” on the cover plate. The one shown in pictures 1 - 6 is a very nice European 5th version with serial number is 1917641 and from the sticker on the box, this one was not to be exported from France. The serial number and box style dates this reel back to 1958/59 which was during the same time Garcia’s name (6th Version) started being engraved on reels. All 5th versions will have serial numbers starting in the 620000 range (mid-fifties) up to serial number range 1800000 (1958/59) for both Garcia and European versions and up to serial number range 7900000 (1967/1968) for European models.
The one shown in pictures 7 - 12 is a Garcia distributed 5th version Mitchell 3-0-1 with serial number 876756 which dates this reel 1955/56. This was issued just as Charles Garcia changed their name to The Garcia Corporation. It's also among the last of the inverted cover plate. Soon after, this upside-down plate was corrected to right side up when held on a rod. You will also see this is also at the same time when the price went from $29.95 to $32.50. People ask how we know dates of these reels; we know by when certain documented proof is discovered. You just learned two...
All LH (301) versions prior to 1958/59 up to serial number range 1800000 will be found in a red top two piece cardboard box. All RH (300) versions during this same time will be found in the Royal blue box as shown. The very early left hand 301 5th versions still had their cover plates mounted upside-down (inverted) on the housing as you can see and as discussed in the 4th version. Also as noted in the 4th version, the inverted serial numbers on the housing was soon corrected in the 1040000 serial number range and then finally moved back to the foot in the 1880000 serial number range where it remained.
The one shown in pictures 13 - 18 is a European 5th version Mitchell 3-0-0 and because of her serial number 4913175 confirms the correct box. This reel was made in 1962/63 long after Garcia started having their name engraved. You will also find 5th versions with other distributor's names or logos engraved including Albatros, Arca and Balzer which we will add pictures of as time permits.
As stated in the 4th version; there is no difference between the Garcia and European versions through this 5th version except for stickers and documents! Although many changes occurred within each version such as baffle plates as you can see below; they changed on all reels at the same time of manufacture regardless where they were headed for distribution.
SN 1889513 was the earliest 6th Version I’ve found.
1958 – SN 1889513 to 2225412
1959 – SN 2282964 to 2959786
1960 – SN 3067452 to 3579119
1961 – SN 3616448 to 4218719
1962 – SN 4267369 to 4870499
1963 – SN 4918411 to 5494100
1964 – SN 5546867 to 5953668
1965 – SN 5996632 to 6579351
1966 – SN 6656941 to 7276825
1967 – SN 7282575 to 7895887
NOTE: Between SN 1883288 and SN 1889513 marks the beginning of matching Serial Numbers on boxes. It’s also when they moved the serial number stamp forever back to the reel’s foot.
The 6th version main determining factor was that “Garcia” is now engraved on the cover plate as shown below along with the same “Mitchell 3-0-0” as on the 5th version. The 6th version was produced from 1958/59 to 1967/68 and will have serial numbers starting in the 1880000 range up to serial number range 7900000. On very early 6th versions and for a very short period of time; Garcia continued to place their yellow & black stickers as you can see.
On both the 5th and 6th versions starting in the 1880000 serial number range; serial numbers were moved back to the foot where they remained through 1988/89. The one shown below with serial number 1912233 dates this reel a very early 6th version from 1958/59 which was the first year these were produced. Other changes occurred in the 2200000 serial number range when they moved the Made in France on the front of the housing to the rear.
Many other changes were concurrently made to both the 5th and 6th versions such as trip levers, anti-reverse levers, handles, drag adjustment knobs and baffle plates to name a few. More information on these changes will be given out as time permits. It’s important to note that you will find other distributor’s have their name and or logo engraved on this version including Arca, Albatros and Balzer. Pictures are being taken and will be added as time permits.
SN 7959216 was the earliest 7th Version I’ve found.
1968 – SN 7959216 to 8570524
1969 – SN 8603501 to 9244733
1970 – SN 9295633 to 9963012
The 7th version main determining factor was that the anti-reverse lever has changed to a straight lever. The “3-0-0” is now enlarged with the dashes omitted making it “300” on both the Garcia and European release of this version. On very early 7th versions for a very short period of time; you will find a straight A/R lever on cover plates with the 3-0-0 still being engraved.
This version was produced from 1968 through 1976 with serial numbers starting in the 7900000 range up to serial number 9999999 in 1970/71. In the 1971/72 production season they made a decision to go back to letter prefixes on serial numbers. This would mean easy identification of dating reels starting with 1971/72 have an “A” prefix, 1972/73 having a letter “B” prefix and so on. More on this later as time permits.
It’s important to note that you will find other distributor’s have their name and or logo engraved on this version including Arca, Albatros and Balzer. Pictures are being taken and will be added as time permits.
When nearing 10 million "Classic Egg-Shaped" reels made; in 1971 Mitchell reverted back to their original alphanumeric serial numbers with a wide variety of digit combinations. This makes it very easy to date these reels by just the serial number letter prefix. These started in 1971 with the letter “A” prefix and so on. Interesting to know that in 1971 Mitchell also celebrated the 20-Millionth Mitchell reel manufactured in Cluses, France.
1971 = A
1972 = B
1973 = C
1974 = D
Matching Serial Number stickers on boxes ended in 1974.
NOTE: It's very important to know that ALL Mitchell reels started using this dating system starting in 1974!
1975 = E
1976 = F
1977 = G
SN G018501 (1977) was the earliest 8th Version I’ve found
The 8th version main determining factor was area on the Cover Plate near the Anti-Reverse (A/R) Lever where the A/R Pin at the A/R Dog (inside) was reinforced as you can see. This was the last old style “300” series made and apparently only distributed with Garcia’s name engraved.
The one shown with serial number G151205 was the first year these were made in 1977 just prior to the new GM 300A Red Band. This was also the first time this style box was used with interchangeable model number inserts.
1978 = H
1979 = I
The letter I was not used to my knowledge due to the similar # 1.
1979 = J
1980 = K
1981 = L
1982 = M
1983 = N
1984 = O
The letter O was used on a few reels but stopped due to the similar #0.
1984 = P
1985 = Q
1986 = R
1987 = S
1988 = T (The last of the serial numbers. Mitchell closed the factory in 1988/89)
1989 = T (New Old Stock Parts were used to make limited quantities of Mitchell reels that were still being hand assembled in France)
1990 = No serial numbers with few exceptions such as the Mitchell 300 PRO Anniversary that has been documented as one model still being assembled in France however; most models are now being manufactured in Taiwan.
This newly discovered 9th version was found by Ted Lanham in June 2011! The main determining factor of this being another version was the new style housing found on most classic egg-shaped reels being made after Garcia (USA) closing in 1978. What many people forget is the other two Garcia distributors were still in full operation in Canada and the United Kingdom. Even though I state in the 8th version: "This was the last old style “300” series made and apparently only distributed with Garcia’s name engraved", I'll now state: "This 9th version was the last "300" series made with Garcia's name engraved with the new style housing or any other." Mitchell stopped engraving all reels and began placing plastic badges on all models in the late 1970s.
Ted's reel with serial number H032303 was made in 1978 at the same time the Garcia Mitchell 300A Red Band with the old style housing and the Mitchell 300A Silver Band with this new style housing were being made as you can see by Clicking Here . What is even more interesting on this reel is the box, known to be rare but this is the only one found to date with the two-piece blue insert. The "second" piece was made to hold the spare spool as you can see. Please note the old style gearing that was basically the same from 1939 to this one, the new style limited production handle, the clear spare spool container and the "different looking" engraving that has been found on other models.
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