MIke Kone wrote in reference to Jan's Cinelli:
> We've spoken about this before, but now I can air my thoughts in public (and
> someone can correct any mistakes in my logic). The bb info should place it
> about 1961 to 1964 if the story is true. The rear deraillieur spring hole
> should also place it early 60's (wasn't it 1963 for this one?) The front brake
> reach being shorter than the rear is consitant with the period (Universal 61's
> were packaged as sets quite often with a shorter reach brake).
> The stinker is that the lugs are the earlier style with the projections (ears)
> on the side of the lugs that wrap forward around the headtube. My money,
> though, is that the frame is between late 1962 or 1964.
The use of the spring hole in the Campagnolo drop-out dates from about 1953, hence a full decade before what Mike is guessing. It was mainly intended for use with the Campagnolo Sport derailleur. By the 60's these derailleurs had all but disappeared.
Mike is equally mistaken with his hypothesis about the brakes. Front brake reaches of virtually all top quality pre-1960 Italian bikes were what we nowadays consider 'normal' reach, earlier considered 'short' reach. This goes for many of my Italian bikes from the 30's, 40's and 50's. This has absolutely nothing to do with Universal 61 brakes! If anything, with the advent of the Universal 61, the brake reaches were actually lengthened somewhat as compared to Universal 51's. Why? On sidepull brakes, the manufacturers, like Cinelli, could and did ensure mudguard clearance by dividing the front mudguard by breaking it into two pieces, one mounted behind the fork crown and the other mounted to the brake center bolt, in front of the brake. With centerpull brakes this is not possible and the front brake must therefore have longer caliper arms if you want to keep mudguard clearance.
As far as the lug design being indicative of a precise time period, I personally don't subscribe to this theory. I say this as the frame was produced in a manufacturing environment. Not until recent times did FIFO (first in first out) stock rotation truly become widespread. The frame builder or part manufacturer would therefore often simply add new deliveries to his existing stock of components. It could therefore quite conceivably occur that a given component be used far later than expected as it found its way to the bottom of the component bin in the factory. The same also occurs with all components that are not made obsolete by new components made afterwards. As long as a product is not obsolete, manufacturers had no qualms about using it in 'new' production that theoretically would have foreseen a 'newer' version. As an example, I have unpacked three sets of NOS Universal Mod.51 brakes, all taken from the exact same bulk pack sent to a frame builder (hence from the same delivery). The packages had never been opened before and one had the early breadloaf brake blocks and another had the later red brake blocks, both had caliper springs that lock into the affixed nubs on the back of the arms. The third brakeset in the same box had the red brake blocks but the springs that wrap around the arms. You will always find parts of earlier production turning up in what we nowadays consider 'out of place' in later production. That was simply commonplace manufacturing procedure back in the day.
Personally, I would therefore say that it is completely feasible to believe the seller's claimed date for the frame of 1957. I don't see why anybody would want to doubt somebody's word unless there is compelling evidence that it is possibly not true. Maybe it is personal thing or the way one is raised, but I certainly don't put people's word in doubt at whim. For the fork on the other hand, there may actually be reason to doubt it being original as I believe the rifling of the steerer came later than the 50's. I am not sure of the exact date however. Perhaps somebody else can speak to this point. If the fork has indeed been changed, it would also be quite common for other accident damage to have been undertaken at the same time.