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Vintage Zildjians For Sale

This list is a Live eBay feed. The top entry is the next auction to end. If you are interested in any of these these, you may only have minutes to secure it but it is also a great opportuinity to place a last-minute bid!

Best of luck – Happy Bidding

Buying and Selling Vintage Zildjian Cymbals

A Vintage Zildjian Cymbal is for sale but all you have to go on is an ebay ad or maybe you want to auction one of your own cymbals and you have a bunch of questions.

Is this something like your list of questions?

  • How old is the cymbal?,
  • How much is the cymbal worth?
  • How do I know it’s not a fake?
  • How do I now it’s not rubbish?

These are the kinds of sensible questions that you need to ask to enable you make a reasonably informed decision despite not being able to handle the cymbal.

You need facts of course, but in the world of old zildjians, ballparks are the name of the game and exact facts can be hard to come by.

What you will need to know

How to tell the age of a Vintage Zildjian

There really is only one method of ascertaining the age of a zildjian cymbal and that is the Manufacturer’s stamp that is enbossed onto each cymbal.

The stamps were each used for a period of years and each one is slightly different. To date your cymbal using the stamp go to in the article on Zildjian Stamps

It is difficult to give an exact estimate of age of a Vintage Zildjian but usually you will be able to say ‘this is from the 30s, or 40s or 50s etc’. It is unlikely that you or anyone ele could tell if it’s from 1953 or 1958 for example, simply because individual data were not kept. A further complication is that there seem to be transition periods between stamps when both seem to have been used. It all seems to add up to a whole lot of dunno!


Be aware that sizes may or may nor conform to an exact measurement. a 20″ cymbal can be anywhere from 19.5″ to 20.5″.

Cymbal Weight

Most Vintage cymbals are thinner and therefore lighter than their modern equivalent.
Tip: thin cymbals have a lower pitched, more ‘trashy’ and less pingy sound than thicker cymbals

When purchasing look for a weight – usually given in grammes

Cymbals have a weight : size ratio and there are several common conventions for defining ‘heavy’, ‘medium’ and ‘light’. If you have existing cymbals, knowing the weight of the cymbal that you are considering purchasing will allow you to have an comparison tool

The size, weight and ‘thinness’ of a cymbal are closely related. These relationships are discussed at length (and with heat) on drum and cymbal forums around the web. Thanks to Cymbalholic & the Handy Cymbal Weight calculator

Here are the approximate ‘medium’ weights for different sized cymbals – Vintage cymbals will tend to be lighter.

  • 22″ – 2500-2800g
  • 20″ – 2050-2300g
  • 18″ – 1650-1850


Yeah, where do you start. If you are pricing to sell, basically the cymbal is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. it’s as simple as that. Some K Istanbul cymbals for example have sold for many thousands, others sell for a thousand or so, a ballpark is $12-1600 but in every case, it requires the right buyer.

Old K istanbul cymbals are occasionally seen on ebay completed sales lists either unsold, or sold at much lower valuations than here which all proves that the value is in the eye of the buyer! If this is your cymbal for sale, don’t be discouraged, re-list it and try again.

If there’s no reserve on a vintage zildjian or if there is a low reserve then for the investor or collector it can represent a ‘wee find’ but be aware just as there are simply amazing old Zildjians there are also not-so-hot pies out there: Although the ‘name’, ‘age’ and ‘markings’ may be right, there is always a chance of disappointment with the actual sound of it. Caveat drummer!

So what do you do now?

Assuming that you will be using eBay, buying or selling; You will have to check what is for sale. Our ebay links here on this site are set to Show Vintage Zildjian cymbals that are available Right Now. So you can see what is available quickly here and then go to ebay to get the full details. I have placed the ebay ‘best match’ widget just below.

For price comparisons, to estimate the likely purchase activity for sellers, or competition for buyers, just and do a comparison of what is selling on the current best match listings.

When in the Listing results you can also see what has been sold in the past 2 weeks. Go to the left hand side & look for ‘completed auctions’ ) These will show what did sell, for how much and with how many bids (or BIN) and what did not sell – you can gather some clues about what is hot, what is a bargain and the current market valuations right now

Notes on Manufacturing

The actual alloy itself has not changed hugely over the years, it all stems back to Avedis I in 1608 however there have been definite changes in the manufacturing process.

Until 1964 all Zildjian cymbals were hand hammered. This made them very thin which gives a deeper ‘trashy’ sound than thicker cymbals and is a major part of the reason why they have such appeal. The hand hammering and the varying thicknesses also mean that each cymbal is highly individual, consider it like speaking with an accent.

This is good in so far as there is an enormous palette to draw upon from the vintage cymbals out there but bad in as much there must be some not-so good ones in there. This means that yeah whilst you may find an amazing unique cymbal there is also a risk in purchasing vintage cymbals from the web as there is in purchasing anything that cannot be seen or that sounds different on audio. Caveat Emptor!

If you want to date a cymbal, you’re best to visit the Stamps page and look for the obvious clues. It should be relatively clear but if you are still unsure, by all means take a photo and send it to me and I’ll tell you what I think!

Zildjian Stamps

Each Zildjian cymbal that is made carries a maker’s stamp. These stamps have changed over the years in a subtle and not so subtle manner and therefore they represent a timeline of sorts and a way of evaluating the ages of cymbals.

