Antique Bamboo Fishing Rods


Which are the most valuable brands and names in collecting antique bamboo fishing rods?

Concerning brands and makers, here is an ordered listing according to its cash value that I am trying to represent, Gillum and Garrison being the most expensive (look at a detail of a Garrison rod, the same one I am holding in the picture at the top of this webpage) , South Bend being the low-end.

The numbering is only indicative. I would say that the top 10 are certainly the best ones and that their values would often "blur" together. Antique bamboo fishing rods should therefore be appraised by other criteria as well (e.g. condition of the rod, model, rarity).

  1. Gillum
  2. Garrison
  3. Dickerson
  4. Payne
  5. Young
  6. Leonard
  7. Orvis
  8. Hardy (UK)
  9. Granger
  10. Heddon
  11. Pezon & Michel (F)
  12. Phillipson
  13. Farlow (UK)
  14. Odgson (UK)
  15. Shakespeare
  16. Montague
  17. Horrocks-Ibbotson,
  18. South Bend

Everett Garrison Old BAmboo Rod DetailOf course, as I said, this is only a personal attempt after reading about old bamboo rods and in any case the real value of a bamboo rod is set by the market and the moment.

And the value of an old bamboo rod is not only made by its intrinsic value but often by the rarity of the rods which have reached our days. So, both Garrison's, Harold "Pinky" Gillum's, Lile Lynde Dickerson's rod all made very few rods (Everett Garrison made about 650 pieces in his life, and about 25 at most per year) and so their value for collectors is higher, generally speaking.

To further extend one's knowledge, you can read some sensible suggestions by Rolf Baginski when buying and old bamboo rod.

Finally, one word is due to those Japanese two-pieces cane rods made during the '40s and that many US soldiers brought back home. They are made without splitting the bamboo, so it's really "bamboo" rods from the plant. Their value is only about 5$.


Most vintage bamboo rods are not so valuable and reach a few hundreds dollars at auctions because there were made in the thousands for the mass market (and their quality was rather average or low).

Leonards, Orvis rods of the early period, then bamboo rods of the master rod makers of the, 1920s, 1930s - 1960s period like Garrison, Dickerson, Gillum, Payne etc.. are of another category and can reach prices of $1000 - $2000 with some really high prices for Gillum's, Dickerson's, Garrison's rods (up to $20'000 estimated value for a Gillum in 1988). Unique and very rare pieces are then again in another category...and price.

Check here, the Len Codella Website for examples of rods and values!

You can see which websites and further help you can have here:


for Colorado cane rods the definitive expert is Mr Michael D. Clark (my interview with him is here: http://www.upon-bamboo-fly-fishing-rods-and-reels.com/michael-sinclair.html)


Then Jeff Wagner (himself a rodmaker and antique dealer, www.wagnerrods.com ),

Bill Harms (rod maker and cane rods historian, he wrote a book on Vincent Marinaro, www.wmharmsrods.com)

Another expert is Mr Rick D. Sorensen (www.westslopefly.com) .


Thomas Turner and Son, established since 1895


Brindley John Ayers Catalogue



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