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Matching Serial Numbers Last viewed: 4 minutes ago


Hello everybody!

I was trying to find a thread about this, but couldn't get any information about my specific question.

I have two Ludwig Vistalite Clear Concert Toms in 14' and 16'.

They have matching serial numbers: xxx221 and xxx222.

Does it make them more valuable?

Thank you and greetings from Germany!

Posted on 6 years ago
Posts: 977 Threads: 124

Hello and welcome!

While it's a definite plus to have serial numbers close together, which means that the drums likely were delivered together in the same kit, in my view it doesn't exactly equate to being more valuable. A better way to look at it is that it makes the pieces more desirable since they were not hobbled together to make whatever kit.

I 100% prefer to buy kits that came together and with the close serials, but sometimes the #'s are not all that close which doesn't always mean that they didn't come together.

Anyway, I'd say that a kit that has close serials may have a slight premium of say up to 10%. But other factors are far more important.

More than you probably wanted to know,


Posted on 6 years ago

Thank you for your quick and detailed reply!


Posted on 6 years ago

Also consider that historically serial numbers are a fairly recent addition to drums (I don't know that they were present consistently before the 50's-'60's for all manufacturers???). Therefore, the inclusion of them to the instrument was probably more of a benefit to the customer for reporting a theft loss, rather than serving some internal function that aided in the accuracy of the inventory process. In other words, Ludwig didn't set out to build a complete Downbeat or Hollywood (or whatever set) but rather they banged out a bunch of shells, placed them on a shelf, and then filled orders/created kits.

For comparison, I had a set of 8 melodic/concert toms that I bought in the 70's and the numbers were not that close: 6" = 1506034 / 8" = 1506027 / 10" = 1506153 / 12" 1501391 / 13" 1506185 / 14" = 1505998 / 15" = 1505592 / 16" = 1507415. Ideally you would think that a set like this would be sequential, but the drums, although delivered at the same time were quite likely manufactured a different times - and again this may mean just the finishing step or even batched in shell lots?? With any manufacturer at that time, who really knows?

Todays process are a bit tighter and some manufactures will actually build a kit and keep it together through the entire process and some still batch. Makes it a lot easier to keep serial numbers sequential when you're just placing stickers on the inside of the drums these days (plus, back then nobody really cared about this stuff - old drums were for people that couldn't afford new drums!!!)

I would echo what Hobbs said, that it is the nature of the kit/components that will drive the true value before the sequential nature of the badges (although for certain buyers that is important enough to justify some additional value).

Posted on 6 years ago
Posts: 2010 Threads: 19

The badges were just thrown into a bin on the production line and workers were obviously not required to use them in any particular order (Ludwig did not keep any records of the numbers themselves at that time). So a sequential pair or set of sequential numbers is a bit of a rare occurrence indicating drums that were assembled at nearly the same time by a worker who may have made a special effort to match up the numbers or just coincidentally happened to grab two in sequence.

Echoing what has been said above...whether that translates into these drums having any special value over and above their typical worth would be up to the buyer to decide. You might ask more for the drums as a result of this particular detail but whether anyone would be willing to pay a premium due to that fact would be up to them. Personally, while I'd find it to be a neat detail, I wouldn't pay any more, or only very little more, due to this. It's just a number stamped on a badge and has no real bearing on the usefulness or sound of the drum itself. I'd be much more concerned with overall condition and other details above and beyond the serial numbers. Although there certainly might be collectors who would relish this sort of thing and if you could connect with one of them then maybe you could get more.

Posted on 6 years ago
Posts: 5170 Threads: 188

The numbers on two toms, apart from the rest of a complete kit is fairly insignificant. In the case of clear Visualities, I would imagine the condition to be the deciding factor on value. Apart from an entire kit, the badge numbers of two toms don't mean much.

As far as "the numbers game" goes for kits....just like anything else in the collectible arena...IF there are two drum kits and everything else is exactly the same -except one has matching (or close) badge numbers and the other one doesn't, then it's almost assured that a collector will choose the one with matching numbers....and, thus, the matching kit would be more valuable. It has to do with finding something that can be "proven" to have been put together in a "family" by the manufacturer and then to have maintained its togetherness through time.

It's not really a matter of how the badges were applied back then or how the badges were selected, because, back then, the collector's market was still in the distant future. It's only something that certain collectors came up with, way after the fact, to solidify the standard of completeness on (mostly Ludwig) kits for a collecting hobby. There are all kinds of collectors and all kinds of standards for what desirable traits there are to look for....and matching numbers is definitely one.

"God is dead." -Nietzsche

"Nietzsche is dead." -God
Posted on 6 years ago
Posts: 2753 Threads: 132

I put more credence for a drum set's drums "coming together from the factory" in date stamps or written dates inside the shells. The badges were most often just pulled out of a box or a bin where they were in no sequential order. The brands I favor (Slingerland, Leedy, Walberg and Auge) almost always have dates stamped or written inside the shells. It doesn't bother me at all if those dates differ by a few days or weeks. One of my favorite Walberg and Auge sets has the bass drum and mounted tom dated five years apart from the floor tom. I can just imagine a person in the order department yelling down the hall to Mr. Walberg's nephew who was running the company at the time: "Hey Clarence. Remember those Salmon Satin Flame shells we got from Gretsch, and installed Rogers lugs on a few years ago? I just talked with a guy who will buy all three of them that we have sitting on the shelf if we put a rail on them". I then imagine Clarence saying: "Have the warehouse guy take the shells and tom mount to Robert (RGB) to put 'em together. That cleans us out of those dust collectors. Call the guy back, and tell him that he'll have the three drums on Monday. Ask him if the rail consolette goes on lefty or righty style or dead center". I debated for a few years about keeping the beat to snot Satin Flame wrap or re-wrapping them. I finally decided to ditch the Satin Flan, and wrap them with a custom made reproduction of dark green/silver/dark green Duco. I don't think i hurt the resale price if I ever decided to sell of trade these drums. (I have reinstallled the badges since photgraphing the newly-wrapped drums.)

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Posted on 6 years ago