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Old Bamboo Rods: a primer for evaluation

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March 2009

Now and then I receive enquiries about the value and/or origin of old bamboo rods and olf fishing rods in general. So I created this page for people to start building an opinion on their own since I don't consider myself (yet) a specialist in the field but a simple apprentice.

However, it must be said that apprasing an old bamboo rod is not easy neither for expert professionals since many variable are involved.

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Everett Garrison
Ed Payne
Jim Payne
Lyle Dickerson
Morris Kushner
H.S. Pinky Gillum
Paul H.Young
Hiram Leonard
Charles Frederick Orvis
Hardy (UK)
EC Powell and Co
Walton Powell
Goodwin Granger
Walter Brunner
Heddon Fishing Rods
Vincent Marinaro
Pezon & Michel
Phillipson
Farlow (UK)
Odgson (UK)
Shakespeare
Montague
Horrocks-Ibbotson
South Bend
Fred Divine
Edward vom Hofe
Henry and Thomas Prichard
Thomas H. Chubb
Charles F. Murphy
Seely Edsall
Alonzo H. fowler
John Forrest kelso
Billy Edwards
Hiram Webster Hawes
Fred Thomas
Wes Jordan
Winston Fly Rods
Walter Anthony Maslan

The author with a Garrison rod

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A recent (mainly USA oriented) forum* enquiry gave the following listing:

TOP TEN ALL TIME BEST BAMBOO RODS MANUFACTURERs:

  1. Payne
  2. Granger
  3. PH Young
  4. Leonard
  5. FE Thomas
  6. Orvis
  7. Heddon
  8. Thomas & Thomas
  9. RW Summers
  10. Edwards

 

So this give us a good starting point. Brands which are not included in this first list are considered of lesser quality. An example? For instance, Montague or H-I (Horrock-Ibbotson) are not well considered by collectors because they were produced in large quantities and not with high standards.

However, the listing above misses some important, if sometimes less productive, bamboo rod makers and companies such as:Hardy brothers, Pezon and Michel, Vincent Marinaro, Everett Garrison, H.S.Pinky Gillum, Powell, Dickerson, Winston, South Bend, Phillipson and E.W. Edwards.

Hoagy Carmichael with an old bamboo rod by Everett GarrisonYou will be surprised how many of old cane rods are reasonably low priced, ranging from 200 to 400 USD in average (also at important auction houses like Bonhams, I have seen Hardy rods selling for a mere 200 GBP).

However, depending on condition and rarity, it's not unsual to see Payne bamboo rods selling for $2000+. Notoriously, Gillum's, Garrison's and also Dickerson Rods are among the most expensive old bamboo rods on the market because their production was limited.

Hoagy Carmichael showed us, while in Sansepolcro, a Garrison rod in his collection. A very "electric" moment when we could hold it in our hands. (by the way, a Garriosn rod was reportedly sold for $12'000 at an auction!)

 

Concerning the value of a rod:

Value depends upon:

  1. Who made it (accredited authenticy)
  2. The condition of the rod
  3. Which model / rarity
  4. Desirability

Then, generally speaking another two general rules can be defined:

  • British old bamboo rods are less valued than US rods
  • Shorter rods are more valuable than longer rods

Continue reading about this topic!

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A look at vintage fishing tackle objects

Go to the old fishing rods webpage for an overview.

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