Sunday, August 26, 2012

Volkswagen Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): Part II- 17 character VIN

VIN definition and history.

A car‘s vehicle identification number (VIN) is the automotive equivalent of human DNA. In the early 1980s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sought to standardize these identifying numbers when they began requiring all road vehicles to have a 17-character VIN. A format for Vehicle Identification Numbers was "officially" outlined in ISO Standard 3779 February 1977 which was last revised in 1983.

VW and VINs
Early VINs were not standardized between manufacturers, nor were they called VINs at the onset. VINs are critical pieces of information for identifying the exact VW type and the engine that was put into it when it was built. It helps identify the origin of the VW and may also give clues regarding the stock parts that were used in the vehicle when it was built.

VW 17-character VIN:
With the international standards requirement of a 17-digit VIN number, the VW VIN numbers since August '79 would look something like this:

W  V  W  Z  Z  Z  8  6  Z  C  W  0  6  3  9  9  3

This number can be found on a plate or sticker as well as engraved on the body in letters about 1 cm high. Each character or digit has a particular purpose as follows: 

1st Character- identifies the country where it was manufactured.

VIN Character 1 - Manufacturing Country Codes

1 or 4
















2nd Character-specifies the manufacturer, for example:

VIN Character 2 - Car Manufacturer Codes



















3rd Character- indicates the vehicle type or manufacturing division. This varies among car makes and models.

4th to 8th Character- reveals information about the vehicle's features an/or attributes, such as body style, engine type, model, series, etc. 

9th Character- is a VIN accuracy check digit verifying the previous numbers within the VIN. This is calculated from a mathematical formula after all the other characters in the VIN have been assigned and can either be a single number, or the letter "X". The correct numeric remainder that results from the computation (0-9) is inserted as the check digit but if the remainder is 10, the letter "X" is used to indicate that value. 

10th Character- tells you the model year; varies among car manufacturers 

VIN Character - Model Year Codes

















































































11th Character- reveals the assembly plant for the vehicle. 

12th to 17th Character- indicate the sequence of the vehicle for production as it rolled off the manufacturer's assembly line. The last four characters are always numeric. 

These last six characters are perhaps the most critical portion of the VIN for most European cars. Because of mid-year production changes by car makers, these can be extremely important in identifying the proper part numbers for ignition, fuel emission and engine components. These types of parts are often listed with the caveat that they fit vehicles up to a particular VIN or before/after a particular VIN sequence.

 'Z' is used by VW as a 'filler' character in VIN codes. This means the information for that particular part of the VIN is not provided.  
Production year runs from August to July. So a car manufactured in October 1992, will be a 1993 model according to the VIN. 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Volkswagen Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): Part I- Pre-17 character VIN requirement

VIN definition and history.

A car‘s vehicle identification number (VIN) is the automotive equivalent of human DNA. With the rise of vehicle mass production numbers in the mid 1950s, American automobile manufacturers began stamping and casting these identifying numbers on cars and their parts to give an accurate description of the vehicle. Early VINs came in all sorts of variations, depending on the car manufacturer. In the early 1980s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sought to standardize these identifying numbers when they began requiring all road vehicles to have a 17-character VIN. With the fixed VIN system for major vehicle manufacturers as known today, we now have a unique "DNA" style number for each vehicle that rolls off the assembly line. A format for Vehicle Identification Numbers was "officially" outlined in ISO Standard 3779 February 1977 which was last revised in 1983. 

Where to Find Your VW VIN

VIN numbers are comprised of only numbers (1-0) and capital letters (A - Z). However, the letters I, O and Q are never used in order to avoid confusion in reading. There are no signs or spaces are allowed in a VIN. VINs can be found in several locations on a car, but the most common places are: 
-door frame/door post of the front doors (usually driver side, but sometimes on the passenger side) 
- dash near the windshield 
- the engine itself (machined pad on front of engine) 
- car's firewall 
- left-hand inner wheel arch 
- steering wheel/steering column 
- car's title, registration, guarantee/maintenance book or on the declarations page of your auto insurance policy 

Volkswagen (VW) and VINs.

