How to complete new model date fields
Proposals for new models have fields for start of market introduction and last sales year, along with a degree of certainty regarding the dates. This FAQ is intended to clarify the “rules” regarding these entries with emphasis on start of market introduction and a “date certain” designation. All situations may not be covered and some judgement is required.
Start of Market Introduction: This field needs to be completed for all new model proposals and is the year when the model was first offered for sale. There may be issues regarding a manufacturer designated model year versus when it actually went on sale and this will be discussed in more detail below.
Last Sales Year: This field does not need to be completed, and in fact, should not be completed unless there is credible information to support a date. Sources supporting data entry typically include a detailed search of catalogs, and recognized websites that deal with HiFi or other widely covered equipment.
Date Certainty: There are three options.
! = Certain: The criteria for a “certain” designation are strict and typically are met by manufacturer data such as dated advertisements and catalogs, and trade journals that indicate a specific new model date or model year. The reference source needs to be entered in one of the literature fields, including the date. Some manufacturers also incorporated a model year date as part of the model number. Examples are Philco, Zenith, and Airline, but only for a specific date range depending on the manufacturer. There are instances where an item was offered for sale in say the fall of the year preceding a specific or intended model date. In this case the offered for sale model date should govern.
? = +/- One year: Valid reference information for this category includes manufacturer dated owner or service manuals, and technical information such as provided by SAMS, Riders, and Beitman. Other sources include advertisements that do not mention a specific model year, schematics, collector guides, and recognized collector websites. The “date first offered on Amazon” also can be considered for some of the later models. One caveat is that the dates obtained from sources such as SAMS, Riders, and Beitman often can lag the actual date of introduction by several months to two to three years. The SAMS Transistor Service Manuals often include reprints of earlier Photofacts and are an example of a longer lag time. Dates that are stamped on an actual model may be suitable for this designation, but not always. Once again, judgement is required.
?? = Only a guess: The key point for this designation is that some effort should be made to have an “educated guess”. This can be difficult, particularly for some of the newer models say after 1980. Guessing at a date is somewhat of an art, and often is more work that finding a more certain date. As a minimum, you should be able to explain why you picked a date if the question is asked.