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Calling all Celestron C8 owners


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I read your post with interest as I have been trying to date mine. I have a C8 on a Super Polaris Vixen mount; the serial number is 877783 and the corrector glass has 8765 c etched on it. I bought this a 3/4 years ago secondhand in Lincolnshire, my first proper telescope! There was no date on the RA motor as has been suggested by posts on Cloudy Nights Forum.The nearest thing I have to dating it is the manual which is copyrighted to 1992. I guess it to be circa 1993, or I would like to think so as everything looks to be very clean inside. I say this because, when reaching round to remove the front cover, which was off, I inadvertently tweaked the secondary mirror mount and found it to be loose. Aagh! Panic, panic. Recourse to internet, panic subsides and I boldly whip off the corrector lens and peeped in. I will be posting a help message soon in a fresh post as soon as I get out of my depth - very soon I suspect. Hope this helps.

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  • 2 months later...
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I own a C8 that I purchased thirty six years ago...here's the data.....April 1982 .....814325....I now have the optical tube mounted on an Advanced CG-5 GT Mount and retired the old Fork Mount that I

I worked at Celestron-Pacific from about Oct 1965 to about 1971. I originated the sequential serial numbering for the C8, with a simple #1. This continued until I left. I understand the index card box

There is something about that orange and dark grey colour scheme that is very attractive in a slightly nostalgic kind of way The age you have estimated may well be right but I believe that I read

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Hello - I have inherited an very old C8 orange tube. It came with several boxes of accessories - this is as close to ground 0 for C8's - Serial # 0136. Documentation in the box dates from 1970 and '71. So I believe this was made in 1970, when their production optics were all hand figured and matched. The mirror looks in good shape, but the corrector plate is dirty with some small mold spots on the inside. I airbrushed and then took it to tryout on Saturn last night. I think the optics are very likely superb, focus test is perfect. Saturn looked sharp, given its low altitude, but definitely the view was dim and affected by the dirt on the corrector. Hope this helps with the registry that you are putting together. Any advice on how to proceed with restoration is appreciated...

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It sounds like the no1 priority is to remove and clean the corrector plate. As well as the usual advice about marking the orientation of the corrector I would add that early C8's had a green glass corrector that was fairly rough cut as far as the diameter was concerned. Positioning the corrector was facilitated by small bits of cork packing, it is also important to note the location of these and replace them in their same position. Be careful when removing the corrector as these cork inserts can either stick to the corrector or the cell. Might be worth taking a photo for future reference. :smiley:

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  • 1 year later...

