I'm researching the early Victor 12" 78s issued in the 31000 series.
There were two series of Victor single-sided black label 78s, one following
immediately on the heels of the other.
The first used the "C" prefix for its 12" masters and generated one metal
part from the wax. These were recorded in 1902, some maybe in late 1901,
and possibly extended through early 1903.
The second series used the "C" prefix for its 12" masters and generated
three metal parts from the wax. These were recorded beginning in 1903.
Records from each were issued on black-label 12" single-sided discs in the
Victor reused at least some of the matrix numbers and some of the issue
numbers for the second series of unrelated recordings made and issued in the
Records in the first series, some of which had been available earlier under
numbers in the 1900 and 2000 series, have no tiny letter next to the 31000
number. Records in the second series have a tiny letter under or before the
31000 number. The letter indicates the stamper number converted to a
letter, i.e., stamper 5 is the letter "E".
Mike Sherman says the first 150 Victor 12" masters, first series, were held
for up to a year before some were listed. Ay idea of the source of this
All records I've inspected in the first series have sunken labels so no date
or other recording data can be found in the label area. I'm trying to get a
better fix on dates than the two given in DAHR and in Fagan and Moran
before them than the two paired ones they give for far too many records for
them to be recorded on the same day. Those dates are 2/9/03 and 5/26/03.
Both may be incorrect, especially the 2d one, as by this time Victor had
converted to the three metal part system.
Can anyone shed further light on this first series? One data source would
be data from test pressings.
Fagan and Moran and, subsequently, DAHR, also list the first series as
having appeared in a November, 1903 catalog as an infirm date. If this date
is correct, there would have been two records for sale using the same
catalog number with different performers and titles, based on known issue
dates for the second series of "C" prefixed 12" masters.
I hope to address this puzzle group in my forthcoming talk at the ARSC
Conference. Any clarifying data would be most welcome.