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Antiques and Collectables 


World record fishing reel for Mullock Madeley

A new world record price of £6,600 was secured for a Coxon Aerial fishing reel.

World renowned auctioneers, Mullock Madeley, of South Shropshire, made the coup at their recent antique and modern fishing tackle sale (November 20) at Ludlow racecourse. The extremely rare early model, a Roller Back Coxon Aeiral, from John Forrest of London was pre 1st World War and retained a lot of people still bidding, at £5,000, among a packed sale room,” according to auctioneer John Mullock.

Mullock Madeley fishing specialist John Stephenson, confirms authenticity: “We know it’s a record because it was only a couple of months ago that a similar Coxon Aerial sold for a previous best of £3,800. It is clear that quality and rarity set their own price,” says Mr Stephenson who had hoped it might achieve £5,000 against a guide price of £3,000/4000.

John Mullock enthuses, “it was a sterling sale all round with trade very strong throughout; to take a new world record was quite breathtaking. The Frank Sawyer collection generated flying bids with many fresh to the market wanting a bit of the Sawyer history for themselves.” Support delighted the Sawyer family - a highlight being Frank Sawyer’s brass microscope - bought by his mother in 1935 – it sold for £1,000.”

The auction saw the market for unusual fixed spool thread-line reels strengthen, with five Dingley of Alnwick, dry fly reels with original dark lead finishing, trebling their guide price to realise £980.



International auctioneers, Bonhams Vintage & Modern Fishing Tackle

To the left is featured a fine Hardy 1891 pattern brass “Perfect” fly reel 3 ½”. The winding plate with ivory handle, Rod in Hand Trademark, circular patent details incorporating maker’s name and 18373-612. The smooth straight foot pierced three times and stamped 93, nickel silver Bickerdyke style wire line guard attached to three raised brass supports, brass strapped nickel silver rim tension regulator screw. The dished drum with central well, large and small perforations and perforated drum core, internally fitted with open ball race with brass bearings, blue steel calliper spring and pawl. Retaining some original bronze finish, in maker’s brown card box.
Estimate £3000-5000

Charles Kewley
+44 (0)1237 451 907
+44 (0)7785 977377 Mobile

The Department

The Fishing department holds twice yearly sales of antique reels, baits and rods, as well as cased and carved fish, angling paintings and books at Bonhams in Honiton.

The sales have a keen worldwide following with many record prices being achieved. These include the world record price of £43,000 paid for the pair of Hardy "White-Wickham" Big Game Reels, and the world record price of £5,800 for a cased fish.

Important collections recently offered for sale have included the James Leighton Hardy collection of Hardy Brothers tackle and ephemera (25th January 2000) incorporating L.R.Hardy's rods and reels, Jim Hardy's tournament casting reels and the original drawing for Hardy Bros. famous "Rod-in-Hand" trade mark.

The sales include a good selection of angling books and paintings by artists such as Henry Leonidas Rolfe which sold for £8,500 and John Russell £5,400. American tackle is well represented; a Pflueger "Maybug" spoon selling for a UK record price of £2,150 for an American bait.

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The fine Fochaber studio carved salmon are among the angling antiquity auctioned by international sporting auctioneers, Mullock Madeley. 

Says auctioneer John Mullock, "We have a superb catalogue, with some fantastic specimens. The Fochaber salmon, which are to be sold separately, are among the star items and come with great provenance, including an article detailing their capture in The Field in June 1930."

A fine Fochaber Studio carved wooden Salmon, going under the hammer next week.

Reels date back to the mid 19th century and include: a Farlow walnut and brass Perth reel, c 1852; a very rare 1896 pattern Hardy brass and alloy Perfect salmon fly reel; a rare Malloch patent 1920 multiplying alloy sidecasting reel and a rare Hardy Zane-Grey 6" Monel big game multiplying reel.

Says John Mullock "the Zane-Grey is a fascinating reel recorded by Hardy’s that Mr Grey stipulated it must be the best big game fish reel in the world. It also has a faceplate with two Royal appointment medallions. It’s expected to attract a sum around £5,000."