WOW, what an interesting thread and I'm glad it popped up in a Yahoo Search.  So here are my 2 cents.  A friend gave me one of his vintage scopes today, a Celestron SPC8, black tube, original vintage 7 Degree spotting scope and original wood tripod with the Super Polaris EQ mount.  He said it was the early 1980's and definitely not after 1985!  Here is where mine seems to differ from others I've seen pics of online.  Mine is not fork/arm mounted, it is attached using 2 screws on a permanently attached bar on top of the mount - it is not a dovetail either, just two roughly 1/4" diameter screws and they screw into little protrusions (kind of like little feet) on the bottom of the tube rings.  I weighed it today and it was just over 13 pounds.  The back plastic part where the eyepiece goes is textured but quite smooth....I know that sounds odd but you can clearly see it is textured but when touched, it is smooth, not rough or bumpy.  I don't know what it is called but on the eyepiece coming out of the scope, you screw on a metal piece (it is two pieces that are loose until tightened onto the scope) and then the diagonal goes into it and then the eyepiece goes into the diagonal.  Focuser is about a 1 3/8" long textured knob about as round as my first finger (maybe the thickness of a chapstick tube).  The tripod has the typical R.A. and Dec setting circles but on the back, under the cover of the built in "polar scope" there is also 2 scales on this as well, one large one and one smaller one.  All "setting circles" are obviously numbered but there is also what looks like Chinese writing on each one as well.  The R.A. and Dec "lock knobs" are little push levers, not bolts/screws as with today's lock knobs.  As for a serial number.....this is interesting....I looked everywhere people mentioned it could be but there is nothing in those places.  However, what's odd is there is a hand written "number" towards the back of the scope (towards the eyepiece) on the black tube that seems to be in pencil which is ABB00G and this is clearly under the clear coat that was put over the paint.  The only other writing at all on the scope is Starbright Coating.  I noticed on other pics of scopes like mine, there is Celestron writtten on the tube and it is written along with focal length and f/stop around the rim that holds in the glass at the front of the telescope.......there is NO writing at all on my scope.  Honestly we do not even know the tubes focal length or the f/stop  :embarassed:   If anyone would be interested in seeing pics, let me know and I'll take some and post them in a reply!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Time for another `dating` session methinks. I got a bit greedy I`m afraid. Not content with one of Peter Drew`s specials from way, way back I took the plunge and bought an orange C8 (locally thank goodness). I seem to have a penchant for old metal scopes. If my calculations are approximately correct, when adding the ages of these 2 scopes together, they would have qualified for the state pension years ago. I took a bit of a chance with the C8 as I was unable to try it out when I visited the owner - fog. There were another 6 callers in the wings, everything looked OK so the deal was done. I believe I am the 3rd owner of this C8 (all Scotsmen). In fact I think I`ll call it Mr Mc8. The first bought it in the States and brought it here; the 2nd bought it 10+ years ago and it has been sitting, set up but not being used in a dry attic bedroom. So - on with the chase.

For what it is worth I think that it dates to about 1975 but I`m sure that some of you orange C8 groupies (?remember that fine word?) are desperate to shoot me down in flames. Go ahead I will learn something. I reached my conclusion by researching info available on the net including Uncle Rod and SGL. These 2 sources were invaluable and were a joy to conduct! I think it would be best simply to describe the scope.

Let`s start with the tripod. Each of the legs forms a triangle and it is rock steady. The legs cannot be shortened or lengthened although the tension can be varied a bit by adjustment of a bolt in each leg. To fold it away each leg lifts up and they come together. The only disadvantage to this tripod is the feeling that you are dancing with an octopus - but I can accept that. I have danced with a lot worse in my time!  When set up the legs lock into place. Luckily there is no pitting on the legs.

Next is the wedge. What a corker! It is solid, strong and beautifully engineered. Old fashioned simplicity and built to last - no IT to go wrong on this. There is no movement when attached to the tripod and to the OTA base.

The forks are coloured a kind of brown/grey and  have a line of holes going up them.

The base of the OTA contains the address of Celestron Pacific, not Celestron International. The serial number is on the base and not on the corrector plate. It is imprinted on a strip of metal and I can just imagine a little old man tapping away with a light hammer. It is difficult to read but I made it out with the assistance of a magnifying glass. Serial no :- 339263. 

Now the OTA itself. The colour is orange and the surface is very smooth. There is no speckled effect. It has the normal 6x30 orange focuser. The dust cap is a very light weight metal and is smooth on the outside. There is no knob. The interior looks pristine. The back is ribbed, splitting into 4 equal areas. The action is smooth. The cable ends in an American 2 pin plug. I will have to get a transformer before I use it - 110v/240v.

It came with 5 Celestron Japanese circle T eyepieces.

I took it out to work it manually and to see what I had ended up with. It was not a good night - high, light cloud, hardly any stars but the moon was bravely trying to give me a helping hand. I was not prepared for what I saw. The clarity took my breath away. It was just as though the scope was burning its way through the thin cloud. I increased the power and again the sight just hit me. This was my first ever time with an SCT and the first with an old C8. I was quiet!  A friend was with me and he has had a Tasco (modern) Newtonian for a few years. He has been put off a bit by the performance of his optics. When he went to the eyepiece I heard an immediate WOW. He had not seen anything like it before. He then started gibbering. I decided to try something else. The cloud had cleared a little. That morning the postman had delivered a package to me. I opened it up and popped in a Delos 12mm. I had to play about with it at first. I have never looked through a Televue before. Then the panorama was before me as I looked around inside the tunnel and I just stared. My mate then took over. No Wow this time just silence. Then the cloud really set in. But tomorrow night it is forecast to be really clear for the evening and some of the night. Guess who is coming over to help me out!! My wife will be indoors and his wife is on the works night out.

