At some point in 1966 Legnano discontinued the alphanumeric serial numbers that were stamped on the seat lug (photo below) starting in 1939 and on the front of the head lugs going back to 1920. Perhaps the practice was tied to inventory control, accounting and tax law in Italy at the time? It gives me reason to ask an ‘oldtimer’ if the serial number was required to register a bicycle with the local authorities along with an annual fee as we do for motorcycles and cars.
Commencing in 1966/67 and through to approx. 1971-1972 the seat lug was stamped with two numbers (as shown in the photo above) that are shared by many Legnano bikes and different Legnano models as well. In the absence of factory records from the time, the thought was these two numbers represented the different production units in the factory and served as an early quality control and productivity measure. However Giancarlo Guglielmo of Italy brings forward a new hypothesis for the two digit numbers.
Giancarlo proposes that the first number represents the ‘quarter’ of the year the frame was produced. So the number 1 would be Jan-Mar, number 2 would be Apr-Jun, and so on. The second number is the laster number of the year. So a 7 would represent 1967, and a 0 would represent 1970, and so on. Base on this system, the Gran Premio frame in the header photo stamped 30 would have been produced in the 3rd quarter of 1970.
Substantiating this hypothesis should be fairly straight forward as only 1,2,3,& 4 would begin the first two-digit sequence . . . and only 7,8,9,0,1 and perhaps 2 would be found as the second number in the two digit sequence . . . starting with the first quarter of 1967 as 17, then 27, 37,47 and so on through to 11,12,13,14, and possibly through to 24 being the last quarter of 1972. Although I believe these two digit numbers did not go beyond 1973.
Having checked a very large number of Legnano bicycles in my photo archives I could not find an exception to Giancarlo’s hypothesis. The above photo of a Legnano Roma bears the number 26. It is the earliest two-digit frame number that I have on record. Following the logic this frame would have been produced in the 2nd quarter of 1966 and this holds true to this original and unaltered Roma.
What is new to my record keeping, this hypothesis would suggest that the Legnano alpha-numeric serials numbers were finished in the first quarter of 1966 and not at the end of 1966 as I previously thought. Some further checking showed the two digit production numbers were also used on Sportivo or city bike models.
Above is the last alpha-numeric serial number that is in my records. FS5203 stamped on the right side of the seat lug on a Mod.45 Sportivo Signora, a women’s city-style bike (all images can be found in the serial number listing). According to the hypothesis, this frame would have been produced in the first quarter of 1966.
Above is a Mod.50 Sportivo ‘Condorino’ belonging to Mario Erlotti that bears the number 39 on the right side of the seat lug. According to the logic this frame would have been produced in the 3rd quarter of 1969. Although the change in the Legnano downtube logo from the lozenge to the trapezoid shape is generally attributed to the start of the 1970 season, remembering that factory production would be readying in late 1969 for distribution at the start of the new year.
The last or latest two-digit production number in my records is 13 for for a Mod.54 Corsa suggesting a 3rd quarter production for 1971. Noting that I do not have a photo of the actual number on the frame and I am taking the word of the owner on that reference. From my records then, it would appear that the two-digit production numbers ran from the 2nd quarter of 1966 through to the 3rd quarter of 1971 and a little over 5 years in all. If anyone has a two-digit production number on their Legnano ending in 2 or later I would welcome a note and photo at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Although I will be doing a little further exploration of this hypothesis put forward by Giancarlo Guglielmo and his brother Riccardo, at this time I am quite positive in this translation of the two-digit production numbers. For readers that are interested, there is an Italian facebook page (link) that is discussing the matter and posting frame images to substantiate the hypothesis. So let’s raise a glass and a well-earned ‘grazie mille’ to Giancarlo and Riccardo on behalf of all Legnano enthusiasts for his contribution to the historical record.
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I found a Legnano Condorino, that I’m restoring, with the number 29 stamped on the side of the seat lug. It’s referred to the April/June period of the 1969 or 1979? Thanks a lot for your help. Pietro
Ciao Pietro. It would be the April – June period of 1969. Saluti, Mark
Grazie mille, Mark!
Hi I just came across this site. I am looking at buying what I believe is a 1963 or 1964 Legnano Roma with serial number FH6518. Can you confirm by this number what year this frame was made?
Yes the serial number FH6518 would reference a production year of 1963 for the frame you are considering.
Thanks for the quick reply. I guess the next question is what would a frame like this be worth in 9/10 condition. Any ballpark would be appreciated. It’s a 56 ctc.
In addition to the year and condition of the frame, the model of the frame would also determine its value. That said, I do not provide valuations in the interests of both buyers and sellers. Markets are generally pretty responsive to the value of an item.
Do you know of any sites that may have similar bikes for sale? Or where I can check for current valuations? I just don’t want to over pay for this.
I have just found a Legnano ladies bike in totally original condition with the serial number eu688. Can you give me info on year model and value please
Hi James. The Legnano ‘Signora’ would have been produced in 1960-1961 based on the serial number you provided. You would need to provide some photos of the bike to determine the model ( email@example.com ). Regards, Mark
Thank you very much Mark.i am trying to upload a pic but not sure how I can do that. If you can tell me how to I will
Hi Mark I also found a wolsit bicycle serial number 9424A. Any info would be great. I will send a pic via email too
Hi, I’m new here after acquiring a “1958” Olympiade. I say “1958” because thereIone question mark: there is a braze on nut for a centre pull brake just behind the seat lug. Every thing else on this very original Legnano suggested “58 including the frame serial number, EB3336. It has steel cottered Legnano chainset and Universal “51 callipers. So, what do you think? Judging by the tatty paintwork I think it’s original and cant believe the centre pull nut was brazed on for a centre pull and then whoever had it returned to a “58 period side pull. If I. could see how I’d send you some photos. Thanks for any help with this new project. David
Thanks for writing and an interesting question. If you can . . . send a photo or two along of the seat lug to: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see if I can offer you some additional insight.
best regards and happy holidays,