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Mitchell Reel Museum Discussion Group

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:26 pm • #  
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I tried to add pics. hopefully they are there. Green reel seat, green wrappings, brown rod. Any info about the rod would be greatly appreciated. I cannot find anything anywhere on this.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:18 pm • #  
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greetings phoneman10,
Welcome to the Mitchell Reel Museum.
Here's one of the strings in this forum that has some information on the Missilite rods made by Narmco. viewtopic.php?f=90&t=5789&p=23166&hilit=conolon+missilite&sid=f087a10e61bd14df42235d4ab5e79392#p23166
More can be found by doing a search at the bottom of "Conolon & Narmco Rod Discussion".

Regards,
Ted Lanham


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:15 pm • #  
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I've read most everything on the site I can find. I think the rod was made from 1958-1960. But I have not seen a single 2022 listed anywhere. And I have seen the Vanguard name applied to custom Garcia rods, but this was prior to Garcia owning Conolon. I just wonder if anyone has ever seen this particular rod in any of the documentation? It says right on the rod that the list purchase price is $24.95. That would lead me to believe that it was not custom built.
I have looked everywhere on the internet and have not found a match. I am wondering if the rarity might make it valuable.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:41 am • #  
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Oh and by the way, thanks Ted for your quick response. It is much appreciated.
Jon


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:53 am • #  
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Hey Jon,

Interesting rod. I, myself, have wondered who the retailer(s) was/were for the Narmco Conolon 2000 series rods. I've seen a couple up for auction.

I would agree the likely date of your rod is 1958-59. In 1960, Conolon was owned by Garcia and labeled differently. Narmco introduced Missilite (a type of fiberglass) in their 1958 catalog (see MRM thread Ted linked above). But, I don't think they actually switched the fish logo (on rods and cases) from containing "live fiber" to "missilite" until 1959.

I just once again reviewed my Narmco Conolon catalogs from 1955 to 1959 to confirm they did not catalog any 2000 series rods.

From what I've seen the 2000s don't bring any higher prices per se. Condition is important. Also, how the rod is finished. I've read, many of the glass enthusiasts will pay more for shorter rods, but that doesn't apply here.

Where on your rod does it say "Vanguard"?

John


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:48 pm • #  
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Here it is.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:10 am • #  
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John, Do you know what quality range the 2000 series rods was in? 25 bucks in 1959 would have been pretty expensive I would think. I am wondering what that all means. Thanks so much for your help.
Jon


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:18 am • #  
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phoneman10 wrote:
John, Do you know what quality range the 2000 series rods was in? 25 bucks in 1959 would have been pretty expensive I would think. I am wondering what that all means. Thanks so much for your help.
Jon



$214 today.

I guess fishing really was a rich man's hobby back then.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:14 pm • #  
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Hey Jon,

Before I respond to consideration of selling price, let me reply to your last photo of the decal – making your rod even more interesting.

You wrote:
Quote:
… I have seen the Vanguard name applied to custom Garcia rods, but this was prior to Garcia owning Conolon.

Did you mean to write, “… but this was after Garcia owning Conolon”?

Garcia (Charles Garcia, later The Garcia Corp.) did not make any rods, but rather obtained their rods from Narmco Conolon until Garcia acquired Conolon in 1960.

I think we should consider that Conolon’s Vanguard is a situation similar to Conolon’s Royal Javelin. Royal Javelin rods were made for Klein’s Sporting Goods (Chicago, IL). You can read about it in this MRM thread: Royal Javelin - Klein's Sporting Goods - Trademark. Narmco Conolon made rods for Klein’s from at least the mid50’s on. When Garcia acquired Conolon, they continued providing rods for Klein’s then labeled “Royal Javelin custom built by Garcia”. This language is consistent with “Vanguard custom built by Garcia” seen on rods. Here is an auction image (while it lasts) of such a decal. Something to understand about “custom built” is that it is a line of rods made for a retailer, not a rod for an individual customer/fisherman.

So, as I mentioned earlier I think the question is, who retailed Vanguard? True Temper (hardware store) did sell rods labeled VANGUARD. And, presumably by another company, there were rods labeled VANGUARD with a billfish image “custom built by experts”. Given that vanguard is a commonly used name, it will likely be difficult to discover the history of your rod (as you already have experienced).

John


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:34 pm • #  
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Jon,

Yours is the first time I have ever seen a list price included on the decal of a rod (any time, any make)!


garthg,

I agree with your inflation calculation. To that I would add several decades of annual wage increases falling behind inflation make the rod even more expensive compared to today’s buying power. However, a fisherman did not need to spend $25 to get a good quality fly rod at the time.


Mates,

I’ll reply to the interesting topic of price in 2 parts (below).

John

part 1: actual selling price
Please forgive my cynicism, but at that time I believe it is very unlikely that this rod actually sold for its $25 list price, but rather a much lower actual price. I believe that was a common marketing ploy to make the consumer/fisherman think he was getting a bargain. Here are a couple of ad’s posted at MRM where the retailer has “discounted” up to 50% off the list price (also called “value”):
1956 ad & 1976 ad

part 2: list price comparison
At a face value price of $25, that puts this rod in the neighborhood of Garcia Conolon 5-star Gold fly rods at $28 in 1960 (see catalog page below). That said Garcia Conolon 3-star Blue fly rods listed for $13 in 1960.