The C8 optics seem to be just fine. I know that many of you will have wonderful modern coatings and quality optics. For me with little experience of other scopes, especially those of the modern day, I am so far very happy with my elderly C8.

Over to you now ladies and gents. Should you require further description please ask. If nothing else I hope that this will add to the information on this thread and may assist others to date their orange C8.

Kind regards

Dave

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I was asked to send pics of my scope to a couple of "old timer" astronomers that are, I guess, Celestron specialists, and I found out mine was made in 1983 or 1984 as those were the 2 years that Celestron made the black tube for the vitage age telescopes.  Everyone, regardless, seems to be puzzled why my Serial # is hand written in pencil on the OTA as I guess most were on the base on a metal plate or on the corrector plate.

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  • 2 months later...

Thank you sgazer for starting such an interesting thread! and EssexMigrant for compiling the big list!

I have just acquired an old orange C8 811935 so only 3 before one of your original list sgazer! I have an urge to play "where are they now" any idea where you found your starter numbers?! 

I'm a returner after 30ish telescopeless years and so far definitely not regretting choosing an old C8 over a smaller modern telescope! 


It took me a while to get over my tears having trusted someone else to package it and use a courier - the finder had sheared off in transit so with a jolt like that, I know I have to get to it with the collimation ... but with the few minutes of clear(ish) sky I've had so far I already saw far more of Jupiter than I've ever seen before and began to fall in love... 

I'm sure I'm entering the Orange C8 groupie category already and I've only had it a couple of weeks! 

I've used the last list I saw here and have added any other serial numbers I could find after on this thread and around and about which has got me to the following list: 

0136 orange C8 Documentation in the box dates from 1970 and '71

04936 1973

16228 one owner - bought from a dealer in 1978 https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Celestron-Uncensored/conversations/topics/1213 o

176337 1977

219214 1975

235168 https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Celestron-Uncensored/conversations/topics/1213

339263 orange C8 here: lounge discussion 2496049

339705 1975

391057 orange tube

800685 1980 +/- 1year C8 orange tube Direct purchase from the factory showroom in California.

800732 1975 - 1977 (C8 classic orangetube)

804081 1977

805507 1980 (C8 classic orangetube special coatings)

805630 1980 or later (C8 classic orangetube)

806633 1980 or later (C8 classic orangetube)

808735 1979 or later

810231 (C8 classic orangetube special coatings)

811294 (C8 classic orangetube)

811938 1981

815888 1982

822085 1983 - 1984 (est ?) (C8 classic orange tube) 

825682 at least 1984 (C8 blacktube Starbright…at least 1984 since that's when Starbright came out)

827259 at least 1984 (C8 classic orangetube)

- (Celestron Super C8 on Vixen Superpolaris GEM was first sold in 1984)

- (Haley's Comet came in 1986…Celestron quality supposedly really dipped during Haley's comet craze from 1985 - 1987, until Alan Hale was brought back to turn Celestron quality around in 1988)

845210 1987 (C8 blacktube Starbright coatings) 

847300 at least 1988 (SPC8 blacktube Starbright…ad claimed OTA was hand-selected by Alan Hale for ad photos) 

- (had to be in or after 1988 since 1988 is when Celestron brought Alan Hale back to restore quality and company reputation) 

850745 ???? (C8 classic with Starbright coatings…good optics)

858639 ???? (GP-C8) (older than 1991, newer than 1987)

877563 ???? (C8 blacktube no coatings) (immediately sold after buying, possibly bad optics (claimed "may need collimation"))

877783  C8 and the corrector glass has 8765 c etched on it  manual is copyrighted to 1992.

889700 1991 (Celestron Ultima C8 SCT blacktube) 

