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Canon Rangefinders - Peter Dechert and Peter Kitchingman Peter Dechert is best known for his Canon Rangefinder, Canon SLR, and Olympus Pen books, the latter two long out-of-print. He was a monthly columnist for many years for SHUTTERBUG magazine, and has contributed to many others. Most recently he has written about the pre-WW2 Zeiss 35mm cameras, but his interests in camera equipment and optics are many and varied. As a pro protographer and honorary life member of ASMP, Peter is also expert in using the gear! Peter Kitchingman - author of Canon Rangefinder Lens book Peter Kitchingman's 'Canon M39 Rangefinder Lenses 1939-71' book is the definitive source on these very interesting optics. His interests also go to the entire Canon Rangefinder system and beyond.

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Only a theory but could be plausable
Old 10-28-2009   #1
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Only a theory but could be plausable

First, I have no connection with the following auction but something that I have muddled over the odd time. In the following auction the lens has a SIX digit serial #

http://cgi.ebay.com/Leitz-Leica-SM-C...item45eeed687c

On my database I have recorded nine 100mm f/4 lenses with SIX digit serial # and this is the tenth lens. Most of these six digit lenses are spread individually throughout my database BUT at times there seem to appear in batches, (this is also the case with other focal lengths where I have recorded six-digit serial #). Most of these six-digit # end with a zero (0) but I have also recorded a couple ending in one (1). I have recorded four 100mmf/4 lenses with serial #414600, #414650, #414670, and #414710 and to date have not recorded any lenses between these four lenses. My theory is that these lenses were to replace lenses that were lost after the lenses had left the factory for distribution. At the time Canon were producing lenses there must have been some law in Japan at that time preventing the duplication of serial #. If this was the case then to replace the “lost” lenses Canon replaced those with another lens with the same # except it now had a zero at the end designating a replacement lens. By coincident I decided to check the 85mm f/2 chart, there also is a batch of lenses with six-digit #, and at a rough calculation from my information it looks like these may have been a consignment that was lost early in 1950.

1004T4&T5extra digit copy.jpg
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Old 10-28-2009   #2
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You must lead an awfully boring life! No offense, but there must be more fruitful things to do than speculate about sixty year old lost lens shipments. I've lost stuff in shipment, both coming and going. It happens.
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Old 10-28-2009   #3
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Actually, my own thought was, "What?"

I read this twice, and I still don't understand the question. I feel like an idiot (again).

However, you might want to pose this question to a Canon collectors forum. They probably have people who compile lists of serial numbers, and they should be able to share information with you.
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Old 10-28-2009   #4
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I suppose life is boring at the moment as I have been told by the quack (Dr) to keep of my feet after doing a stupid thing by jumping of a ledge and badly bruising both heels last month while in the middle of a recent trip to France, Germany, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. Anyway it was more an observation than a question and I suppose it makes research what it is “research” be it small or insignificant. Questions will be asked. I only wish there was a Canon Rangefinder forum like there is for Leica, Zeiss and Nikon but alas there isn’t or not yet (must chase up Mike Otto on that). Information and knowledge about Nikon wouldn’t be where it is if it wasn’t for Rotoloni, likewise with Leica and Laney, or Barringer & Small for Zeiss and many other researchers. Peter
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Old 10-29-2009   #5
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Now I'm going to have to look at the SN of my 100/4. I suspect it is run of the mill 5 digit. It makes sense that the 6th digit was added to replace a lens. What are the chances that it was just to replace the name ring of a repaired lens?

As far as doing the research on information like this, it's a tough -and often boring job- but I'm glad that some people are doing it!

I've spent a lot of hours in the lab staring at numbers for hours until figuring things out. Of course, being paid to do it helps pass the time.

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Old 10-29-2009   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Kaplan View Post
You must lead an awfully boring life! No offense, but there must be more fruitful things to do than speculate about sixty year old lost lens shipments. I've lost stuff in shipment, both coming and going. It happens.
"No offense?" Gee, I am always taken aback at the sharp or taunting tone taken on forums everywhere when someone writes about an issue that seems irrelevant or unimportant to someone else. Surely it's easier to just not read the message than to take issue with what another human being has thought was interesting or curious? The OP is a man who is an expert in Canon rangefinders/lenses. He has written books on his area of expertise. To insult him in this way is just inconsiderate and mean spirited. I find the information he has assembled and the data he has acquired to be very useful, as do many others. As such, I think his quest for information to be very "fruitful," although you may not. Others may question the value of your areas of interest with equal lack of tact, but I won't.

