Antique Pflueger Reels

In this discussion, we delve into antique Pflueger reels. With their cutting-edge craftsmanship, these items have always been way ahead of their time while helping preserve a long-standing fishing hobby for several Americans.

At Lang’s auction in 2008, William Billinghurst’s groundbreaking fishing reel, the first patented one of American origin, commanded an impressive $40,320, setting a record as the most expensive fishing reel ever sold.

Discover the most valuable and collectible antique fishing reels as we take you on a journey through the history and essence of these timeless treasures.

4 Antique Pflueger Reels

1. PFLUEGER Trump #1943 Vintage

  • USA made

  • Baitcasting reel

2. 1950’S Pflueger Trump Bait-Cast Level

  • Cranked quietly

  • Baitcast levelwind fishing reel

3. Vintage Pflueger Rocket USA Level Wind

  • Made in USA

  • Silver serving spoons

4. Pflueger 1558 Sal-Trout Fishing Reel, Trolling Reel

  • Pflueger Sal-Trout No 1558

  • Manufactured in USA

1. PFLUEGER Trump #1943 Vintage Bait Casting Fishing Reel Antique


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Brand: Pflueger
Country/Region of Manufacture:United States
Fish Species:All Freshwater
Fishing Type:Freshwater Fishing

You’re looking at a vintage Pflueger Trump baitcasting reel dating back to 1943. The mechanism is functioning smoothly, albeit showing typical signs of wear from use over time. Notably, the handles exhibit a charming marble effect in tan. If you’re a collector, this reel would make a fantastic addition to your collection.

This product is proudly manufactured in the USA, boasting a sleek chrome finish and presenting itself in good overall condition.

2. 1950’s Pflueger Trump Bait-cast Level Wind Anti-Backlash Fishing Reel


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Brand: Pflueger
Fish Species:All Freshwater
Fishing Type:Freshwater Fishing
Country/Region of Manufacture:United States
Model No:1943

The Pflueger Trump Model No. 1943 Baitcast Levelwind Fishing Reel hails from the United States, dating back to the 1950s. While there is noticeable plate loss on the body, the original patina remains intact. Despite this, the reel operates smoothly; however, a cleaning and oiling would likely enhance its performance further.

In one position, the reel can be cranked quietly, while in the other position, a clicking sound is heard, suggesting that drag has been applied. However, it seems that the reel lacks a drag adjustment feature. Notably, an anti-backlash knob is knurled on the reel.

The bearings seem smooth, and the central spindle spins evenly. With some cleaning and oiling, the reel could likely be made usable. Marbled caramel bakelite knobs adorn the reel handle. On the reel’s side is the inscription “Pflueger Made in USA Trump Model No. 1943.”

3. Vintage Pflueger Rocket USA Level Wind Bait Casting Fishing Reel


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Brand: Pflueger
Country/Region of Manufacture:United States
Fishing Type: Freshwater Fishing 
fishing Species:All Freshwater
Model No:1355

The reel is a vintage Pflueger Rocket Model 1355, proudly made in the USA, featuring level wind and baitcasting capabilities. It exudes a high-quality appearance and emits a satisfying sound. Interestingly, it seems that a piece has been cut out of the pole plate for unknown reasons.

Like the cleanliness of these silver serving spoons. These silver serving spoons are truly exquisite. Despite their vintage appearance, they’re actually brand new.

4. Pflueger 1558 Sal-Trout Fishing Reel, Trolling Reel


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Brand: Pflueger
Country/Region of Manufacture:United States
Fish Species: Trout
Bearing Material:Spinning
Handle Material:Stainless Steel, Aluminum

This is the Pflueger 1558 Sal Trout Fishing Reel. It’s 12 inches long and made in the USA. Great for Father’s Day. It’s 5 1/2 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches tall when laid on its side, including the handles. Pflueger’s spinning reel came out in 1954 and changed fishing.

This trolling rod is excellent for catching lake trout and landlocked salmon in Maine. It’s made of nickel brass and doesn’t have a magnetic pull. The cabinet has two black-painted, turned wood knobs.