900477 ???1993 Celestar

912577 dealer bill of sale "shipped" date of 08/98

914611 approx 1997 Celestar 8 Deluxe

927520 2000 (C8 Fastar Starbright blacktube)

928504 2001 (C8 Nexstar 8 goldtube)

928774 ? (had to be 2001 or later, using S/N 928504 with firm new-scope purchase date above)

934042 2005 (C8 goldtube Starbright non-XLT)

935835 2004 (C8 blacktube C8-S goto Starbright non-XLT)

951489           C8 asgt StarBright

S12078 2009 (C8 Starbright XLT blacktube) 

S12561 (C8 Nexstar 8SE blacktube Starbright XLT)

S14029 (CPC800 XLT)

S16480 2008 (C8 XLT blacktube)

S19669 2009 (C8 XLT blacktube)

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The serial number is on the base and not on the corrector plate. It is imprinted on a strip of metal and I can just imagine a little old man tapping away with a light hammer. It is difficult to read but I made it out with the assistance of a magnifying glass. Serial no :- 339263. 

Hi Dave

Congratulations on your new C8.

As yours has the sand-cast mount (holes in the forks) it will be pre 1976 (the other give away is the 2 prong power socket on the side of the base rather than a 3 prong one in the bottom of the base), Celestron changed to the die-cast mount sometime in the first half of 1976.

Is the last digit of you serial number 3 or 5? Given the rest of the numbers I would agree that it was produced in 1975 and I would expect the last digit to be a 5, not a 3, but maybe the Celestron chap stamping the number picked up the wrong die. And is there a space between the fifth and sixth digits? From around mid 1972 to late 1977 the serial numbers took the form of Qxxxx Y where Q was the quarter the scope was produced and Y the last digit of the year and xxxx a sequential unit number.

Can you see a date on the motors? There should be a long string of numbers around the side of the motor near the top and most, not all, of the motors have a date somewhere in the string of numbers giving the month and last two digits of the year. One of those small inspection mirrors on a stick can be helpful in seeing the string of numbers.

James

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Just to add the serial number of my 1995 GP-C8 (starbright coatings): 891881. An elderly scope heading for its third decade of use (bought in Amstelveen, 27 October 1995). It is a black tube with orange cover. Now equipped with 2" visual back and 14x70mm finder. I have just upgraded the mount to support dual axis drive and guiding port. This old scope is not going anywhere soon.

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Hi Dave

Congratulations on your new C8.

As yours has the sand-cast mount (holes in the forks) it will be pre 1976 (the other give away is the 2 prong power socket on the side of the base rather than a 3 prong one in the bottom of the base), Celestron changed to the die-cast mount sometime in the first half of 1976.

Is the last digit of you serial number 3 or 5? Given the rest of the numbers I would agree that it was produced in 1975 and I would expect the last digit to be a 5, not a 3, but maybe the Celestron chap stamping the number picked up the wrong die. And is there a space between the fifth and sixth digits? From around mid 1972 to late 1977 the serial numbers took the form of Qxxxx Y where Q was the quarter the scope was produced and Y the last digit of the year and xxxx a sequential unit number.

Can you see a date on the motors? There should be a long string of numbers around the side of the motor near the top and most, not all, of the motors have a date somewhere in the string of numbers giving the month and last two digits of the year. One of those small inspection mirrors on a stick can be helpful in seeing the string of numbers.

