ORCA Online Forum - Feel free to talk or ask about ALL kinds of old tackle here, with an emphasis on old reels!
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john elder
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Post by john elder »

In keeping with trying to improve our club and provide articles of interest to all, we're posting this poll to give you all a chance to talk about your collecting interests and what you consider as an "old" reel, if not s real antique...let us hear from you!

two main questions:

1. What types/brands of reels do you collect?

2. How old are the reels you collect? that something that's a factor in your collecting?

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john elder
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Post by john elder »

I'll start this out.

1. I mainly collect saltwater reels and pre-levelwind freshwater reels of all makes and models...and a liberal sprinkling of anything else that catches my eye!

2. Most of my reels are pre-1950, but I probably have my limits liberally set at reels out of production.
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Post by Jason »

1. I primary collect ball handle, s-handle, and black bass multiplying reels. In an effort to keep my collection to a manageable size, I acquire reels base on the following priorities;

Rarity- I'd rather have a unique reel by an obscure maker than a high dollar well known reel that can be purchased at any given auction.

Age- There just seems to be more mystery and intrigue when holding a 100+ year reel.

Style- Ornate knurling, delicate curved cranks and personal engraving are the icing on the cake. It's the contrast to today's mass produced plastic fishing tackle that draws me to old tackle.

Quality of materials- When buying an old but common reel like those of the New York tackle dealers, I try to hold out for a nice nickel silver example.

2. Almost all of my reels are pre-1900. Age is a definitely consideration. Knowing that I can't afford to collect everything, I focus on age and quality rather than quantity.
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Post by EclecticGuy »

I don't specialize in any particular style or maker. Being a reelsmith, I am creating a "reference collection" of reels that I use for inspiration and ideas. I especially like early reels and the unique reels manufactured after WWII but the ones in between are great too!

I like interesting mechanisms, especially when there is a patent to accompany the reel.

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Rick H
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Post by Rick H »

My collection is mainly Fishing Reels. Aprox. more than 20 years old.
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Post by Don Champion »

I collect U.S. made multiplying non-level wind reels. I prefer them in 8/9 or better condition with the exception of those pre-1900 which I collect with a few flaws. I don't collect just a couple of makers reels but all, especially those obscure pre-1900 makers. They range in value from just a few dollars to several hundred.

I like all my reels to be pre-1930.
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Robin Sayler
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Post by Robin Sayler »

I collect only enterprise manufacturing company reels (pflueger, portage, four brothers) but there are a few others sprinkled in also.

I am currently trying to thin out my collection to only nlw casting reels because the size of my collection is a little out of hand right now.
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Dick Braun,that-zebco-guy
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Post by Dick Braun,that-zebco-guy »

Zebco reels 1949 to late 1999 USA made. Started to look at unique other Closed Face reels as well. Old or antique I feel is anything over 50yrs old. By the way that sure includes ME !
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Post by reelsmith. »

I like small (under 2.5"), high-quality, American fly reels that date from pre-1900 to about 1920. Predominantly vom Hofe.

Last edited by reelsmith. on Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by fishbugman »

I mainly collect baitcasting reels, both levelwind and non-levelwind.

Majority of my collection falls into the 15 years before WWI and the 15 years before WWII.
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Robyn Summerlin
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Post by Robyn Summerlin »

Shakespeare and Shakespeare-made casting reels, mostly. I began collecting pre-1960 reels but quickly learned there are just too many to make a manageable display, not having a spare warehouse. Quantity is good, quality is better. So now it's the oldest and most unusual, including almost all of the lefties, several of the Styles A, B & C, most of the hard rubber/metal reels c.1910, and some unusual trade reels and prototypes. I also like the old boxes, canisters and go-withs like the screwdrivers and oilers. I should mention that almost all of this came from fellow ORCA members during the past decade--thanks, guys!
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Post by Steve »

1. I collect old, usually patented, reels, many of which are "New York style," or other reels with unusual or innovative mechanisms. Also enjoy getting reels that may make good subjects for research, and these, too, often include NY-style reels.
2. Mostly look for reels made from the dawn of time to around 1920. But with an interest in how many different ways folks have tried to wind up fishing line, I pick up unusual later reels, too, including some spinning reels.
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Post by Teal »

I have a number of collections, but here are the three major ones:

1) Trade reels of all kinds and types. I am particularly interested in Thos. E. Wilson reels, Montague trade reels, and any trade reels in boxes.

2) A.H. Fox Gun Co. and Ocean City Fox Co. reels.

3) Small brass fly reels (2" or smaller).

I also wanted to add a couple of side collections of interest:

1) Post-WWII spincast reels.

2) Allcock-Stanley spinning reels.

3) Arnold Palmer reels.

-- Dr. Todd
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reels I collect

Post by Tom M »

I, like others, collect too much! :D I started out collecting anything that I didn't have, but that seemed to be endless. I have narrowed my reel collections down to a couple of things.

(1) My main collection in reels, is all USA made Zebco spincast reels. I have considered starting to collect some of the spinning reels, but I'm holding off on that for now. I'm having a hard time keeping up with the spincast reels. I grew up with Zebco reels, so I decided to get into collecting them. I thought it would be a lower budget and easy collection. Man was I wrong! There are so many models and variations, but what a learning experiance!

