A few of the very earliest cobs have unusual black labels1), unlike the Label Styles usually found.
Black labels with gold ink (see photos below)
Brass ferrules in the center holes and in the drive hole, chamferred on inner edge
Larger diameter wooden core (1.85” (or 1-27/32”) in comparison to 1.82” (or 1-13/16”))
The labels are reminiscent of those used on the Autophone instruments previously manufactured by the company, which often used black and gold in a similar round format. The brass ferrules, although high quality, would have been more expensive than the stamped ferrules of later design, and probably required more labor. The larger wooden core actually prevents the cobs from playing correctly on most instruments, as the valve tips tend to ride on the core, opening them slightly and playing extraneous notes. Since only very low numbers are found in these cobs (hymns started with #1 and popular titles started with #101), it is presumed that these were the earliest production.