James

James,

I`m not often right but I`m wrong again! Having looked more carefully this time the last number is a 5, not a 3. To make sure, I compared it with the other 3s in the serial number- definitely different. There is a small space between the 5th and 6th numbers as you said and there appears to be another space between the 1st and the 2nd numbers. As to the other numbers on the motors I have been in contortions trying to identify them. It`s easier trying to spot a DSO on a foggy night. Not having one of your inspection mirrors - it would have to be a very small one- I resorted to various positions, a magnifying glass and direct light. I ended up cross-eyed with my small finger sticking up between the motor and the housing of the base trying to clean any muck away. Don`t worry I don`t adopt this method on mirrors!  Please note : I did not resort to standing on my hands although I considered that option. The problem is that the available space between the motor and the housing becomes narrower as you follow the edge of the motor. Anyway I think that I identified some of the letters/numbers - 3W IRPH  and then what I think  states  11-74  If the last numbers relate to the serial numbers that`s ok but not if it refers to the month and year of manufacture unless the motors were made in November `74 and the scope was manufactured in July to August `75. I just cannot decipher the other figures. Now over to you. I assume that you have (had) an old C8. Where did you find the other information you have detailed in your post?

Michael and YKSE : I don`t blame you for holding onto your C8s.

Regards

Dave

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Thanks for the update Dave.

Yeah, it's difficult to see the motor numbers without taking them out, well done for your perseverance! Unfortunately I don't have a C8, I've been looking out for one on and off but I have a 1981 C5 which used the same base as the C8 and it's not easy seeing them.

Sometimes, there is a space between the first and second digits, sometimes not, I guess it depended on the chap stamping the numbers. The motor dates are quite handy for cross checking as they give the earliest date the scope could be built but there's a bit of an unknown in how long they sat on a shelf at the supplier or Celestron!

So motors with a date of November 1974 tie in well with the serial number which shows your scope as being made in the 3rd quarter of 1975.

As a kid, I spent many hours drooling over the orange tube C8 ads in Sky & Telescope and when I got back into the hobby I started picking up bits and pieces of the C8 history through the Classics forum on Cloudy Nights, including trying to make sense of the serial numbers. Also, bits have been picked up from Robert Piekiel's book, Celestron the Early Years, amd Rod Mollise's (Uncle Rod) blog and his Used CAT Buyer's Guide.

The first ones, the tri-colours (the fork arms were a light greyish colour) which had a Velvet Tone finish, were just given a unit number and the very early ones (up to probably no 125 - they were originally made in batches of 25) had an axial focuser knob around the visual back rather than the offset focus knob that later C8s had. I think the tri-colours ceased sometime in 1972. Then they went over to the date style serial numbers but by the third quarter of 1977 they were getting up to no 9999 so for 1978 they changed to a 5 digit style of ?xxx Y (with the xxx unit numbers restarting), it's not clear to me yet whether the ? represents the quarter (which would limit them to 999 per quarter) or is the first digit of a 4 digit unit number. Also, it seems, based on serial numbers that I've seen, that the change from the sand cast mount (holes in the forks) to the die cast mount, occurred sometime in the first or second quarter of 1976. Then, sometime in 1979 they changed to a non-date specific serial number, which for C8s was 8xxxxx with xxxxx being a sequential unit number (C5s of the period had 5xxxxx numbers). At this time, the location of the Serial number changed from a plate on the base to a number on the secondary holder in the corrector.

So, after 1979 aging a C8 becomes harder if there is no reliable evidence of the purchase date, although the motor dates can give a rough idea.

James

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James,

Thanks for that. The old orange C8s are like London buses. You don`t see any for years then 2 come along at the same time. In the last few months there were 2 up for sale at the same time (orange C8s , not London buses), 1 on e-bay and the other on gumtree (different owners and different locations). I know that the e-bay one sold and I assume the gumtree one sold also as it has vanished. If I see any in future I`ll send you a post.

Dave

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  • 1 month later...

Hello - I have inherited an very old C8 orange tube. It came with several boxes of accessories - this is as close to ground 0 for C8's - Serial # 0136. Documentation in the box dates from 1970 and '71. So I believe this was made in 1970, when their production optics were all hand figured and matched. The mirror looks in good shape, but the corrector plate is dirty with some small mold spots on the inside. I airbrushed and then took it to tryout on Saturn last night. I think the optics are very likely superb, focus test is perfect. Saturn looked sharp, given its low altitude, but definitely the view was dim and affected by the dirt on the corrector. Hope this helps with the registry that you are putting together. Any advice on how to proceed with restoration is appreciated...

