Vintage fishing reels
Fishing reels are devices used to let out and wind up the fishing line. They are a type of fishing tackle. History
The first real fishing reels were developed during the early 1800s in England. Previous to that, most reels were not really designed for casting, but more for storing lines. Craftsmen who significantly contributed to the development and improvement of early fishing reel designs included Gayle, Hardman, Sage, Milam, Meek, and George Snyman. The first multiplying reel, which rewinds line by turning the handle, first appeared in England.
Reel technology furthered improved during the 1860s through the contributions of various American and British reel makers such as Heaton, Slater, Hardy, and Edward von Hofen. In the 1950s, a French brand, Mitchell (which was established by Charles Pons and Leon Carpano), introduced reel models that featured groundbreaking features.
Reels that were produced around or prior to World War II are known for their durability and craftsmanship. They were also quite expensive as during that time, only those who had the means could afford to buy such fishing equipment. Early fishing rods were known to cost as much as half of a typical worker’s salary.
Collecting vintage fishing reels
Collecting vintage fishing reels may be a matter of taste as not all people would take a liking to a certain type of make or model. Some of the highly popular vintage reel brands include Heddon, Bronson Reel Co., ABU, South Bend, Pflueger, and Penn. Another highly collectible antique fishing reel brand is James Dealy. These reels are quite hard to find, which can be partly explained by the fact that they were produced for only a limited amount of time (1892-1902). Another factor that makes them highly collectible is that they feature beautiful cylinders that are made of nickel silver. Reels are the full-jewelled tournament models that feature bearings that are made of sapphire.
It is not that easy to discern the actual value or worth of vintage fishing reels. Factors that to be considered when buying such equipment include age, rarity, and quality. Also, vintage fishing reels rarely come stamped with a date of when they were made or manufactured making it difficult to know exactly their age. As such, many collectors use brand as a determining factor in valuing vintage reels.
Tips to buying vintage fishing reels
For those planning on building a collection, it is advisable that to focus on a particular type of reel. One can collect by manufacturer, material, or region. It would also be helpful to join fishing reel societies or clubs. Doing so will provide a chance to meet other collectors who can help increase knowledge of vintage reels.
Learn the grading system that is used in describing the mechanical condition and appearance of vintage reels. Grades are attained by assessing the value and condition of a particular reel. The system is based on a 1 to 10 and A to M grading scale. For example, a reel that is assessed to be an A10 is in mint condition, while an A1 has no value.
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