DATING EPIPHONE GUITARS AND MANDOLINS BY REFERENCE OF SERIAL NUMBERS
Epiphone guitars are manufactured in various factories across different countries, making it challenging to identify their origin or manufacturing date. However, each Epiphone guitar is marked with a serial number that, once decoded, can reveal details about its production location and date.
Where to find the serial number:
To find the serial number of your guitar, look for it on the headstock. For Semi-Hollow models, it can be found on the label inside the top f-hole, while for acoustic guitars, it can be found on the label inside the sound hole. The serial number usually contains a combination of digits and one or two letters.
To determine the year of production for your Epiphone guitar or mandolin, you have two options: use Epiphone serial numbers decoder or refer to the explanation of the dating system PROVIDED BELOW.
decoder coming soon… see tables
Epihone history in short
Anastasios Stathopoulos was a Greek luthier born in 1863 who founded a mandolin and violin company in Pellana, Greece in 1873. In 1903, he immigrated with his wife to New York and a year later, started a company that primarily produced mandolins. The business was successful, leading Stathopoulos to hire Italian professional Henry Cappielo.
Following Anastasios’ death in 1915, his son Epaminondas (Epi) took over the company and expanded it into one of the largest of its kind. Epi then opened a factory for the production of banjos, leading to his purchase of the banjo company Favoran and the introduction of the Epiphone Recording line, which proved to be a great success due to its high quality and elegant design.
The success of the banjo Recording line prompted Epiphone to establish a Recording line for guitars in 1928 and to introduce a full line of f-hole archtop guitars in 1931, including 12 models such as the Broadway, Triumph, and DeLuxe. Competing with Gibson, Epiphone dealt a serious blow to its competitor with the introduction of the Epiphone Emperor in 1935, and in 1937, the company introduced the Electar series of electric guitars with adjustable pickups.
Epaminondas passed away in 1943, and the company was taken over by his two sons, Orpheus (Orphie) and Frixo. However, the cooperation between the two brothers deteriorated, and the company struggled in the post-war years. By the mid-1950s, Epiphone was producing very few instruments. In 1957, the company was sold to CMI, Gibson’s parent company, for $20,000.00. A complete range of newly designed acoustic and electric guitars was introduced in 1958, and in 1960, production moved to the Gibson plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
In the early 1970s, production under license from Gibson moved from the USA to Japan, and from 1983, Epiphone guitars were also produced in Korea, followed by Indonesia in 1995. In 2004, Gibson opened a factory in Qingdao, China for the production of Epiphone guitars. Although the vast majority of Epiphone guitars are produced in these countries, some more exclusive models are still manufactured in the USA.