Best-looking reel ever made?

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Mike N
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Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Mike N »

From front to back and side-to-side, this handmade Style C, William Shakespeare, Jr circa. 1897 reel in my opinion is the best looking fishing reel ever made. It has it all the bells and whistles and for an old reel collector like me, is just aesthetically easy on the eyes.

What reel is nicer just to look at in your opinion? The only two others that come to mind for me are maybe a Kovalovsky big game reel or the aluminum George Gayle with the checkered edge...






It’s listed on eBay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/273496199216?u ... noapp=true
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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Roger Schulz »

Mike

How about the First Model Take-Apart by Meisselbach??

Roger

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by John Savu »

With a great deal of bias, this is my favorite, REDIFOR Model "B". John
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Last edited by John Savu on Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by oc1 »

Fishing reels are tools, not ornaments. I wonder if hammer collectors discuss the best-looking hammer ever made?

I think Joe Coxe had a better eye for aesthetic design than other reel makers of his day. They had a simple Art Deco feel with few embellishments. Edward vom Hof had a better eye for aesthetics than his brother. Design aesthetics may not have ever occurred to Otto Henze. Shakespeare designs tend to be a little too "busy" and lean toward Art Nouveau. All that may be, at least in part, a reflection of the time and the age of the designers.

Fishing reel aesthetic design can not be discussed without mentioning Lew Childers. He and his partners at Shimano, and then Ryobi, broke new ground by abandoning the round reel and beginning the movement towards low profile reels. Form follows function, but once it was established that reels do not have to be round a whole new world of aesthetic design was opened. Traditionalist will never forgive him.

Any markings, stampings, engravings, decals, text and such can only detract from the aesthetic design in my opinion.

-steve

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Mike N
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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Mike N »

“...wonder if hammer collectors discuss the best-looking hammer ever made?”

In fact, yes, we do. I collect early tools.

Let’s face it, certain reels are so brilliantly designed and hand crafted that they simply separate themselves from the rest of the line holders.

It’s form vs function. “Using” is about function, but “collecting” is about form and aesthetics. I won’t have a reel in my collection that I don’t like to look at...
Last edited by Mike N on Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Mike N »

John and Roger— two excellent choices, both of which are in my top 15.

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by john elder »

There are just so many reels I like that I can’t choose a “best” one. In baitcasters, I agree with Roger re the first model Meisselbach. I also love this early Heddon 4-18:

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Mike N »

John- that Heddon “windshield” wiper arm with the red rubber spool ball is so striking, I still remember the first time I saw one —at the NFLCC Regional Meet in Cincinnati in 1988. It’s definitely in my top 5. There is something ingenious about that level wind mechanism. Thanks for posting.

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by wrong99 »

What's great about threads like this is that there is not one correct answer, but endless ones. As Mike stated, the bottom line is a reel that makes you feel good to look at and to own. I think that is what "collecting" is about, at least for me, and is why I don't think I could just name one reel. There are no wrong answers here, only correct ones.
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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Midway Tommy D »

Well said, Mark!

For me it would be spinners. Almost any will do but the more unique the design better. I've always thought this Mepps Super Mecca was extremely unique and a thing of beauty, and the chain driven bail trip mechanism makes it that much more interesting.


Love those Open Face Spinning Reels! (Especially ABU & ABU/Zebco)

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Phil »

My vote goes to early German silver Pflueger Summits!

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by reeltackle »

Nuf said..............

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by reelsmith. »

My pick for the best looking reel is not one I own, or one that can be found on the 'net.

Its crazy rare ...and more beautiful than it is rare.

I've asked a buddy who has one to send me a picture and I will post it if he does.

Until then ...these are kinda' good lookin' !

Image

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

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Nay, nay, salty breath! The Philmeister speaks the truth!

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Mike N »

This photo is from Ron Gast’s lurenreels.com website. Some 25 years ago I bought an identical Philbrook & Paine marbelized trout reel from a picker in Maryland. The original thought by some experts was that the side plates and grasp were made of “insect resin.” I traded the reel for some rare Kentucky reels and often wonder if I made a mistake. It was such a work of art.

