Determining the Value of Your Reel

Not taken into account in the grading scale above are other important elements that when factored in with condition helps us to determine the value of a reel. These elements include age, scarcity, quality and collectability. It does not necessarily follow that the older the reel the greater the value. Other factors such as scarcity or availability of a particular reel can have as much or more of an effect on the value of a reel than simply knowing that the reel may be 100 years old. Also the level of quality at which the reel was manufactured and the materials used in its manufacture can be the measure that means the most in determining the value of a reel.

EXAMPLE:"THIS REEL BELONGED TO MY GRAMPA": You have a reel that was made in 1920, which would qualify it by almost anyone's standards to be considered an older reel. Now assume that this reel was well made and caught a lot of fish and attracted the eyes of many fishermen. The cost of the reel was reasonable and the company enjoyed sales of their reel into the many thousands. Today this reel would be well known because of its once enjoyed popularity. Chances are good that there would be a great number of these reels still available for collectors to find. Although this reel is quite old the cost of the reel to a collector today would be quite low simply because of supply and demand. There were a lot of reels made, which means there are a lot of reels today to be found.

EXAMPLE: "I'VE NEVER SEEN A REEL LIKE THIS BEFORE": You have just acquired a reel that has the name of a manufacturer on it that I have never seen before. None of your fellow collectors have ever heard of it either. You say to yourself "This is one scare reel it must be worth a fortune". Not necessarily true, the reel may only be a few years old and there may not be anyone interested in collecting a reel this contemporary. On the other hand the reel may be old as the hills but made of tin or incorporate shoddy means of manufacture, making the quality so poor that there is no demand for the reel and little value associated with it.

EXAMPLE: "THIS REEL IS BUILT LIKE A SWISS WATCH": You have a reel that runs smoother than anything you have ever held in you hands before. A true tecno-marvel. This reel must be off the charts. Perhaps this reel was made 5 years ago and they are still making them today. If someone wished to collect them they could open up a catalogue and have one sent out overnight. Although the reel may be pricey there may be no collectors' value associated with the reel.

THE COLLECTABILITY FACTOR: This is the most difficult factor to peg. Who is to say just what is it that makes us gravitate towards one reel over another? One collector must have it while another collector might not even give the reel a second thought. Some people are fascinated by outrageous gismos while others drool over a sleek, all German silver construction. Ball handle counterbalances on old brass handles do it for some people while another person might prefer the subtle curve of an old "S" handle. Some people look for reels as big as your head while others are seeking reels as small as film canisters. Although market values are set for most reels there are times when one or a combination of these wonderful features has turned a collectors head around and thrown the whole equation askew! For obvious reasons we would not use this factor in our valuation formula.

PUTTING AGE, SCARCITY, AND QUALITY TOGETHER: Only when you start putting these important factors together does the value of a reel start to increase. The more of these factors that a reel possessed the more valuable it is. Hand made reels took more time to make and were usually the products of small shops that did not have a high output but instead made a high quality reel. The materials used by these shops were generally of better quality and because they were hand made of fine materials the price was consistently much higher. The higher the prices the more people were precluded from purchasing the reels therefore making them scarcer. Usually when the reelmaker decided to stop making reels the shop closed down with him. So limited quantities of high quality reels were produced usually for a short duration. This is the formula for a valuable reel! Keep in mind that the condition of the reel still plays a large role in determining the value independent of these other factors.


  1. Reel was hand made and not mass-produced.
  2. Reel was made of high quality components.
  3. Reel was manufactured to precise tolerances.
  4. Reel was manufactured prior to 1950.
  5. Reel possesses unusual or unique features.

For more info about the value of your reel or if you are interested in selling it please contact us.

REEL MANUFACTURES WHOS REELS TEND TO BE CONSIDERED VALUABLE: This list is by no means a complete list of manufactures whose reels are considered valuable. Many of the large manufactures are not listed here because the bulk of their reels are not considered valuable. I will discuss these makers later.

  1. Atalanta
  2. Bate, T.H. & Co.
  3. B&M
  4. Beetzel
  5. Benjamin
  6. Billinghurst
  7. Bluegrass
  8. Bogdan
  9. Bradford & Anthony
  10. Chubb, T.H. Maker
  11. Clerk A. & Co.
  12. Clinton, C.M.
  13. Coates, A.
  14. Conroy
  15. Coxe, J.A. LA Calif
  16. Cozzone
  17. Crook, J.B.
  18. Dame Stoddard &Kendall
  19. Deally, J.
  20. Dingley
  21. Dreiser, J.
  22. Ekimsey, Frank
  23. Emery, John
  24. Farlow
  25. Felton Harrison
  26. Fin-Nor
  27. Flint Reel Co.
  28. Follett
  29. Folsom Arms Co.
  30. Foss, Al
  31. Fowler, A.
  32. Frankforth
  33. Garey
  34. Gayle, G.W. & Sons
  35. Guthrie, D.
  36. Hardy
  37. Hoesel
  38. Holzman
  39. Horton
  40. Horton Meek
  41. Hurd
  42. Kosmic
  43. Kovalovsky
  44. Kentucky Bluegrass Reelworks
  45. Klein, C.R.
  46. Knowles
  47. Lee's
  48. Leonard
  49. Liberty Bell
  50. Long, John
  51. Maleson
  52. Master Kaster
  53. Mcintosh & Heather
  54. Mcneece
  55. Medleys
  56. Meek
  57. Milam
  58. Mills, Wm
  59. Mitchell-Henry
  60. Mitchell, Hugh
  61. Moonlight
  62. Mt. Ranier Reelworks
  63. Neptune
  64. O'Haver & O'Bannion
  65. Ohio Tool Co.
  66. Peerless
  67. Redifor
  68. Rinehart
  69. Ross Reels
  70. Sage, J.L.
  71. Schauffler
  72. Seamaster
  73. Shipley
  74. Spalding AG & Bros.
  75. Stead, A.J.
  76. Stevens
  77. Talbot
  78. Thomas & Thomas
  79. Thompson
  80. Ustonson & Peters
  81. Vom Hofe, Edward
  82. Vom Hofe, Fritz
  83. Vom Hofe, Julius
  84. Walker
  85. Zwarg

Did you find your reel on the list? If you would like more information about your reel or are interested in selling it please contact us.

If not, try the section on major reel manufacturing companies.

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