The Gold Standard Series 45 RPM records have been gaining momentum among collectors in recent years. The series that began with the black label, dog on top labels in 1958 had evolved throughout the years to the black label, dog on side (1965), orange label (1968), red label (1970), to the black label, dog near top in 1977.
While there are some notable variations in each of the different releases throughout the years, none has received less attention to documentation than the black label, dog near top labels from 1977 onward. Not only are their variations, complete runs may exist in each of the variations, making this series not only noteworthy; however, worthy of separation into sub-series.
Before continuing, there are variations that at this moment cannot or will not document. These variations include glossy vs the common dull labels and the labels that appear to have a rough crystallization or white texture on them. These labels are likely as a result of poor quality control; however, can be seen in great quantity. It can be remembered buying such labels while new back in the 1970s.
Another variation that will not make catalog as a complete series is the copyright information may vary on the bottom of the labels.
Up until September 2020, there were only two label variations of note. The Gold Standard in white letters directly under the RCA logo. These can be tough to find and only about 25 or so different catalog numbers have been identified with this label. The common label, is where the GOLD STANDARD is located on the right side of the label, directly above the catalog number. Then, there is the recently discovered and notable variation, small RCA logo and small dog. The Victrola is of slightly different design too. This label has been identified with over 30 different catalog numbers. Below is a picture of each of the three main variations..
To illustrate the significance of the size differential, I have painstakingly overlaid two identical labels to completely align the text.
The difference in sizes is approx. 1.16″x.33″ for the small RCA to 1.31″x.77″ for the large RCA. This may mean that I have to redo each of the entries for the Gold Standards to accommodate this newest find. Some matrix numbers will be lost in the shuffle as they were assigned to the black label, dog near top with no differentiation for small and large RCA and Nipper. However, since there are two sizes for RCA. The larger of the two sizes have been around since the orange labels.
So the distinction will be made only for the smaller RCA. The other RCA size will be considered only as RCA, the standard size. Stay tuned, this will likely evolve into a mess.