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

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I can't argue with most of the reels posted but the Hardy Jock Scott just hits a chord with me like no other reel.

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Jim Schottenham »

You might think I'd choose a side-mount reel, and while they are my favorites, I can't imagine anything coming close to the ridiculous detail and eye popping aesthetics of this reel from F. Willman, Stillwater, Minn. The reel sold back in 1993 through a Bob Lang auction. Sure, there can't be many out there, this is likely the only one he ever made, but c'mon - just look at that detail!
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As for a production made reel, I cast yet another vote for the German silver/hard rubber Meisselbach Take-Apart.
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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Mike N »

Sold for $2928, which I would guess is a record for a Shakespeare reel. It is a work of art.


Mike N wrote:From front to back and side-to-side, this handmade Style C, William Shakespeare, Jr circa. 1897 reel in my opinion is the best looking fishing reel ever made. It has it all the bells and whistles and for an old reel collector like me, is just aesthetically easy on the eyes.

What reel is nicer just to look at in your opinion? The only two others that come to mind for me are maybe a Kovalovsky big game reel or the aluminum George Gayle with the checkered edge...






It’s listed on eBay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/273496199216?u ... noapp=true
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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Robyn Summerlin »

Wow, Mike! If ever I decide to sell my Shakespeares, will you be my front man? :D
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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Mike N »

Robyn- I honestly don’t know who the seller or the buyer are, but as with any quality collectible, the cream rises to the top in an auction. It’s a gorgeous reel and you’re very lucky to have one.

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

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The buyer is a member here, who has incredibly good taste.

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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Robyn Summerlin »

Agreed, Mike. And I didn't mean to imply you were shilling at all. In recent years the Style C reels in good condition have gone for around $400-$800, the higher numbers when two bidders want the same reel like this auction that went much higher. Pretty good appreciation for a reel that cost $15 in 1900, or $3 more if a buyer wanted "Full Jeweled" endcaps.

The not-quite-as-old but more scarce model, the Style A, was essentially the same reel but made with German Silver and listed at $35 in the 1904 catalog. Adjusted for inflation, that would be nearly $1000 in today's dollars! Not sure how many folks had that much discretionary cash to spend on a fishing reel at the turn of the century--certainly none of my hardscrabble-farming ancestors.

The ultra-scarce Rubber Standard, a NLW reel stamped "Handmade Quadruple" was manufactured in 1901 only just before the Shakespeare factory was retooled, according to a 1995 article in Reel News by Ed Corwin. Its Bakelite rings don't hold up well over time which contributes to its scarcity. Even so, it usually sells for more than the Style C or the Style A whenever one occasionally pops up on eBay unless it's mislisted.
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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Jim Schottenham »

Sold for $2928, which I would guess is a record for a Shakespeare reel.
Mike - that is an eye opening price for a Shakespeare, but not an auction record. Back in 2003 Bill Muth reported on a few of the prices from the Mother of All Auctions, the Don Thoms estate. In that sale, a Shakespeare Style "A" was hammered at $4000, not including the buyers premium, which had to be at least 10%, bringing the total to $4400 (like many other ORCA members, I bought quite a bit from that three day auction, but don't remember exactly the buyers premium). The second Style "A" in that auction was hammered at $3500. For a list of the highest reel prices from that sale, see the November 2003 issue of the Reel News.
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Re: Best-looking reel ever made?

Post by Mike N »

Jim Schottenham wrote:
Sold for $2928, which I would guess is a record for a Shakespeare reel.
Mike - that is an eye opening price for a Shakespeare, but not an auction record. Back in 2003 Bill Muth reported on a few of the prices from the Mother of All Auctions, the Don Thoms estate. In that sale, a Shakespeare Style "A" was hammered at $4000, not including the buyers premium, which had to be at least 10%, bringing the total to $4400 (like many other ORCA members, I bought quite a bit from that three day auction, but don't remember exactly the buyers premium). The second Style "A" in that auction was hammered at $3500. For a list of the highest reel prices from that sale, see the November 2003 issue of the Reel News.
Well Jim, in that case I assume one can only quote Shakespeare about Shakespeares:

“Some (reels) are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

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