Dating Valco Instruments

The most effective way to date a Valco guitar or amp is by its serial number. From the 40s until 1964, the serial could be found stamped into a small metal plate that was tacked onto the back of the headstock or the back of the cabinet. From 1964-1968, the serial was ink-stamped onto a silver foil sticker that is found in the same place. The following is a key for decoding the serial number, but keep in mind that the numbers are approximate.

"N" prefix: 1935

"S" prefix: 1935-36

"A" prefix: 1936-37*

"B" prefix: 1937-381968 National catalog cover

"C" prefix: 1938-40*

"G" prefix: 1941-42

"G" suffix: 1943-47

V100-V7500: 1947

V7500-V15000: 1948

V15000-V25000: 1949

V25000-V35000: 1950

V35000-V38000: 1951

X100-X7000: 1951

X7000-X17000: 1952

X17000-X30000: 1953

X30000-X43000: 1954

X43000-X57000: 1955

X57000-X71000: 1956

X71000-X85000: 1957

X85000-X99000: 1958

T100-T5000: 1958

T5000-T25000: 1959

T25000-T50000: 1960

T50000-T75000: 1961

T75000-T90000: 1962

T90000-T99000: 1963

G5000-G15000: 1963

G15000-G40000: 1964

Starting with "1-": 1964-68

Starting with "2-": 1968


*"A" and "C" prefixes also occur in some pre-1936 serials.

However, some of these plates and many of these stickers have disappeared over time. Often the speaker codes or potentiometer codes can help, assuming that these parts are original and legible. Pot codes can be decoded here, and speaker codes can be decoded here. For dating pre-Valco acoustic instruments, see this page.