(2) I also have been watching for the rod and reel combo's that are made in one piece. (like the Hurd, Great lakes imperial, and such). Zebco has several reels like that and I have decided to expand it a bit. I also have a thing for the unusual reels. Odd and weird. The reels don't have to be old for me, just neat!
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Post by stevenm »

Very new and un-seasoned compared to most of the knowledgable reel vets here.

My taste is pretty salt and pepper at the moment. Collection is pretty low end and considerably small.

I do find myself intrigued by the history and looks of the kentucky's, and may start making some purchases as they become available and funds work themselves out.
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Bill Muth
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Post by Bill Muth »

1. Meek, Horton and Bristol reels, almost exclusively. I have a few stragglers, but nothing that I "collect." I do still have the first reel that I bought as a "collector," a Pflueger Pontiac in about 6/9 condition.

2. Late 1800s to 1951 (how is that for a specific end date!).
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robert ellis
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Post by robert ellis »

I mostly like prewar ornate 100yd. casters, But ofcorse love them all! My opinion on antique, vintage, and old, in order for something to be considered a antique, is that it has to be over 100 years old! vintage mostly covers all, and as most of us know, old is young here! :roll: We have started a new website to gather as many 100yd. Bronson Trade Reels as possible, here is our new website address (below)! information, pics, and mistakes are being changed daily! "this is a work in progress!" if you have one not shown in our site, and any info on it? we will be glad to post it for you. send pics and info to or use Contact Us in the website!
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Jacob : salmonfisher03
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Post by Jacob : salmonfisher03 »

I collect s-handle flyreels from

Edward vom Hofe
Otto Zwarg
Engelbrekt (swedish made reel - very beautiful) :D

But do also love old Hardy Perfect reels.

Looking foreward to the day where I can buy a Hardy Cascapedia from between 1932-1937 :wink: but I'm not sure that I ever will get one.

The oldest reel I have is a Edw. Vom Hofe 423 6-0 that is dated between 1883-1890.

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Post by riverdrift »

I like the Pflueger Skilkast, wonderful little reel. Have a healthy collection of this type.

Also Shakespeare closed face spinning reels, old, grimy, worn-out and in need of serious cleaning and repair. Love a challenge.

Dam Quick open face, very nice reel, lots of respect for those Germans.

Pflueger Rockets, Shakespeare Service, J. A. Coxe Do-All, love this design. Any of these will pretty much defeat any catfish I've ever met.

Johnson Centurys, very sweet. Not much could be done to improve this reel.

Many others, anything unusual and a challenge to take apart and put back together, repair and just get the feel of a smooth and efficient little machine that can perform for what it was designed to accomplish. Work with it, fix it, make it back right, bring back it's spirit, and go catch a fish.
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John Savu
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Post by John Savu »

I collect reels from my hometown, Warren, Ohio. The Redifor Rod and Reel Co. spanned the years from about 1905 to 1918. I enjoy the local history and the quality of the earlier reels. John
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what I collect

Post by dbummee »

I collect anythig that catches my eye, and doesn't date any later than
1960. There are exceptions, but not often, and I like to have the box for the reel.

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Post by Reel Geezer »

What do I collect? Hmmmmm... I guess today I'd have to answer modern reels that I can fish with. But I have collected Meisselbach, Meisselbach-Catucci, Y&E, Cozzone, Airex, Pivoting Spinning Reels, Shimano Bantams, Daiwa Millionaires, etc, etc. My interests are whatever I want to learn about next.

As you can see, age has never been a factor in what I collect. I have some very nice 19th century fly reels and black bass reels on up to a Daiwa Pixy in orange color (made only in 2003) that is NIB.
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Len Sawisch
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Post by Len Sawisch »

1. What types/brands of reels do you collect?

I collect South Bend 1131s from inception c. 1911 to their passing in the 1930's

I collect Marhoffs, from 1908 to their passing in the 1960s

I collect little reels, in worse shape than Don Champion and less value than Dean (Reelsmith) - late 1800s to just made in China

I collect narrow spool freshwater baitcasters - late 1930's through now, but mostly 1950's

And like Robyn, I have a reel oilers collection and a reel tools collection but just a smattering of early pre 1910 ish Shakespeares.

2. How old are the reels you collect? that something that's a factor in your collecting?

Age is a factor when I want samples of a reel across time . . .
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Post by wuma »

1. Mainly Ambassadeurs and Norwegian reels (of all types, there simply aren't enough to specialize), but also modest collections of American casting reels and British fly reels and centrepins.

2. Ambassadeurs: 1952-present (but the designs would be ca 1952-1978); Norwegian reels: any age (production goes back to 19 Century but my oldest are 1940s); American and British reels: age of enlightenment-1950s.

Generally speaking, the older the better. Rarity, cost, quality, weirdness, and that intangible got-to-have-it vibe are also important considerations. I suppose they are all related in some way.

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Post by Capt. Kirk »

Great Thread. 1.Spincasters Zebco and Johnson and odd balls.
Baitcasters, Meisselbach and a few JVH and Coxe Bronsons
Fly reels, Meisselbach
Salt water, Meisselbach
trolling, Meisselbach
Modern Baitcasters Abu Garcia TC (trophy collection series)
2. Age is from over 100 years to Modern. Age doesn't matter, I still buy the Abu Garcia TC NIB every year.
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