Kentucky, Fly, Collectible & Big Game Fishing Reels 

A Division of 'Custom Rod & Reel',  Lighthouse Point, Florida

Tom Greene

'Custom Rod & Reel' Store Phone: (954) 781-5600




We all would like to think our collectible reels are in excellent condition, but the fact remains that very few will actually fall into that category. There is a system which assigns a number from 1 to 10, with a 10 being the highest condition. Two numbers are usually quoted: first the physical appearance and second the mechanical condition.

To be excellent (10, 10) , a reel must:

  • Have near flawless surfaces, no scratches, no dents, no metal worn off down to the brass, sharp edges, plating intact, no corrosion, pitting, or chips.

  • Mechanically, all parts should work effortlessly with no abnormal sounds, no binding, no looseness.

  • All non-metallic parts such as handles, side plates, or bushings should be in original condition. Hard rubber side plates would be polished and dark.

  • No engraving, or initials inscribed whatever other than that done my the manufacturer.

  • Screw heads must not be distorted or stripped from dismantling. Knobs without plier marks from disassembly.

  • The foot which attaches to the rod must not have been filed or altered to fit a rod.

Variations from excellent will degrade the reel proportionally and consequently reduce the value by a relative amount.

To be very good, a reel must display:

  • Occasional light scratches
  • Minor normal plate wear
  • Rubber edges may not be sharp
  • Minor foot imperfections
  • Crank knobs still tight
  • Clean
  • All functions work well, though some slight spool drag may be evident
  • Some click wear

Although I have no interest in reels in less than very good condition, the test for good condition would be:

  • All functions work, but with some difficulty
  • Click or brake not functional
  • Jammed level wind or handle bent.
  • Chips, small dents, light corrosion
  • Foot filed heavily
  • Screw heads buggered and distorted

Rarity is a factor in grading and has to be taken into account when placing a price. This is based on knowledge of the collector and is, as you may have expected, very expensive to obtain. The process of learning about reels usually involves buying large quantities of what you once thought were "excellent" examples, only to learn later that they were trash. The usually process is to collect for a while and upgrade as you learn more and more about what is normal and truly excellent. I've already thrown out my first collection and now I pretty much know what I want to collect to make me sleep well at night.

Reel collectors as a breed are typically very picky about even small points. Being mechanical, reels lend themselves to critical inspection and comparison to previously existing examples. Unlike fishing lures, where much of the eye appeal is artistic in value, reels collectors are more likely to assign value to condition and functionality.

If you have early fishing reels you wish to sell, please call me at my business number (Custom Rod and Gun):

Contact Tom Greene at Custom Rod and Reel

(Please note: I do not wish to buy reels by Pflueger, Penn, Ocean City, South Bend, Shakespeare)

Tom Greene's personal antique reel collection 2014


Reels for sale, click here for purchase instructions



Go to Page:  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12  |  13  |  14  |  15  |  16  |  17  |  18  |  19  |  20



If you have antique reels, Kentucky reels, big game rods and reels, or early fly reels you wish to sell:

Contact Information for Tom Greene

 Search this site only  |  Home page

Business Phone: (954) 781-5600


Visit Custom Rod & Reel's business web site



Other Web Sites by Tom Greene   (Antique fishing reels)  (Custom Rod and Reel store)   (Reel Crankie & Tri-Shear products)   (Tom Greene's book on fishing stories)


Web Site created 10-3-1997   Copyrighted 1997- 2015

Last updated: Thursday, April 23, 2015 06:36 AM


All photos on this website are the personal property of Thomas Greene, and may not be reproduced in print or on the internet in any form without the expressed written permission of Thomas Greene.  Permission may be given without compensation if the use is intended for non-commercial production.  Otherwise photo release documents and our production costs will be necessary for commercial use of any and all photos on this site.

All content on this site is copyrighted and owned by Tom Greene, Lighthouse Point, Florida.