The RCA Victor 47 Prefix Series – Popular Mono

RCA Victor introduced the 45 rpm record in April of 1949 to the American public. To ensure the success of the 45s RCA Victor reissued thousands of the 78 rpm records from RCA Victors's vast catalog as 45s. Over half the numbers in the "47" prefix were issued in the first three years of the introduction of the 45 and it would take almost seventeen years for RCA Victor to use up the rest of the numbers available. The 45s are cross-referenced to their 78 equivalent when known. If there is a date in parentheses that is the release date of the 78 the 45 is a reissue of. This is probably most interesting at the beginning of the series as it allows one to get an idea how old the recordings were that constituted some of the first 45s.

The beginning of the 47 series is a bit perplexing. The 47-0000-47-1999 series was designated for childrens records but RCA Victor didn't use many numbers. The 47-1000 series was skipped completely and the 47-2000 popular mono series starts at 47-2715 with a reissue of a 78 originally released in July of 1941.

With the introduction of the 45 was also the introduction of the 45 box set, which consisted of multiple 45s creating an “album”. The 45 box set numbers are a continuation of the numbering system used for 78 albums with a “W” added in front of the “P” (Popular) used on the 78 albums. Generally the box sets consisted of three 45s and used the same graphics RCA Victor had used on the 78 album. Because most 78 albums consisted of four records, some 45s in box sets will appear to have no 78 equivalent. Generally RCA Victor, in making a 45 box set, issued 45s of the first two 78s in an album and the third 45 consisted of one side from each of the remaining two 78s. RCA Victor box sets are indicated by a number starting with “WP” which will be above the 47 prefix number. By the end of 1951 45 box sets were phased out and replaced with Extended Play records (EPs). 

Also at the end of 1951 RCA Victor ended the 48 prefix series (Country Western) and 50 prefix series (Rhythm and Blues) and those recording artists were released from then on in the 47 prefix series.

The 47 prefix series ended in 1971 with the release of 47-9999 by Dolly Parton. By then the 47 popular mono series was overlapping the 74 prefix series of popular stereo. The 47 popular mono series briefly continued as a continuation of the 48 prefix, which had ended at 48-0501 in 1951, with mostly Country Western 45s beginning with 48-1000.

47-0000 series - 1949-1952
47-2000 series - 1949
47-3000 series - 1949-1950
47-4000 series - 1950-1952
47-5000 series - 1952-1955
47-6000 series - 1955-1957
47-7000 series - 1957-1962
47-8000 series - 1962-1966
47-9000 series - 1966-1971

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