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Thread: Cooke Portrait Lens Serial Numbers

  1. #1

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    Cooke Portrait Lens Serial Numbers

    Is anyone keeping a database of Cooke Portrait Anastigmat (i.e. with soft focus adjustment) lens serial numbers? I just picked up a 12.75" IIB and thought it would be interesting to start compiling serial numbers for Series I, II, & VI. Just in the last week I've been able to gather over 100 lenses worth of data and start to see some year/serial number connection.

    Does anyone know when the transition from non-knuckler to knuckler started in terms of serial numbers? (1924 in terms of date, I know) I'm guessing somewhere around 115,XXX.
    I'm also trying to establish the earliest serial number for each series since there is a fairly good sense of what year each series started.

    I have a copy of the Lens Collectors Vade Mecum and I've checked various soft focus lens resources online (i.e. antiquecameras.net.) I'm putting together a Google sheet so that folks can add their lens series and serial numbers to the database if they like.

  2. #2

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    Re: Cooke Portrait Lens Serial Numbers

    I am not certain that there was an abrupt change from barrel to knuckler versions. There must have been a market for the significantly lighter early versions. There were a quite a large number of totally french language engraved Cookes sold through the Paris agent.

  3. #3

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    Re: Cooke Portrait Lens Serial Numbers

    Yes, mine has the French engraving. I feel like I've seen at least one with German engraving as well.

    114165 is a non-knuckler II/14.5"
    116354 is a knuckler II/10.5"

  4. #4
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: Cooke Portrait Lens Serial Numbers

    No French on either

    125439 Series II 10-1/2 inch f4.5 Knuckle
    56973 Series II 14-1/2 inch f4.5 No Knuckle

    I am interested in dates and the file.

    Thanks!

  5. #5

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    Re: Cooke Portrait Lens Serial Numbers

    Excellent. Thank you. Neither of those were on my list.

  6. #6
    LF/ULF Carbon Printer Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Re: Cooke Portrait Lens Serial Numbers

    My 15" Series II F4.5 Knuckler which is for sale has a serial number of 119743.

  7. #7

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    Re: Cooke Portrait Lens Serial Numbers

    Thanks Jim. I added that to the list the yesterday when I saw your for sale post. Seems like Cooke might have abandoned the 14.5" focal length in favor of the 15" when they switched to the knuckler for soft focus adjustment.

  8. #8

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    Re: Cooke Portrait Lens Serial Numbers

    Mine run the gamut and perhaps span 60+ years. I have No. 3262 13" Series II, with rear thread spacing, 125357 is a 15 1/2" Series VI, #186545 is my latest and may be on your list having just exited Ebay recently, it is 13" Series VI, and last and newest is Series IIE 503942 12 3/4" factory single coated and I believe from about 1957. All are spectacular, but you did not need me to tell you that. So I'll claim oldest and newest until someone bumps me.

    Oops. Forgot the big 18" Series VI upstairs. I'll get that number shortly. Pretty bad when you forget how many Cooke's you have.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  9. #9

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    Re: Cooke Portrait Lens Serial Numbers

    Jim G, Lol. What a terrible problem to have. Yes, IIE 503942 is definitely the highest number on my list. Nice to have markers on both ends of the spectrum

  10. #10

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    Re: Cooke Portrait Lens Serial Numbers

    19343 Serie II 13in 8x10 f4.5 with rear thread spacing
    26448 Serie VI 13.1in 8x10 f5.6

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