Shakespeare reel dating
They all have the basic classic body (housing) design of the very first Mitchell with a three screw "Cover Plate" as shown above.
Plus and most important; these all were serial numbered in sequence at the Mitchell factory after assembly regardless of the different models or even which distributor (country) they were made for.It's very important to know that ALL Mitchell reels started using this dating system starting in 1974 to their last reel in 1989!
Keeping this in mind:1st Version – 1939/40 No Serial Numbers but a “unique” #5 is stamped on foot2nd Version – 1940/46 No Serial Numbers but various stamps on foot.3rd Version – 1946/49 No Serial Numbers but various stamps on foot but in 1949/52 Serial Numbers first begin within the 3rd version release.
These have a letter prefix starting with “A” followed by only 5 numeric digits.
The highest number found with this prefix on a 4th version was #C92525.
Though most vintage Mitchell reels have oval shape bodies; my purpose for identifying these reels as Egg-Shape is very simple.
The lowest SN I’ve documented is #40779 and the highest is #9963012 and over 900 more serial numbers in between and growing!
Matching Serial Number stickers started being placed on each box’s outer brown paper shipping wrap somewhere within this time period.
Mitchell closed the factory in 1988/89)1989 = T (New Old Stock Parts were used to make limited quantities of Mitchell reels that were still being hand assembled in France)1990 = No serial numbers with few exceptions such as the Mitchell 300 PRO Anniversary that has been documented as one model still being assembled in France however; most models are now being manufactured in Taiwan.
Shakespeare used a 2 letter dating code from 1929 to 1977, they are usually on the reel foot or near the name or the model number.