The drag screw is located in the middle on the handle side. The reel spins smoothly, and there are rod brackets included. You’ll find “Pflueger Sal-Trout 1558 Made in USA Patent 1,889, 914” etched or stamped into the metal spinning reel.

On the other side of the reel, you’ll notice a letter B. There’s also an adjustment screw on the back, likely for the click sound, which requires an Allen wrench to turn. This reel, at least 70 years old, shows spotting and wear on both sides.

Types Of Antique Fishing Reels

During your search, you may come across various types of antique fishing reels. Some of these models have the potential to be converted into contemporary ones.

Factors That Determine The Value Of An Antique Fishing Reel?

You cannot move forward without being able to answer this pressing question. Despite its cost-effectiveness, the fishing reel market is luxurious enough to appeal to collectors with deep pockets.

Collecting fishing reels depends on several factors, including the reel’s rarity, size, material, and age.

1. Brand

There is a correlation between the brand name and the value of the product, which can influence its market value. Reels from popular brand names are often more likely to exceed their estimated price and generate significant attention and demand from buyers.

2. Size

Collectible reels with larger sizes and higher monetary values tend to be more valuable. A large fishing reel is capable of attracting larger fish, which in turn can yield higher profits. Therefore, our focus on size is not entirely unfounded, as evidenced by this straightforward analysis.

3. Fishing Museums

Fishing shops dot the area, showcasing antique fishing reels and tools as their primary offerings. Catering to all needs, they offer everything from simple hooks and lines to intricately designed reels.

4. Age

A reel will hold more value as a collectible if it’s older, particularly if it predates 1942. Older reels often boast intricate details and similar features, as they were typically handmade.

Due to the production techniques employed in handmade items, they tend to be more expensive. Finding a high-quality reel from the old days can be challenging, but if you do, it’s like striking gold.

5. Rarity

There wasn’t much production of antique fishing reels during that time, making them exceptionally rare. Consequently, the supply is limited.

It’s probable that a reel crafted during a limited period would only be available for sale and collection if the company manufactured it for a brief duration. Full Jeweled Tournament (FJT) reels with sapphires and bearings are exceedingly rare, with very few available on the market.

6. Quality

Since older reels were not mass-produced, they were typically crafted by a single or a few skilled craftsmen, ensuring consistent materials and design quality. The desirability of acquiring an antique reel is widespread, contributing to their high demand.

Custom-made reels typically exhibit excellent craftsmanship, being handcrafted to create unique, special, and rare pieces. In contrast, mass-produced reels from the 1950s and 1960s are often less collectible than modern reels that showcase superior workmanship.

7. Condition

If your antique fishing reel is in mediocre condition, with broken parts, rusted metal, bent rod, warped wood, and faded marks, it significantly diminishes its market value.

If your reel doesn’t stay clean and well-maintained, you might face significant losses. Additionally, having a reel in its original packaging can provide an added advantage.

While some reels may meet all collectability criteria and boast high quality, the first impression is crucial for buyers and collectors. If they notice any flaws upon inspection, they may lose interest entirely. As mentioned earlier, maintaining the condition of your reels is paramount.

When evaluating your reels, it’s essential to consider two categories of conditions:

  • The appearance
  • Mechanic grades.

8. Reel’s Function

The more purposes your reel serves, the more expensive it will likely be. To determine their true value, it’s crucial to ascertain what your reels are primarily intended for. Some reels are highly valued on the market due to their exceptional functionality.

According to some sources and collectors, spinning reels are considered more valuable than casting reels due to their design and functionality. To identify old fishing reels, you can refer to identification catalogs, photograph books and publications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Were freespool clutches incorporated into all of the antique baitcasting reels?

Although the earliest U.S. patents for reels dating back to the 1850s mention free spool clutches and underwent significant refinement before 1900, these clutches didn’t become commonplace on most baitcasting reels until after World War II. When thrown, the spool of a casting reel connects to the handle through the gear train.

While clutched reels were available much earlier, in 1900, inventors devised various methods to break this connection, such as separating the gears from the spool and disconnecting them from the gears. However, reels weren’t typically equipped with fairly complex devices at that time.

In the early 1890s, the first automatic clutch was invented, which freed the spool when the angler stopped cranking the reel.

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