Sorry for the rant, but this type of response always irks me.
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Old 10-29-2009   #7
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This sort of thing is an internal matter of a business house. It is of no photographic interest. Had a serial number different from the common kind marked a lens which was in some way different from the usual kind, then it could have had meaning for a photographer.

There were and are those who go into "royal" dynasties in great detail, so there is no reason why a business house should not receive the same attention. I wouldn't do it, though, and of course Al wouldn't.

I agree that it is best to ignore matters of no interest to oneself: but I suspect that Al had in mind the sort of thing that I have stated.
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Old 10-29-2009   #8
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How stocks and their numbering are handled are the concern of industrial manufacturing engineers and, perhaps, book-keepers. I am not convinced that the serial numbers of my lenses influence my photographic work. As a matter of fact, in half a century I have not once thought even why five lens elements might be better or worse than seven or four. The things are, in currently fashionable language and literally also, transparent to the user.
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Old 10-29-2009   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanonRFinder View Post
I suppose life is boring at the moment as I have been told by the quack (Dr) to keep of my feet after doing a stupid thing by jumping of a ledge and badly bruising both heels last month while in the middle of a recent trip to France, Germany, Syria, Jordan and Egypt.
Very sorry to hear this, Peter. Hope you get better soon.

Interesting observation, too.

I have used results of your research multiple times in the past and am grateful it exists, together with similar work by Rotoloni on Nikons and Lager on Leicas.

Best,

Roland.
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Old 10-29-2009   #10
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Quite a few changes were quietly introduced into cameras, lenses, and other photographic equipment, and those who know the history and serial numbers have an advantage in selecting equipment from hunting grounds such as Ebay. That's one reason why my $67 1953 J-3 is every bit as good as the best wartime Sonnar.
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Sheesh.
Old 10-29-2009   #11
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Sheesh.

Public Service Announcement: ignore this post if you're not interested in non-photographic comments.



There are very few threads that have inspired my desire to respond in defense of another poster as this one has. While I happen to find the minutiae of serial numbers interesting, I would feel the same even if I did not. What I feel is embarrassed, somehow. Go figure.

Pardon the supposition (delivered without the slightest intent of irony), but to demand pure photographic discourse from RFF - in a "gear" thread, at that - is perhaps disingenuous.

Normally, I'd ignore the trolls, but I'm inclined to consider Al and payasam with more respect than that, their comments notwithstanding. Hence, my response.

I'll now return you to you regularly scheduled thread, and apologize for my impertinence.


Cheers,
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Old 10-29-2009   #12
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Surely you speak in jest, Joe? Although a member, you are not exactly kind to RFF.

-- A. Troll
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Old 10-29-2009   #13
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CanonRFinder, you are doing some good investigative work on Canon RF gear.
Keep it up do not be dissuaded.
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Old 10-29-2009   #14
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Ah, a lively discussion, which is what, I like to see. I check the RFF site quite often and skip most of the subjects unless they interest me in some way. I also know I should get of my butt and use some of my many Canon Rangefinder lenses I own so as I can enter into some of the discussions on why this lens is better than others in regards to Bokeh, vignette, contrasts etc and now the book is out of the way I will. I also knew that Nikon placed a colon after the serial # but Rotoloni (I have his books and NHS journals) is still unsure why and can only theorize. Another small thing that intrigued me was when Nikon collectors were mentioning a certain “tick” mark on F series lenses and by Googling, I found out what it was and why these lenses sell sometimes for high prices. All these small additions add to the knowledge of Nikon and likewise to other makes. My main aim and still is, is to broaden the knowledge on Canon RF gear, as there was nothing out there in the English language other than Peter Dechert’s book. Maybe now people who have purchased my book will realise that certain Canon RF Lenses are unique. I suppose I got a bit uptight about the “bored” remark but life is anything but that. Anyway, I will keep adding dribble to this forum, as there is really nowhere else to have a discussion or put a point across where people who are interested in other makes can access a variety of information besides variety is the spice of life. Peter
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Old 10-29-2009   #15
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http://www.canonrangefinder.servehttp.com/

Peter, Thankyou for maintaining your excellent site on Canon Rangefinders. It's been a great source for information. Quite a few of us do appreciate it, and the time and effort that goes into updating and maintaining it. Most of my Canon lenses are "R6's", but take great pictures.

I love taking things apart to find out what makes them tick. I do not have the patience to document the lessons learned in a format to share with others.

