Early on in my collecting, I noticed there are two distinct styles of vintage New Era caps. Here are two examples of the exact same caps for two different teams. First we have the mid to late 1970s San Diego Padres caps. Then we have a pair of Chicago Cubs caps circa 1985 - 1987.
The easiest way to tell the difference between the two styles is the visor. Notice the first cap in both pictures features a more "squared-off" visor. The second style has the more rounded edges like New Era caps of today.
Let's talk about the insides. Style "one" on the left has transparent taping and backing behind the front panels. Style "two" on the right has satin taping and more opaque backing.
Another difference is the embroidery. The 70s versions have somewhat of a difference, but on the 80s versions the difference is less drastic. Style one has much flatter embroidery. On style two, the logos are bulkier.
The are other differences as well. I have noticed on style one caps made in the 70s, there is no liner around the sweatband. However, they seem to have been added in the 80s. Also, the oldest New Era caps that I have seen have similar traits to style one. Most adjustable (snapback and velcro) New Era caps, even in recent years, also have many similar traits to style one as well. I'm certain that after New Era received new cap making machines in the late 80s, the cap machines for style one were retained for making adjustable caps, as caps with the same characteristics (usually the visor shape) are still seen today.
What do you think?