Early VINs were not standardized between manufacturers, nor were they called VINs at the onset. VINs are critical pieces of information for identifying the exact VW type and the engine that was put into it when it was built. It helps identify the origin of the VW and may also give clues regarding the stock parts that were used in the vehicle when it was built. 

A. VW VINs before the 17-character VIN requirement:

VW used a combination of two numbers- the Chassis Number and the Engine Code to convey information about the vehicles. This can be worked out also from the plates the factory fitted to the car. One can find one or two metal plates (modern ones have stickers): the Chassis plate and the Production plate (if fitted). If your VW is pre-70 model year (pre-Aug 69), you will not find the production plate but you can estimate production plate details from a comparison of chassis numbers.

1. The air-cooled Chassis Plate
This is found on the front panel on Beetles, Type 3s and Type 4s. Types 2s have a similar plate on the bulkhead behind the left-hand front seat, with extra details included. It may look something like this (especially if early 70s):

from Dating your Volkswagen
1st figure: A Type 3 chassis plate is shown above; for a Beetle, this will start with a ‘1’; a Type 2 (Bus) starts '2'; a Type 4 (411/412) starts '4'.

2nd figure- depends on the body style of the vehicle (eg standard or Super).

3rd figure- is the model year. From the 1965 model year, the codes are as follows:
      5     1965
      6     1966
      7     1967
      8     1968
      9     1969
      0     1970
      1     1971
      2     1972
      3     1973
      4     1974

4th figure- from 1970 there is a fourth digit of a 2 (rarely a 3) to avoid earlier numbers being duplicated. In a couple of years production exceeded 1,000,000 which makes the extra '2' become a '3'.

6 figure serial number follows the 4th figure. 

     1*5 123456 is a 1965 Beetle, 
     1*52 123456 or 1*53 012345 are 1975 Beetles. 

2. The Air-cooled Production Plate.

from Dating your Volkswagen

With the production year established using the Chassis Plate, one can also figure out the production day and month. From August 1969, VW fixed a production plate which holds the information you need for this.
This plate is found on Beetles, Type 3s and Type 4s on the front panel near the chassis plate, but painted in the body colour. For Type 2s, the details may be found on the plate behind the left-hand front seat. It gives the production date as the week of the calendar year, and the weekday. Using the plate details, you can work out your VW’s exact date of manufacture down to within a week or so (maybe the exact day using a computer calendar) and even find out the original colour in some cases.

For the sample plate above, this VW was made on Monday, Week 18 (a 1971 calendar lets you work out the actual date). Its factory colour code is 21, which is Marina blue (shown in brochures).
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Coins and History: Australian Penny 1943

As I mentioned in my previous post  On Line Business: Selling Coin Collectibles and Lessons in History; after signing up with the on line store Bonanza and having set up my own booth, I started to go over my coin collection and was able to post the collection for sale. It turned out that coming up with the individual post per item was also as much fun itself as selling  them as each coin became mini lessons in history of the country where the coin was minted. Each coin turned out to be historical snapshots of significant particular timelines per country which I will share with you one coin at a time..

Australian Penny 1943.

Reverse Design: Kangaroo
Obverse Design: King George VI

Most of the information below came from the "Coin Library Australia" from my constant coin resource Typeset Coin Collecting site.

Years Minted: 1937-1952
Composition: 0.97 copper, 0.025 zinc, 0.005 tin
Diameter Type: 30.8 mm
Weight: 9.4 grams
Total Series Mintage: 354,387,800 (circulation)
Obverse Design: Bust Design
Reverse Design: Kangaroo
Unique Features: Plain (smooth)

With the passing of King George V and coronation of King George VI all Australian coinage received a new effigy obverse and most coinage also received a new reverse design including the Penny. Of all redesigned reverses the penny & half penny (which bears the same design) symbolize Australia like none before it. In the same aspect that the Native American Indian designs are identified with United States coinage the Kangaroo says nothing stronger than Australia.