There were no stamps before 1928

First Stamp 1920s-30s

  • Note a more rounded ‘J’ in Zildjian in 30s, more square J in 1920s original

Trans stamp 1940-1950

  • Clean stamp three dots missing from logo
  • Punched with uneven pressure – heavy ZI and Co on ZIldjian Co

    Transition or Trans Stamp - 1940s

Big Stamp 1950s

So called because the name ‘zildjian’ is much larger and in outline – rest of text quite thin

Sixties Stamp 1960s

  • Clean deep stamp
  • Three dots included
  • Avedis Zildjian in bold

1950s - nice even stamp. Zildjian larger & stronger text

Thin Stamp 1970s

  • A very recognisable stamp where the overall line thickness is the same for Avedis Zildjian as the rest of the stamp

Other Stamps

  • K Istanbul Stamp

The Holy Grail. K Istanbul


Gretch distributed K zildjians fron Turkey and A(Aram) zildjians from Romania (A Zildjian & Cie dissolved in 1926) until Aram moved to the USA in 1928 to start the Avedis Zildjian Co.

Gretsch owned the constantinople trademark but did not use it from 1928 and A.Zildjian claimed it back in 1958. A US Court cancelled the Gretsch rights to the Trademark – read the Report Constantinople trademark – Zildjian Vs Gretsch

Vintage Zildjians

Old Gold?

You know it as soon as you hit it, as soon as you pick it up. . . There’s something about ‘that’ cymbal that makes it different, the one.  That’s the dream folks! Welcome to the world of the vintage Zildjian cymbal fan. Not quite reality but almost.

Why a Vintage cymbal, it’s just old? sure I just can buy a new shiny one off eBay? A good question but sometimes steak is just worth it.

Just as no two cows [?] can be the same, no two cymbals can be the same. That variation is no better expressed than through the work of the Zildjian cymbal artists who hand hammered the cymbals made by the Zildjian company from he late 1920s onwards. in 1964 the company stopped hand-hammering as the primary means of production and cymbals after this time became heavier, much more standardised and less rare.

There are a number of words often used when talking about the different periods and the products of that time. The standard method of identification is the stamp. various stamps have been in use at various times over the years  and we can usually date cymbals to a period. but rarely a specific year.

Be warned that some of the Istanbul cymbals for example are very collectible as ‘playable art’ . They have sold for £5,000+ and looking at sales on eBay, they are regularly around the $1800-$2000 mark. You can shop around and find good ones for much less if you are not looking for a specific type.

I hope that you find the site interesting and useful. Thanks for Reading and good luck in your search for Vintage Zildjian Cymbals

Paul Marshall – Drumdojo.com

Zildjian History

History of Zildjian Cymbals

The zildjian cymbal brand has changed a lot over the years – they have been making cymbals, with the scret recipe handed own from father to son since the early 1600s. You’re not going to find any of those on your drumset though!

Realistically we are looking at cymbals from 1929 to the modern day although some pop up that pre date that

Potted History

Zildjian was formed in 1618 in Constantinople (Now Istanbul) in Turkey, by Avedis the first ( I), an alchemist who created an sheet alloy combining tin, copper, and silver when searching for how to make gold.

This strange resonant alloy would make musical sounds when struck and would not shatter. H was adopted by the Sultan who gave him the name ‘Zilcian’ – Turkish “zilci” (cymbal-maker) and “yan” (son of).


Avedis I was granted permission to leave and create cymbals commercially – Since then, the product process and alloy recipe remained secretive for generations.  They were traditionally passed from father to eldest son only – until 1981 when it was given to two brothers. They subsequently split, one going off to Canada to form Sabian cymbals. 


  • Avedis (A) Zildjian III migrated to Boston -
  • Kerope (K) Zilcan continued to make cymbals in Turkey (K. Zildjian Constantinople)


  • Turkey became a Republic and Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul K.
  • Zildjian Constantinople became K. Zildjian Istanbul.


  • A Zildjian signed an exclusive American distribution agreement for K. Zildjian cymbals with Fred Gretsch Co.


  • Avedis III and Aram Zildjian began manufacturing cymbals in Massachusetts


  • Avedis Zildjian Co. was formed. Competing against the K Zildjian Company in Turkey!


  • Zildjian ended the hand hammering tradition in 1964 because the Beatles and Ringo Starr’s popularity caused an huge increase in demand.


  • K. Zildjian Co. and all European trademarks were bought back by Robert Zildjian on behalf of the Avedis Zildjian Co.
  • Avedis split the production into two separate operations,
    • one for rolling and casting only,
    • one for finish work.
  • Zildjian opened up the Azco factory in Meductic, New Brunswick, Canada.


  • Zilco cymbals produced at Azco, Canada.
  • Two types of Zilco’s.
    • One was hammered
    • One was a thin rolling produced without any hammering at all, which cut costs.


  • Robert Zildjian & Dick Dane, invented the modern cymbal press


  • Production capabilities moved to Azco for the regular Zildjian line – factory in Quincy would send up castings to be finished. At one point Azco was responsible for 40% of Zildjian’s output.


  • Robert Zildjian went to Turkey and brought over a crew to start making K Zildjian cymbals in the Azco plant.
  • This is the first time that Kerope (K) and Avedis (A) Zildjian were working together to make the same “Zildjian” cymbals.
  • They had previously been competing with each other as A. Zildjian and K. Zildjian Istanbul.


  • Avedis dies.
  • Sons Robert and Armand split
  • Armand continued to run A Zildjian Co
  • Robert started Sabian cymbals in the Meductic Azco factory in Cabada
  • Kerope and his son made Sabian’s early HH cymbals.


  • Armand Zildjian was the head of the company after Avedis’ death until his own passing in 2002.

Present Day

The Avedis Zildjian company continues to produce cymbals today in Norwell, Massachusetts. The company is now run by Armand’s daughters Craigie and Debbie Zildjian.

Visit their Website for more up to date information than you’ll get here.


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