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  1. #1
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    Brooks Saddles Date Code Decoding

    I have a Brooks B66 that was bought new in the late spring 1978 in New Paltz, NY.

    In the course of rehabbing it recently, I noticed it had a 3 character code 'O K 7' inscribed on the inside underside of the saddle top.

    The first place I went to find out what the code might mean was vintage-trek.com. Alas, it appears that the Date Code key had been lost, according to a correspondent quoted there.

    But I'm wondering...could the '7' be for the year 1977, then the 'K' for the month November?

    Goodness knows what the first character--either an O or a zero, might mean...

    Anyone have further anecdotal 411 to add?

  2. #2
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    I don't have anything to add, but I wonder how many of us will be pulling our Brooks saddles off our old Raleighs!
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  3. #3
    I spit hot fire Diggidy_Dylan's Avatar
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    I bought mine a little more than a year ago and mine says O C 7 underneath it....
    Oh yeah, and it's a honey B.17 Special.
    Quote Originally Posted by awc380 View Post
    It's fine if you don't mind your bike bursting into flames, I suppose...

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    This might be of interest.

    Prior to sometime in the 1960s the inside of leather side flaps were stamped with a date code. The stamp denoted the month and year of manufacture. Mrs. O'Donnell* writes: "Unfortunately, the "code" book is now lost so we cannot decipher the actual codes used at that time. It is, sadly, not quite as simple as A=January, B=February etc. This 'flap' stamping changed to the frame stamping around the 1960's although there was an 'overlap' period where both the leather and the frame were stamped."
    The metal frames of the saddles were stamped with the date of manufacture from sometime in the 1960s to about 1988.
    The current method of stamping Brooks saddles is a colored stamp on the underside of the saddle, with a number for the year surrounding a letter for the month.
    (*The above Brooks information was provided in an e-mail from Mrs. E. O'Donnell in the Sales Department of Sturmey-Archer, when that company owned Brooks. Mrs. O'Donnell was writing to Robert Williams in response to his query about date codes. Our thanks to these two individuals and to Larry Osborn, who secured a copy of the original e-mail.)

  5. #5
    Gammal cyklist Reynolds's Avatar
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    The B.66 on my '80 Raleigh has (ilegible letter)79 stamped on the underside of the 'half moon' metal part.

  6. #6
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    I recently acquired a Brooks Professional that I was told came off an early Schwinn Paramount. I was looking for a means to date it and stumbled upon this thread. I figured I would detail my findings in hope that it will help another.

    I've seen the information from the Sturmey-Archer email in a few posts, so I figured I'd start there. Lucky for me, it looks like I have one of the saddles from the "overlap period" and that used BOTH dating methods. Looking closely and under bright light, I was able to make out a "B" over the numbers "73" on the rear frame. According to the email, it dates this saddle at February 1973. This took several attempts to capture using my cell phone camera, but its actually quite clear and unsmudged in person.

    http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p...1-Version2.jpg

    Now for you puzzle solvers out there, the stamp on the leather is "L I C." I can figure a possible "3" from the "C", but how February or a 7 come from the "L" and "I", I haven't a clue.

    http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p...l/IMG_2682.jpg

    Other photos of the saddle can be seen here:

    Top: http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p...l/IMG_2686.jpg

    Bottom: http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p...l/IMG_2685.jpg

    Side: http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p...l/IMG_2687.jpg

    Rear badge: http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p...l/IMG_2683.jpg

    Post bracket: http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_2679.jpg

    The saddle is in amazing shape for being 40 years old! The seller said it was from his fathers Paramount and that the saddle itself has been stored in a cloth bag, inside a shoebox, and in the closet for years. It has a few "character" scuffs, but the leather is not cracked at all. It has no sag or sit bone imprints in it. It seems to be broke in like a 5 year old saddle, but has patina far beyond that. The copper rivets look shinier in photos than they actually are. Some of them have a greenish patina that I was careful not to wipe off. I wiped it down with a terry cloth and gave it a coat of Lexol. It's beautiful - in my eyes. Soft, comfortable, and the smell reminds me off tack hanging in an old barn back home.
    Anyone know what these vintage saddles in this condition sell for in today's market? Does the fact that the month and year are visibly dated add any value? What about the fact that it came off a Paramount? Do Paramount owners/builders seek original replacements in this kind of condition?
    I planned on keeping it and putting it on my Soma Smoothie (century bike), but I'd be curious of what the estimated resale value is. I know only the just of Brooks saddles but nothing from the vintage era. This saddle was being ridden 15 years before I was conceived.

