Drums & Percussion/Vintage K Zildjian Cymbal (PHOTO)
QUESTION: Hi. I hope you can help me. I have a K. Zildjian 18" Cymbal made in Turkey - Istanbul. I tried looking at a website that dated K.Zildjians by their hallmark, however, the hallmarks they showed along with the years they were made look so similar to each other. I am not sure what year mine was made. Can you tell me the following; 1) Year it was made. 2) value. 3) should I clean it? If so, with what cleaner? Any info would be great! Thanks, Vikki
Ps..the first email I sent , I forgot to attach a photo..sorry
There is also a signature on the back of cymbal.
ANSWER: Hello, thank you very much for the question. Dating old cymbals and even drums is tricky, and unless someone has a receipt or a story then generally we have to make a good guess based on a number of factors. For Cymbals, the stamps are the best indicators but most companies only change their stamps every few years, if that. Having said that, I would date your cymbal at about 1956-57. Luckily, Zildjian had a few slight changes around those years which helps me to narrow the date to those years. I am confident your cymbal is from those years.
Do not clean it. Using the cleaners that the manufactures make, and the harsh cleaners that many drummers use, do polish them and make them shinier. However, they also change the sound of the cymbals by smoothing out the ridges and eventually thinning the cymbal.
Most collectors prefer the cymbal in the original state, with a nice patina and with the grooves/ridges on the cymbal intact. Some drummers even bury their cymbals in the ground for months or years to help speed up that aging/patina process believing it mellows the sound of the cymbals. I sometimes recommend cleaning cymbals with a mild dish detergent, but in your case I would not. The signature has value. I did not see the signature in the photos, I might be able to identify it, but maybe not.
If it is on the inside of the bell, then it is probably the cymbalsmith's signature, which is great and adds value. Sometimes, a drummer or someone else will sign cymbals but they generally do not sign on the inside of the bell.
Istanbul era Zildjian's are probably the most sought after cymbals as a rule.
Bigger cymbals is better, 18" is good, but people really go nuts for the 22's or hi-hat pairs. Assuming there are no cracks, keyholing or flea bites (damage to the cymbal), and assuming it was sold on e-bay or another auction site with international shipping and plenty of people got to see it and bid, I would but the value at around $900. If it sounds great and you are able to advertise it with a sound clip, then it might get more, or at least help ensure a price close to $900.
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QUESTION: Thanks for the info! You are very knowledgeable! My husband has talked about selling it on ebay but I think its good to hang on to and maybe display it because of its history. Maybe the value will go up even more over time since their not making them anymore.. I attached a photo of the signature under the cymbal. Do you think its a cymbalsmith's signature?
Yes, that is surely the cymbalsmith's signature. Good to see it was not cleaned off. Not incredibly rare for the signature to still be there, but it does help the value.
It will probably go up some in value. Zildjian is making cymbals currently that they claim are very close to that cymbal you have. The "Kerope" are their current attempts to make cymbals like those "K Istanbuls". The "K Constantinoples" are also similar. These are all their most expensive new cymbals and they still retail for a bit less than your cymbal should get.
Sabian would also argue that their "HH" cymbals are similar to your cymbal, and actually have a better claim that their cymbals are closer to your cymbal than the Zildjian Kerope. (The family who owns Sabian are also members of the Zildjian family.)
Lastly, there are 2 companies called "Istanbul" who make cymbals under the names "Istanbul Agop" and "Istanbul Mehmet" who would argue that they are currently making cymbals closest to your cymbal. Their founders actually were cymbalsmiths in the K Zildjian factory in Istanbul.
Nevertheless, there is a lot of attention paid by these companies to claim their cymbals are the best modern replica of your cymbal. But you have the real thing. :)
Drummers take their cymbals seriously.