Coins in the series were primarily minted at the Melbourne & Perth Mints. But, during World War II Australia was experiencing coin shortages and to assist, some coins were minted at the Bombay Mint in India. By 1951, Australia was facing another coin shortage and a request was sent to the Royal Mint of London to produce penny coinage in addition to what was already being produced by the Melbourne Mint.


The obverse, designed & engraved by T.H. Paget, features the bust of George the VI facing left.  At the bottom of  George's neck are the designer’s initials “HP”. On the outer periphery are the words "GEORGIVS VI D.G. BR : OMN : REX F.D. IND : IMP" (latin for "George VI, by Grace of God, King of all the Britons, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India") though this would later be changed to just "GEORGIVS VI D.G. BR : OMN : REX FIEDI DEF" (latin for "George VI, by Grace of God, King of all the Britons, Defender of the Faith").

The reverse, designed by George Kruger Gray, features a kangaroo in leaping stride. On the outer periphery is the denomination “PENNY”, country name “AUSTRALIA” and year of issue. Located just above the kangaroo's tail are the designer's initials “KG”. Perth mint pennies feature a dot mint mark after the “Y” in “PENNY” and no dot before “PENNY” though early issues (1940 & some 1941) did not have the dot but instead are recognizable by the designer's initials which have a dot between the letters “K.G”. The Perth mint mark would change one last time in 1952 when the dot was moved after the last “A” in “AUSTRALIA”. Bombay mint pennies featured dots before and after “PENNY” as well as the mint mark 'I' under the bust on the obverse. Melbourne minted pennies carried no mint marks.

My Bonanza Collection:
Please feel free to go over my coin collectibles for sale just in case you might be interested in some of them. I have a considerable number of highly collectible Silver and Bronze US Philippine coins from the 1900s up during the short US administration of the Philippine islands.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blogging for Newbies: 10 common Tips on Increasing Blog Traffic.

I’ve been blogging for only a couple of months now and managed to publish 3 Blogger blogs (Odd OrbitMy Bucket List and  Still the Best Medicine) so far as part of my bucket list tasks. New to blogging in general, I had to learn as much as fast as I can and applied tips as what appears to me as easy to understand just to get things going. Setting up a blog for a marginally knowledgeable techie guy like me was a challenge more so maintaining it and creating traffic. Below is a short compendium of tips from my net surfing on increasing blog traffic for newbies like me- most of which I am trying my best to consistently implement at present with some I plan to get into this coming weeks. 

1) Content- write well, write often ( rule of thumb: 1 blog entry per site per day)
Writing quality content is totally essential to the success of your blog. This will give people a strong reason to visit and more importantly to stay, subscribe and share. The content is what will keep readers coming back for more. Plenty of juicy content should be a prerequisite prior to inviting people more so before attempting any of the paid advertising methods. 

Aside from making sure you have something meaningful to say to your audience, you should NOT forget to say it often to maintain their interest and keep them loyal. The key is to learn not only to write well but also to write as often as possible- 1 blog entry per day is a good rule of thumb. Frequently updating your blog with useful content is the first step to building your blog's audience.

2) Tag Your Posts

It takes a few extra seconds to add tags to each of your blog posts, but it's worth the time in terms of the additional traffic tags can drive to your blog. Tags (like links) are easily noticed by search engines. They're also key to helping readers find your blog when they perform searches on popular blog search engines such as Technorati.

3) Submit Blog to Search Engines.

Get on the radar screen for the popular search engines such as Google and Yahoo! by submitting your blog's URL to them. Most search engines provide a 'Submit' link (or something similar) to notify the search engine of your new blog, so those search engines will crawl it and include your pages in their results. Simply submitting your blog to search engines doesn't mean your pages will appear at the top of a Google search results screen, but at least your blog will be included and will have the chance of being picked up by a search engine.

