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FON consists a batch number of usually four digits, followed by a one letter (sometimes prefixed by a space) followed by one or two digits (ranking).1935-1937: Letter between the batch number and the order number. 0123 A5 1938-1941: Two or three letters before batch number. If there is a second character follows it is the code for the type of the instrument.Thence 5 digits and no space between the year (5) and the serial number.(After 5 9999 came 510 000) Evidently the production was high in 1956 because "6 9999" is exceeded.Some instruments from the fifties also had been such a stamp. The same confusing six-digit serial system of the sixties was maintained until 1975.This means that instruments with the same serial number can be from the 60s or 70s.Gibson stopped the stamped serial numbers at the end in 1960, although there are a few guitars made in 1961 with a "1" as a prefix.Some lap steels and Les Paul's from 1961 have such a serial number.
Factory Order Numbers (FON) with a letter from 1935 to 1941.(G = Gibson, K = Kalamazoo, W = Recording King (Montgomery Wards).If follows there is a third letter E, it stands for Electric.If the stamped number consists 5 digits, there is a space between the first and second digit (a separation between the last digit of the year and the actual serial number).When a six-digit serial number is concerned, there is no space, because the highest number in four digits (9999) has been exceeded and so fills the space. In 1955, Gibson forgot to put back the serial number range to 0001. For this reason, the array of four-digit serial number was exceeded after 9999.