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Old 10-29-2009   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Kaplan View Post
You must lead an awfully boring life! No offense, but there must be more fruitful things to do than speculate about sixty year old lost lens shipments.
I was thinking the same about bringing a stuffed monkey around and taking photos of it. But to each, his own.
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Old 10-29-2009   #17
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Quote:
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I was thinking the same about bringing a stuffed monkey around and taking photos of it. But to each, his own.
Yeah, but Monkette talks. I've never heard a lens talk, have you? ...much less a lens with no clear history.
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Old 10-29-2009   #18
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Yeah, but Monkette talks. I've never heard a lens talk, have you? ...much less a lens with no clear history.
Heh heh, you got me there Mark.
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Old 10-29-2009   #19
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Monkette has managed a couple of succesful political campaigns for mayor and city council here in North Miami, and more people were folowing the mayoral race on my blog than in the Miami Herald according to Google's statistics. In the last election (this past May) her candidate was a woman with no political experience at all running against a popular multi-term city councilman. After three recounts it was agreed that the woman lost by 13 votes, not too shabby. His wife congratulated Monkette and me.

It's all in good fun. I've known some of these movers and shakers since they were in high school and I wasn't much older, like 40 years ago. Yes, it takes a bit of guts to show up at Chamber of Commerce and City Council meetings, orstroll through the super market, with a toy monkey perched on your shoulder. I've been spreading the word that in 2011 Monkette is going to be charging $5,000 to act as a political consultant, 10 grand to manage a campaign.

Probably half the photos at http://thepriceofsilver.blogspot.com for April 2009 show Monkette (and me) working on a couple of politcal campaigns.

Even AT&T used the exact same toy monkey in their TV commercials (after I did). Do you think that the executives at AT&T felt silly?
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Old 10-29-2009   #20
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I've mostly followed Nikon history through NHS, but I find the history of how things develop to be interesting and entertaining, and I appreciate your effort to bring that history to us. Thanks!

Last edited by MikeL : 10-31-2009 at 06:47.
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Old 10-30-2009   #21
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The behavior on this thread by RFF members is an embarassment. It's the best and worst of Internet forums.

Someone has gone out of their way to document a piece of trivia, and a bunch of cranky old men ridicule him for it.

On behalf of the RFF community, I apologize to The OP and can only hope that he does not write RFF off of his list of forums to visit.
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Old 10-30-2009   #22
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The behavior on this thread by some RFF members is an embarassment. It's the best and worst of Internet forums.

Someone has gone out of their way to document a piece of trivia, and a bunch of cranky old men ridicule him for it.

On behalf of the RFF community, I apologize to Peter (CanonRFinder), and can only hope that he does not write RFF off of his list of forums to visit.
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Old 10-30-2009   #23
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I find this sort of thing very interesting as it puts information together about people. For the folks who find it boring I recommend the back button.

B2 (;->
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Old 10-30-2009   #24
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I agree with the above couple of posts and remind some of you (who know of this history) we have, in the past, lost valued members to the RF forum who possess valuable, specific knowledge about photo gear due to some unharnessed insults and snide remarks. So if your intent is to deride and mock opinions while supplying nothing of any worth, perhaps another forum might be more to your liking. I hear MySpace and Facebook enjoy such banter.

So I will also add my thanks to Peter and wish ONLY that he would discover the ENTER key, to break his many sentences into paragraphs! I hope that won't drive him away....

Let's all lighten up. Remember, we already lost Brian once and had to badger him to return. I think Raid, also. To paraphrase your Moms, -- If you don't have anything nice to say --- Shut-Up!

Have a nice day.
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Old 10-30-2009   #25
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I, for one, find this Canon rangefinder minutiae fascinating. I love Peter's Canon rangefinder lens book and look forward to his upcoming book on Canon rangefinder accessories. The more he posts about this kind of stuff, the better.

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Old 10-30-2009   #26
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History must be taken seriously, and for that reason I would not glorify with that name the allotting of distinctive serial numbers to lenses made to replace lost ones. Paul Rudolph is history and Oskar Barnack is history: a stock-keeping and accounting procedure is not history as I understand it.

I may have been labelled a cranky old man because the labeller did not have the patience to read this part of what I said: "There were and are those who go into 'royal' dynasties in great detail, so there is no reason why a business house should not receive the same attention."

A friend who lives in Toronto has been sending me photos he took of a recent event there called the Zombie Walk: people wearing make-up, mainly red paint, and clothes to look like television ghouls. Had there been such a walk in my city, I should probably have recorded it, even though we have more pressing things to deal with, things like poverty and hunger. Apart from being colourful, a record of this sort of "fringe" activity should be useful to sociologists and psychologists and may well be useful to social historians.

