This was to be the case until the Custom was replaced and discontinued (though a similar black case was used with the LP/SG Custom models).
The new Custom also shipped with a different case from the Standard, using a black and gold case instead of the brown and pink case that was the top-of-the-line case for the Les Paul Standard models.
Another forum seemed to have a guy replying to peoples queeries, but it was a few years old that thread. Will be interesting to compare it to the faded special that I already have... There's also Guitar dater project which has a section on Gibsons.
It'll show you the date and factory where it was made.
Can anyone point me in the right direction for checking out serial/details of a potential purchase I'm about to make?
I checked Gibson site, but there's just details of what all the numbers mean - couldn't see a form for submitting or anything. I mailed Gibson with pics and serial, they say it's ok, so I'm good to go.