Korean Instruments Product Dating

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How can I find out when my Korean-made instrument was manufactured? How can I find out how old my instrument is?

DATING YOUR KOREAN-MADE FENDER/SQUIER INSTRUMENT


Although Fender began producing Fender and Squier instruments in Korea in 1988, its digital records only go back to mid-1993, with little if any information available on serial numbering from 1988 through 1992. It is accepted that there were serial numbers with and without letter prefixes at that time, but as definitive information is lacking, serial-number dating for Korean instruments made before 1993 is highly uncertain.

Digital records beginning in 1993 show some “CN” and “VN” prefixes on the serial numbers of Korean-made instruments (these numbers almost certainly occur before 1993, but there is no documentation of this). Serial numbers without letter prefixes have been found dating through 1996; these are six-, seven- and eight-digit serial numbers with the first numeral (or first two numerals in the eight-digit numbers) indicating year of manufacture. A seven-digit serial number beginning with six, for example, indicates 1996; a seven-digit number beginning with seven denotes 1997; an eight-digit number beginning with 98 denotes 1998, etc.

A “KC” prefix was introduced on Korean-made instruments in 1997, designating instrument made in Korea at the Cort factory. The letter prefix is followed by an eight-digit number, the first two digits of which identify year of manufacture, (i.e., 97 for 1997, 98 for 1998, etc.). The remaining six digits are the unit identifier, but they are not sequential and do not provide further identification information about the instrument.

The numbers for each year typically overlap, as there is always a transitional period between successive years and as necks and complete instruments that were made and serial numbered late in any given year were used on instruments assembled and sold in the early months of the subsequent year.

As always, dating by serial number is not an exact science and is seldom definitive. These charts are meant only as guides and, due to the absence of thorough and uninterrupted records, hence do not offer complete reliability.

SERIAL NUMBERS PRODUCTION DATES
6, 7 and 8 digits
1988-1996
CN0 + 5 digits
VN0 + 5 digits
1990-1991
CN1 + 5 digits
VN1 + 5 digits
1991-1992
CN2 + 5 digits
VN2 + 5 digits
1992-1993
CN3 + 5 digits
VN3 + 5 digits
1993-1994
CN4 + 5 digits
VN4 + 5 digits
1994-1995
CN5 + 5 digits
VN5 + 5 digits
1995-1996
CN6 + 5 digits
VN6 + 5 digits
1996-1997
6 digits (6XXXXX, etc.)
7 digits (96XXXXX, etc.)
8 digits (96XXXXXX, etc.)
1988-1996
KC97 + 6 digits
7 digits (96XXXXX, etc.)
8 digits (96XXXXXX, etc.)
1997-1998
KC98 + 6 digits
1998-1999
KC99 + 6 digits 1999-2000
KC00 + 6 digits 2000-2001
KC01 + 6 digits 2001-2002
KC02 + 6 digits 2002-2003
KC03 + 6 digits 2003-2004
KC04 + 6 digits 2004-2005
KC05 + 6 digits 2005-2006
KC06 + 6 digits 2006-2007
KC07 + 6 digits 2007-2008
KC08 + 6 digits 2008-2009
KC09 + 6 digits 2009-2010
KC10 + 6 digits 2010-2011
KC11 + 6 digits 2011-2012
KC12 + 6 digits  2012