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the case of the missing raleigh serial numbers

September 23, 2010

Raleighs

As I’ve thrown myself head-first into owning and learning about vintage Raleighs (in the span of about one month, we went from owning zero Raleighs to three Raleighs – yikes!), I’ve compiled a growing list of questions.

One of these has to do with the serial number each Raleigh supposedly has on the seat lug. My Grand Prix has such a serial number embossed into the back of the seat tube and as a result I know that the bike was made in Nottingham (serial number starts with an ‘N’) in January of 1987. But I have been unable to find any number or identification mark of any sort on the 1960s Raleighs (a men’s Sprite and a women’s Sports).

I’m not ruling out the possibility that I’m just being obtuse about it and just not finding it, but I’m also wondering whether it’s possible that some Raleighs did not have serial numbers embossed on them? Has anyone come across something like this before and, if so, have any information about this?

A brief online search hasn’t yielded much information and I’m not certain what to make of our two rogue Raleighs with no IDs. Thank you for any tips in advance!

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2010 13:52

    While I know this doesn’t answer your question about whether it’s possible the Raleigh didn’t have a number, and you have likely done this, have you flipped the bike over to look on the bottom bracket area? This is where I discovered my Raleigh’s serial number. From what I’ve read, they were stamped in various areas on these bicycles. Just a thought. I would say that perhaps it’s been covered or worn off, but from what you’ve shared in picture form, the bikes seem to be in pretty good shape, so I wouldn’t think that would be the case. Perhaps others will have good suggestions or ideas for you. I wish I could be more helpful.

  2. Gary permalink
    September 23, 2010 16:44

    S,

    Check closely on and behind the seat post lug as well as the seat tube. The stamped numbers may be difficult to see. I’ve used a flashlight to help in seeing the stamped numbers. Refer to this web site for aditional information:
    http://www.jaysmarine.com/TH_RS_1973.html

    Gary

    • September 23, 2010 17:10

      Thanks, Gary, I think I’ll try using a flashlight and looking some more!

  3. Gary permalink
    September 24, 2010 15:49

    S,

    I checked my wife’s ’72 Sports this morning, as well as another ’72 women’s Sports from my collection, for the serial numbers. Both bikes had the serial number stamped on the front of the seat tube. I posted several photos of my wife’s bike in my Flickr set:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/stl914/sets/72157622060575459/

    Good luck and definitely use a flash light, the brighter the better.

    Gary

  4. Gary permalink
    September 24, 2010 16:05

    I forgot to mention that the serial number on my ’73 Sports is located on the top of the seat tube lug in the front. Again, using a flashlight, look just beneath the nose of the saddle. I also posted a couple of photos in the same Flickr set as noted above.

    Gary

  5. September 26, 2010 03:19

    Hi,

    I have what looks like the same bike. Mine does have a serial number right under the seat post. The closest one I found is this one http://sheldonbrown.com/retroraleighs/sprite.html

    I would also like to know if my bike is one of those. I have a serial number, but I couldn’t find the year anywhere. It looks just like the one in the picture except that the chainguard is shorter. It came with the original brooks saddle and original dunlop tires and even with the olive book rack.

    Anyway, I hope you find the serial number.

  6. bob kocak permalink
    September 1, 2012 12:38

    A new numbering system was introduced in 1955, though this ran concurrently with the old one for two years. The new system involved a second running letter, added to the first, which began at the start of the alphabet.
    1956 23839 A 1961 13126 AF
    1957 27227 AB 1965/6 40814 FD
    1958 17910 AD 1966 64521 FE
    1960 27273 AE
    The material above was gathered from the Nottinghamshire Archives by Jim Burton

    I am trying to date my Raleigh Trent Sports bike and the serial# is 19808/AC. The best I can figure is it is built somewhere between 1957 and 1958, I presume, if the letter coding is correct. Can anyone give me an address or website to further investigate this? I am not asking you to do the legwork just a pointer on where to go from here. Thank you in advance for any help I can receive. Bob

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