This is an object lesson in always looking at a pair of shoes separate and apart from just the style number. Even if you have a list of all shell cordovan style numbers made by Allen Edmonds for the last fifty plus years, when you get your search results, make sure the style number matches the shell cordovan quest.
Just as Allen Edmonds recycles style names (the Surf was a three eyelet blucher plain toe made from golden-tan sealskin and later a white tassel leather loafer), it also reuses style numbers. Featured here is the same style number 6748 shoes from Allen Edmonds. The Imperial is a classic and rare Allen Edmonds’ six eyelet shell cordovan. It debuted in Allen Edmonds’ 1957 catalog. This graphic is from the 1957-58 Allen Edmonds catalog, page 5. Reigning until 1963, usually it was the company’s only shell cordovan balmoral offering, cutting a great look with six eyelets, strong wingtip, and full medallion. A double leather soles gunboat for 1957 to 1959, it went to a single leather sole from 1960 to 1963. Full leather lining, leather heel, black top binding. Last made more than 50 years ago, AE catalogs describe the color as “cordoba,” the reddish brown now known as #8 cordovan.
Then there is Allen Edmonds style number 6748, a split toe leather five eyelet blucher creation found recently on eBay. You can see it while it’s still up at eBay Item Number 360939937435. Perfectly acceptable shoe for what it is, but it is no shell cordovan. Color of the Norwegian split toe described as “whiskey brown.” Don’t get excited when you find it, because there is a great chance it is not what you want.