C3500 series (c. 1956- 58) M3500 series (1958 – 63)
STEREO RECORDS S7000 (active 1958-63)
Contemporary S7500 series (1958- 63)
S7160 is the last STEREO boxed label, beyond here is the realm of just a handful of new titles, and a great great many reissues. “Stereo” is not boxed and fonts of title and artist are “funky” The semi-deep groove (an outer ring where deep groove would normally be, mostly a simple step) gives way to no groove, completely flat profile, or a sixpenny die impression around the spindle hole.
The CR logo is something of an unreliable friend. It appears for the first time on M3561, and all titles between M3566 and M3610, and thereafter disappears. It appears on the Stereo series S7521 to S7610, but with numerous anomalies where it is not found. In some cases the logo appears top of label, others at bottom, sometimes contained within The “O” of RECORDS, sometimes free standing on the deep groove, sometimes CR in simple letters, others encased in a black or gold box. With little or no consistency, it is not especially useful as a means of distinguishing early from later pressings.
The back cover address is the zip-code 90069, and later still, a post box P.O.Box address. Vinyl weight is light: 110 – 120gm, wobbleboard thin. Label colour is arbitrary, mostly yellow but occasionally green or black, of no significance in the absence of deep groove or semi-deep groove.
It is impossible to date these, save they are after 1963, late ’60s or more likely ’70s reissues and not original vintage pressings. This practice continued until 1984, when the catalogue was sold to Fantasy, who reissued almost everything in the OJC series.
1985 Billboard announces the programme: great musicians will be remastered and reissued, rather than revived or reanimated.
Some collectors say the very early issues by OJC (sans barcode) are fine pressings. I am in no way able to confirm or deny, check for yourselves.