Remember also Search Engine Optimization Remember to optimize your pages for search engines to find them. Include relevant keywords and links but don't overload your posts with too many relevant keywords or completely irrelevant keywords. Doing so can be considered spamming and could have negative results such as your blog being removed from Google's search entirely.

Google still is, and for a long time will be, the main traffic driver on the web. In order to benefit from Google’s generosity of sharing their customers, as that is essentially what search traffic is, you have to play by the search engine’s rules. Therefore getting your site to rank high remains an important way to drive traffic. Search engine optimization is a critical strategy to drive organic search results.

4) Add links 
In order to attract more traffic you need to build internet “bridges” for people to come visit. These bridges are what are known as links which play a vital role in determining the credibility of your website to the search engines. Make sure though that the site where the link comes from is a good match for what your blog discusses. If used properly links can be one of the most powerful parts of your blog. Not only are links noticed by search engines but it also helps you get noticed by your peers- other bloggers who are likely to visit the sites that are linking to them. This may lead them to become new readers of your blog or for the to return the favor by linking your blog theirs.

5) Submit Your Posts to Social Bookmarking Sites

Taking the time to submit your best posts to social bookmarking sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and more can be a simple way to quickly boost traffic to your blog. 

6) Create a FeedBurner account

Syndicate Your Blog's Content with an RSS Feed. Setting up an RSS feed button on your blog makes it easy for your loyal readers to not just read your blog but also know when you publish new content.

7) Make Commenting work for you- Leave 1+ comments every day

Making comments on blog posts is a simple and essential tool to increase your blog's traffic. It may be through response to comments left on your blog to show your readers that you value their opinions and draw them into a two-way conversation. This will increase reader loyalty. You can also leave comments on other blogs to drive new traffic making sure you leave your blog's URL in your comment for a link back to your own blog. Ensure that you leave meaningful comments that are likely to invite people to click on your link to read more.

8) Include Images in your posts.

People generally are initially attracted visually to your blog before they dive more into the content. Images don't just make your blog look pretty, they also help people find you in search engine listings. People often use the image search options offered by Google, Yahoo! and other search engines, and naming your images with search engine optimization in mind can easily boost your traffic.

9) Paid methods of attracting more traffic to your blog
If you know your conversion rate and you have a monetization strategy then these will work for you. 

a) PPC (Pay-per-Click) Advertising 
Paid keywords, such as Google Adwords, have proven themselves to be cost effective methods for driving targeted traffic to your site. Although cost can be prohibitive for many niches, providing you know your conversion rates and are constantly testing and tweaking, adwords is a way to drive instant targeted traffic to your site. Google offers a lot of resources to help small business owners learn everything from the basics of using adwords to mastering advanced user strategies and tips.

Affiliate traffic is when you pay a third party a referral fee for getting targeted traffic to your site. Affiliates use their own online marketing techniques, methods and internet real estate to advertise your product or service and send the traffic to your site. You may not want to take on this task until you are more established as affiliates want to know expected conversions in return for their investment.

Banners are perhaps the oldest form of advertising on the internet. They act much like billboards in real life. You place a banner in an area of high traffic and when some someone shows interest in what you are offering then they click through and are taken immediately to your site or landing page.

10) Offline efforts 
Engaging on a purely on line endeavor does not necessarily mean that efforts to increase traffic should stop there. Not everything you do has to stay online. Promoting your site offline through business cards, networking, word of mouth, etc.,  can help drive traffic to your blog.  The more people that know about your blog the more likely other people are to find and share it .


Blogging for Newbies: Blogging Don'ts to AVOID....


Friday, August 17, 2012

On Line Selling of Coins: Value Appreciation II -Coin Appreciation

I came across the information below mostly from one of my favorite resources on the net on coin collecting and selling  Being new to coin collecting and selling them at that, I found the information below very helpful which somehow gave me a certain perspective on how I, and potential customers, can appreciate the coins that I have and also to set my expectations early on approximate value for each.

