Paiste Serial Numbers
Paiste serial numbers were first applied during 1972. Prior to this there was no accurate means of determining the age of a Paiste other than to identify the years of production for the series or model, when known. These cymbals are referred to as "Pre-Serial" cymbals. It should also be noted that it is not uncommon for serial numbers to be difficult to read due to hammering and lathing. In these cases, the era of the cymbal can usually be identified, but the exact year may not be determined.
Also of important note, cymbals have been found without serial numbers stamped on them from production eras where we might expect them.
This guide does not apply to serial numbers on many prototypes, nor the German made Paistes which seem to have been numbered from 1xxxxx up. The inclusion of German made Paistes may be why some people are sure they have Paiste cymbals with 6 digit serial numbers starting 1.
1972 - 1981
- Starting some time during 1972 there were six digit numbers stamped on each cymbal. The specific year is identified by the 'first' digit in the serial number. Some believe a leading 1 means 1971, but we haven't found one having checked thousands. All 6 digit serials with a leading 1 check out as 1981 for Swiss made cymbals. The German made ones do have leading 1, but that isn't the year.
- Therefore, "345678" would be from 1973.
- The original 1970's style involved no additional lettering with the serial number such as series name.
- All series (except Paiste 101) were using black labels during this era.
- Often a series would have an engraving of the series name:
1981 - 1986
- Starting in 1981, "PAISTE" started to be stamped above the serial number, often along with SERIES. (NOTE: This change occurred not at the beginning of the year, but sometime during it - some examples of the previous style exist with 1981 serial numbers.)
- Like before, the first number indicates year - the following would be an example of 1982:
- Formula 602 was shortened to simply "602".
- Sound Creation was located under PAISTE, due to space limitations.
- During this time Paiste changed label colors on some of their series. Formula 602 - Blue, 2002 - Red, 505 - Green, among others.
1986 - 1990
- Sometime during 1986 (probably when they launched all the new lines - 3000, 2000, 1000, etc.), "PAISTE" was stamped above the serial number, without series name.
- Like before, the first number indicates year - the following would be an example of 1989:
- 505 (discontinued by this time) and the 1000 lines both used green logos.
- 2002 and 3000 lines used red logos. The red ink on the 3000 series is a little darker color.
- Formula 602 and 2000 lines both used blue logos.
1990 - 1995
- Sometime in 1990 the company name was changed to the 'high/low' style" "pAisTe".
- Therefore "pAisTe 345678" would be from 1993.
1995 - 2011
- Sometime in 1995 Paiste started using eight digit serial numbers. In these cases, the first two digits represent the year of production.
- Therefore "96789012" would be from 1996.
- Starting in about 2005, "MADE IN SWITZERLAND" was added to the bottom logo of the 2002 cymbals.
2011 - present
- In the second half of 2011, Paiste started using a laser etched serial number on the cymbal's bottom side. Numbers are not stamped on the top side from this point on. The first two numbers are still the year produced.