An exceptionally rare live May fly box created from transparent celluloid by Wadhams "The X-Ray" dates to the 1920’s and will be sold in the region of £450.

For those looking to raise an eye, or a shriek, the fine Allcock Aquatic Spider, could just be the talking point for some time to come.

There is also a huge variety of angling books, paintings, china and other angling associated artefact generating a 500 lot catalogue which is already generating commission bids from across the globe.



Only 30 years ago, the only people who collected fishing memorabilia tended to be enthusiasts of the sport rather than collectors. But Phillip’s angling specialist Chris Hewitt says: ‘The reason why collecting vintage fishing equipment has become so much more popular in the last decade is because of the new books that have emerged which trace the history of the sport and its equipment.
‘In the past people just collected things because they found them interesting rather than for their material value. Now they collect them because they of their significance of fishing tackle as we know it. Particular reels which were innovative in their time and makers who took the sport forward such as Hardys are extremely collectable.’
Handsome rods, reels, feathered flies and exquisite baits, comprise the vintage tackle on offer. Two superb and very rare pieces of early English fishing tackle are found in an extremely rare late 18th century leather pot bellied creel, embossed with central sunburst and geometric borders (estimated to fetch between £1,200-£1,800) and an early 19th century fly wallet by Thos. Bond of Crooked Lane London (auction estimate £250-£350). 

The magnificent specimen was caught in Scotland last July is just one of a number of rare fishing tackle and angling lots that came up on the June fishing tackle and piscatoriana sale. 


Also of note are a mid 19th century 2in. brass multiplying winch by Ustonson (£2,500-£3,000) and scarce ‘Kitchen’s’ Patent multiplying trout spinning reel c1920, (£1,000-1,500). Of the baits, a fine and rare “Maybug” spoon bait by Pflueger is especially appealing, formed as a beautiful insect (£1,000-1,500).
A similar model to the Utonson reel on offer fetched £4,600 at an auction run by Mullock and Madeley at Church Streeton, Shropshire last November – and that’s a mere nibble compared with the world record of £48,000 paid last year for a pair of Hardy White Chickham reels.
Fishing flies are also highly collectable. A boxed display of case baits made £26,000 at a Christie’s auction last year. Phillips is offering a Westley Richards trout fly which is estimated to fetch between £150 and £250 in its sale – and a single Pflueger Maybug spoon lure, still in its original red card box is anticipated to reach between £1,000 and £1,500.


Bargain seekers may find great treasures at car-boot sales and church-hall antique fairs and certain types, patents and sizes are particularly rare and valuable. 
Between 70 and 100 people generally attend angling auctions at Phillips – but bids pour in my phone, fax, phone and email particularly from the Americans and the Japanese according to Chris Hewitt. 
If you’d love to bid for antique angling equipment at an auction but can’t get into the auction rooms don’t worry. You can still enjoy all the fun of bidding for antique angling collectibles online with


Currently an1801 Angling Print of Flies and Fly Tying is up for auction on eBay. There are some prints of Fishing Lures and Hooks of the same date and well as a fascinating book – Angling A country Life Publication Fishing. And for those who’d like to see what used to be on offer, there’s a wonderful Christie’s Auction catalogue for a sale of angling art which took place in – 1940! What a chance to compare and contrast the cost of living.
And if your partner complains you seem to be spending too long online, you can legitimately put a sign on the computer room door – reading of course ‘Gone Fishing’.

Related Links

Bonhams - The Bonhams name is recognised worldwide throughout all sectors of the fine art, antiques and collectors’ market, and several of its departments are already established world leaders within their category.

Mullock's - Specialist auctioneers and valuations of football & rugby memorabilia, golf memorabilia, cricket, and all sports memorabilia, vintage fishing tackle and historical documents.

Antique Tackle on eBay - eBay is widely accepted as the number one online auction house and hosts many items of antique fishing tackle for sale.



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