Toy monkeys and serial numbers are best ignored, or else they may be laughed at indulgently. They should not serve as grounds for wanton labelling and digs about not immaculate conception.
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Old 10-31-2009   #27
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Doctor, heal thyself. No idea who said that first.
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Old 10-31-2009   #28
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Leica trivia could fill entire hard drives! Tom, when did Leica (or was it still Leitz at that point) switch to grey spools in IXMOO cassettes? Does anybody know the year by year production figures? Were any cassettes marketed in brass finish or is it just a matter of the black wearing off? Why in hell didn't Leitz engrave serial numers on the things?
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Old 10-31-2009   #29
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This is pathetic. The cranky old men have hijacked this thread to question what is worthy of posting and what can be discussed without ridicule.

Now they've made me very cranky. And I'm already old. Otherwise I would not have hijacked this thread to comment on other CRANKY OLD MEN.

And Payasam and AL: You just proved my point that you are cranky old men.

I'm so cranky right now, I feel like hurling insults.
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Old 10-31-2009   #30
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You and at least one other have hurled enough insults already. You have done that without reading, or without understanding, what I said. Unlike Al, I am not unwilling to grant that this "research" may have some value. I do not think it has any, but I do not pretend to be omniscient. Even if it is devoid of value, it harms no one. My objection is to your gratuitous name calling. That is what should embarrass you.
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Old 10-31-2009   #31
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I agree that it is best to ignore matters of no interest to oneself:
Well what about taking your own 'advice' payasam?
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Old 10-31-2009   #32
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Airds, I have been called names. Should I not take at least some interest in that?
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Old 10-31-2009   #33
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Trivia: You can reblacken brassed old Leica cassettes with gun bluing.

Question on trivia: Do any Leica cassette users bother to replace the missing or disintegrated felt rings that were once in them? They seem to work as well without them.
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Old 10-31-2009   #34
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Thankyou, Fred.

It reads much better now.
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Old 10-31-2009   #35
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Thank you Fred. The derailed discussion was getting nowhere.

Peter, I've always enjoyed knowing as much as I can about the vintage optics and the information on these serial numbers. I am looking forward to your next book with great excitement!

Cheers,

p.s. Hope your legs get better soon.
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Old 10-31-2009   #36
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Peter, now that Fred has resolved this rather unfortunate situation, any more Canon rangefinder tidbits you want to tell us about?

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Old 10-31-2009   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanonRFinder View Post
Ah, a lively discussion, which is what, I like to see. I check the RFF site quite often and skip most of the subjects unless they interest me in some way. I also know I should get of my butt and use some of my many Canon Rangefinder lenses I own so as I can enter into some of the discussions on why this lens is better than others in regards to Bokeh, vignette, contrasts etc and now the book is out of the way I will. I also knew that Nikon placed a colon after the serial # but Rotoloni (I have his books and NHS journals) is still unsure why and can only theorize. Another small thing that intrigued me was when Nikon collectors were mentioning a certain “tick” mark on F series lenses and by Googling, I found out what it was and why these lenses sell sometimes for high prices. All these small additions add to the knowledge of Nikon and likewise to other makes. My main aim and still is, is to broaden the knowledge on Canon RF gear, as there was nothing out there in the English language other than Peter Dechert’s book. Maybe now people who have purchased my book will realise that certain Canon RF Lenses are unique. I suppose I got a bit uptight about the “bored” remark but life is anything but that. Anyway, I will keep adding dribble to this forum, as there is really nowhere else to have a discussion or put a point across where people who are interested in other makes can access a variety of information besides variety is the spice of life. Peter
Peter,
Thank you for your observations regarding the Canon RF cameras and lenses. I bought your book a while ago, and I frequently read parts of it for enjoyment. Your contributions here are welcomed.
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Old 11-23-2009   #38
harry01562
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I'm glad that the smoke has been cleared, and those interested in "trivia" or research, whichever you call it, can compile lists and gather arcane data without fear of ridicule or sarcasm.
Seriously, their is too little available on many facets of Canon history. We haven't had the benefits that Nikon and Leica have had until recently. The publishing of the Lenses book has increased awareness, and brought new people, and old people out of the closet. Most of us are hoping the next book will have a shorter gestation time, but we'll wait, nevertheless.
One observation, Peter, on the pics in the first post. I know you must have noticed that the last digit appears to be not quite in correct spacing and placement with those preceding. That might be a clue as to timing, if not reasons. Any thoughts?

Harry
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