For Narmco Conolon, this rod is in the neighborhood of the Master Titlist series at $22 in 1959 (see catalog excerpt below). Narmco had the following fly rod series listed (all missilite). By "case" they mean bag/sack. By “X” I mean several different single digit numbers are possible.

Atlas 410X (with polyethylene case) $10
Airflite 610X (with twill case) $17
Master Titlist 910X (with twill case & fiber tube) $22
Gold Citation 810X (with aluminum tube) $65

Attachment:
6000 Garcia Rods Trade Catalog 004.jpg

Attachment:
5900 Conolon Catalog 16 excerpt.jpg


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:48 pm • #  
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Thanks Halcyon
Amazing info.
I had meant that my rod was made prior to Garcia purchasing Conolon.
Thanks for the work of researching the rod. I guess some of it will have to remain a mystery, much like a lot that happened 60 years ago.
Jon


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:49 am • #  
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Halcyon wrote:
Jon,


garthg,

I agree with your inflation calculation. To that I would add several decades of annual wage increases falling behind inflation make the rod even more expensive compared to today’s buying power. However, a fisherman did not need to spend $25 to get a good quality fly rod at the time.




Not sure what you mean, there.
In reality today you can get a better-than-decent Made-in-China fishing rod that would stand up to pretty much anything that was made in the 1950's. And the relative price is a lot cheaper.

I have made my own custom rods in the past but I've also store-bought a few recently including a Shakespeare UglyStik with Fuji Guides and reel seat, nicely assembled and finished, for $69. The Conolons in their day were a lot more expensive relative to the average man's paycheck.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:20 am • #  
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I think what John means is that these rods made back then were better than the average rods made of standard fiberglass, wood or steel. Ahead of it's time therefore the higher prices paid. Conolon had several rods rated using stars as to the quality of that rod. More bells and whistles so to speak. Think of what $30 could buy back then and compare it to what you could buy now. Vastly different. Not a lot of disposable income back then compared to now. I'm sure you can find a quality rod made in China at a decent price. Even building one as you stated but that would be a labor of love and your time not factored into the overall price of the rod. For me I only fish with Conolon poles and Mitchell Reels. People of all ages stop and ask questions about them. I'll give them some history and maybe spark some interest............
Kim :sCh_fisherman:


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:06 am • #  
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piscesman wrote:
For me I only fish with Conolon poles and Mitchell Reels. People of all ages stop and ask questions about them. I'll give them some history and maybe spark some interest............
Kim :sCh_fisherman:

I did collect another brand of rod. Now I just fish the rods I make, though their a little more expensive. I know the rod before it's built. I fish fresh water only with Mitchell's. Being honest 80 percent saltwater. I to get people all the time asking about my reels.

May your lines always be tight, Don


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:54 pm • #  
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Hey Mates,

I appreciate your feedback/replies. It’s enlightening to me that not everyone understood my post above in this thread.

My post had 2 components, possibly seeming contradictory.

Additionally, may I say the intention of my post was to address price alone without addressing technological developments (such as high modulus graphite versus fiberglass) which were brought up afterwards.

Part 1:
Quote:
garthg,

I agree with your inflation calculation. To that I would add several decades of annual wage increases falling behind inflation make the rod even more expensive compared to today’s buying power.

What I meant to say with that comment was $214 in today’s costs wasn’t the whole story. Wages did not keep up with inflation. So, spending $214 today for such a rod would have been even more difficult (compared to in the late 1950s for $25). To conclude, yes that would have been an expensive rod to acquire.

Part 2:
Quote:
garthg,

... However, a fisherman did not need to spend $25 to get a good quality fly rod at the time.

I meant 2 things in that comment, supported by what I wrote later in that post.

First, Garcia Conolon 3-star Blue fly rods listed for $13 in 1960 and the Conolon Atlas rods listed for $10 in 1959.

Second, did anyone actually pay list price (MSRP = manufacturer’s suggested retail price) at that time? The ad’s I have found (with examples linked above in this thread) indicate the actual purchase price may have been less. To conclude, there were less expensive, good quality rods available.

Part 3:
Now about technological developments, which had not been my intention to address. Are fiberglass rods from the 1950s-1970s better or worse than the rods of today? I feel the answer is yes and no. There are 2 components in my answer, technical and personal preference.

1) There are scenarios in which a soft/slow 50s glass rod is better suited than a 2019 graphite rod. Conversely, there are scenarios where high-end graphite outclasses vintage glass.

2) Those who have grown up with glass rods (and perhaps others) just prefer their action to modern “broomsticks” - which admittedly is open to criticism. Count me among those who prefer glass (as long as it makes sense to the situation).

John


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:14 am • #  
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P.S. Under Part 3 #2, it's more correct to say, some of those who have grown up with glass rods (as not everyone of that type is in that boat).


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