This is the second part of the Coin Value Appreciation (see On Line Selling of Coins: Value Appreciation I -Coin Pricing) . Again, the data is mostly from my constant resource on coin collecting and selling  After the Coin Pricing piece, this second part deals more on the better appreciation of the value of your coin collection based on the actual conditions and nuances of the coin and its it impact on the eventual market value. This evaluation does not use detailed numismatic grading (Very Fine, VF, G-4, MS63, etc.) but uses only more common descriptive terms in describing the coins. This may not sit well with coin experts but it works for me as far as describing my coins online in my booth at Bonanza.  


Wear comes from circulation and is normal part of a  coin's life. Below are the usual descriptions you can use to describe coin wear using plain adjectives. This is of importance not only with coin collection but more so for selling coins on line as the degree of wear on a coin is a factor in the catalog value determination.

This should not take away the fact as you gather more experience in the hobby that you learn more about numeric grading scale on coin wear used by Professional numismatists and avid coin collectors. The terms below can help familiarize you with the nuances on coin wear which can also help even newbie potential buyers appreciate your collection.
Eye Appeal. 

This is not usually accounted for in catalog value. It can help though in communicating this aspect to on line buyer them to have a true idea on what they are getting. You can describe eye appeal in the following ranges:


As the coin wear itself comes from circulation and is part of a normal coin's life, coin damage on the other hand goes over and above normal wear which can render the coin's value almost to zero. Damages can result from excessive wear and tear like scratches, stains, spots, discoloration and corrosion. It can also be deliberate like mounting as jewelry, gouges, nicks and similar physical damage done on purpose. 


Collectors place special coins in holders singling them out as valuable as opposed to the usual coins in circulation which are loose or raw. Loose coins may be valuable as well, but holdered ones are probably worth more than face value. There are a large variety of coin holders available offering varying degrees of protection for your coins. Holders can be as simple as the following;. 

paper envelopes
cardboard 2x2s
plastic tubes

Vinyl 2x2s ("flips")
For more valuable coins hard plastic coin holders are available. "Slabs" are hard plastic holders for individual coins that are sonically sealed by a third party grading service. They offer the best protection available, however they are usually only used for more valuable coins as you have to send the coin to a third party grading service to have them slabbed, so it is not worth the expense in less valuable coins. Airtite coin holders are a very good brand of coin holders which can be found in most coin supply stores and online.


This refers to coin discoloration due to air impurities picked up over time. These added colors do not necessarily automatically diminish coin value as some collectors actually seek them out while others don’t. Below are common terms for toning: 

Die Varieties and Minting Errors. 

A coin die is an extremely hardened, metal stamping tool used to strike coin planchets. At a die’s peak is the reverse or negative image of the coin. 
A die variety is any variation in the normal design of a coin due to errors in the preparation or maintenance of the coin die. These include doubled dies; repunched mintmarks and dates; variations in the placement or alignment of mintmarks, letters and numbers, devices,changes to the die surfaces from over-polishing or die clashes and a number of other minor variations in the final strike of the coin.

69 Indian Head Penny: 9 Over 9 Variety
Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries,
While producing the dies for the 1869 Indian head cent, a production problem occurred that resulted in a doubled die.
The doubling is most noticeable on the last two digits of the date, "69". This is seen a "shadow" above the two numerals.

1888 Indian Head Penny: Last 8 Over 7 Variety
Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries,
It is believed that an 1887 Indian Head cent hub was reused to produce the 1888 Indian head cents.
The lower part of the last in the date (the "7") can still be seen sticking out from the lower left corner of the "8". 
Minting errors on the other hand have variations in their appearance as a result of the manufacturing process itself such as off-center strikes, wrong planchet types, planchet preparation mistakes, etc..

In general, one would usually require magnification to discern small variations in coins with die varieties while minting errors are usually very obvious with the naked eye. Both types carry collector premiums over and above the normal coin value. To be valuable, die varieties and minting errors must be imparted to coins before they leave the mint. Abnormalities derived outside the mint are not valuable.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,