You would appear to have the sister 'scope to Tinky, Tim's #135 Velvetone C8 ;-

http://www.cloudynights.com/topic/261730-orange-c-8-135-due-today/

Regards,

Alistair G.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Celestron Celestar 8 white tube, Serial No. 914122

Cast wedgepod number 60108

Original manual Copyright 1997

                          Item # 11015-1

                          6-97

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Well, it's been a while but I guess I'll resurrect this post. I just acquired a nearly mint condition old orange tube C-8 for practically nothing other than being in the right place at the right time.

OrangeTubeC8-X2.jpg

Here's a shot of the corrector plate and serial # which from what I've read here puts it around 1976-77?

Serial # 802514

20171212_195011-XL.jpg

The original triangle tripod is also in great shape with zero pits.

20171212_194800-X2.jpg

Likewise, the wedge looks brand new as well.

Just waiting on a replacement power cord to see if the motors are still good. Also had to pick up some hardware to mount the wedge to the tripod and scope.

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There is something about that orange and dark grey colour scheme that is very attractive in a slightly nostalgic kind of way :smiley:

The age you have estimated may well be right but I believe that I read somewhere (Rod Mollise ?) that the serial numbers are not a precise dating tool.

The condition of your example looks really superb though :thumbright:

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  • 4 months later...
On ‎3‎/‎11‎/‎2010 at 07:06, sgazer said:

I'm attempting to date my Celestron C8 and have been drawing up a list of serial numbers and manufacturing years off the internet. I've read that Celestron can't help and the serial numbers themselves don't translate to much, but I was hoping that if I can collect enough serial numbers, I can find the one closest to mine to get a rough year of manufacture. Currently, I have the numbers below.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could spend a minute adding your serial number and year of manufacture to this thread, particularly if it's close to mine, then I will collate them all into a table. The serial number typically appears to be on the front of the secondary, perhaps under the removable cap if it has one. Many thanks in advance.

Serial year

4936 1973

176337 1977

219214 1975

339705 1975

804081 1977

808735 1979

811938 1981

815888 1982

928774 ? - mine

I own a C8 that I purchased thirty six years ago...here's the data.....April 1982 .....814325....I now have the optical tube mounted on an Advanced CG-5 GT Mount and retired the old Fork Mount that I keep in storage.  Also I've added a ZWO ASI120MC-S Planetary Camera to the inventory and am looking forward to another thirty six years of service...LOL!!!

IMG_20180420_152947063_HDR.jpg

Edited by David Goodspeed
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I worked at Celestron-Pacific from about Oct 1965 to about 1971. I originated the sequential serial numbering for the C8, with a simple #1. This continued until I left. I understand the index card box was destroyed ln a flood. Attached are photos of my C-8, #300, which I picked at random from the production line. The optics are quite good; the only caveat is the corrector plate is soft-coated, which I had done by an outside company. They didn't want to heat the corrector, for fear of breakage. The original orange paint was a matte finish Nextel Velvetone, which after 30 years disintegrated, I repainted the  scope with Rustoleum SailBlue and Harbor Blue; similar to the earlier Celestrons. Joe Myers

CelestronUpgr2.JPG

CelestronUpgr.JPG

P5020004 (Small).jpeg

P5020005 (Small).jpeg

PC150002 (Small).JPG

Edited by Joe Myers
Added serial number, paint colors.
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Wow Joe what a fantastic job you must have had, I'm pretty envious. Also a lovely scope and great colour scheme, I really like the pier it sits on. What is soft coated can you explain this please?

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If yours was orange and had the same type butt plate cover as the one in the picture of the link you posted its definitely an 80s’ model or previous 1980 . That mount looks similiar to the 80s’ model tho . Mine is black , smooth butt plate , Starbrite coating . I bought it in 97’ late summer from www.astronomics.com . They told me they just recently got it in on shipment from  the factory (Celestron) so I’m sure mine is dated early 97 cause they shipped out pretty quick after being built . I’m at work so no access to ser# . 

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