  7. #7
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    My Professional is stamped B 78 with the letters UJR
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  8. #8
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heath9_00 View Post
    Anyone know what these vintage saddles in this condition sell for in today's market? Does the fact that the month and year are visibly dated add any value? What about the fact that it came off a Paramount? Do Paramount owners/builders seek original replacements in this kind of condition?.
    There's no way to prove it came from a Paramount...the codes have nothing to do with it. But there are collectors who will pay a premium for a date correct saddle. Pricing is all about condition. Most of the original surface of yours has work through so its hard to say. Saddles with the original surface go for $120 +

    This is a $120 saddle:

    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    My Imperial is stamped with "DCO"....but the D seems to be stamped backwards for some reason.....or is it "OCD"....now it's kinda bugging me....is the "O" really a zero??...but it's way too round to be one, so where's the expected number??..... It must be "OCD".....must be.... must be....
    Last edited by Chombi; 01-10-14 at 01:11 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Hudson308's Avatar
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    While scouring Craigslist and feeBay for vintage Brooks for a couple projects of mine, it became apparent that the majority of Brooks B15 & B17 saddles I asked about had no date stamp at all. When they did, it was usually (but not always) a B followed by two numbers stamped on the rear of the bottom frame, near one of the curved ends. In a couple instances it was closer to the center of the rear frame. A number of experienced sellers were surprised to find the stamp when I told them to look in this location, as they were stamped pretty lightly. I've assumed the two numbers were the last two digits of the year of manufacture.The stamps seemed to get more common toward the end of the 70's. I've got a couple saddles that the provenance is fairly certain from the early 70's, with no date stamp at all.
    Don't believe everything you think...

  11. #11
    rhm
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    I don't know much but will add a few observations.

    Cantle plate codes are a letter plus a two digit number. The lowest I've seen was A 59. I've seen A, B, and C but no other letters. I Presume the number refers to the year, but I have no confirmation the letter refers to the part of the year.

    Leather codes, I don't know anything about them. But I can speculate.

    What's the point of a code? This is not a rhetorical question. I would say the main reason for manufacturer codes of this kind is quality control. But the fact remains that a large proportion of cantle plates had no stamped code, even on saddles made in years when codes are known to exist.

    Now if the codes on the leather and cantle plate both indicate a date, they only indicate the respective dates of the leather and the cantle plate, not of the saddle as a whole. They could vary by... I don't know how much. Years, for sure.

    But I don't really see the point of a date on the leather. As far as quality control is concerned, the important data would be the source of the leather. The quality of a saddle is going to depend to a great degree on the quality of the leather, which will depend on any number of factors beyond Brooks' control. But one thing they can control is from whom they buy leather. I would assume the codes on the leather are there to connect the saddle to information in the records-- (now lost) records of purchases of leather from suppliers. If we had all those records, I presume we could learn some amazing stuff... the size of shipments of leather, the sources. We might even be able to determine that 1974 was a particularly good year for Argentinian leather, or something like that.

    I, personally, am willing to live without this data.

  12. #12
    AmiableNitrite Member VonCarlos's Avatar
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    Found this info on the Brooks facebook:



    • Brooks England Andy, Look underneath your saddle, there should be a code (ex. "0C9" = March 2009) Is there a code on yours?
      August 25, 2011 at 9:27am





  13. #13
    Senior Member Lascauxcaveman's Avatar
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    The tiny stamping on the cantle plate of my Professional says "A 77" which would be reasonable timing for the saddle to have been manufactured in 1977, since it was purchased new by a friend in 1979 at our local, low volume LBS.

    Just wanted to add that data point.

    The leather is branded underneath QBR and off to the side of that, there is a 2 and what looks like a partially branded H.

    The frame on a re-skinned vintage B17 I have doesn't seem to have any stampings anywhere, apart from "Made In England."
    ● 1971 Grandis SL ● 1972 Lambert Grand Prix ● 1972 Raleigh Super Course ● 1972 Peugeot UE-18 Mixte ● 1980 Apollo Prestige fixie ● 1982 Motobecane Jubile Sport ● 1983 Nishiki Landau ● 1984 Peugeot PH10LE ● 1984 Bianchi Limited ● 1985 Peugeot Vagabond ● 1985 Trek 600 ● 1985 Shogun Prairie Breaker ● 1985 Raleigh Elkhorn ● 1986 Univega Nuovo Sport ● 1987 Schwinn Tempo ● 1996 Kona Lava Dome ● And a Bike to Be Named Later ●

  14. #14
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    www.vintage-trek.com/component_dates.htm#Brooks

    I don't endorse the remark about TheHeadbadge.com, though.

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