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Old 05-16-16, 11:49 AM   #6
Shoalwalker
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Join Date: May 2016
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A Few ( words on MONTAGUE BAMBOO FLY RODS.

Is there a difference between a '56 Corvette and a '77 Vega?

Montague City Rod and Reel Company was the world's largest manufacturer of bamboo rods. Founded in the 1880s by brothers, Eugene and Leander Bartlett, the company acquired its larger competitor, Chubb, in the early 1890s. (One company, Union Hardware, seems to have deliberately made near-imitations of Montagues. ) The Bartletts continued to market and label the Chubb rods "retail" primarily through the famous Chubb catalogue. However, the bigger business was selling unlabelled rods to retailers like Abbey & Imbrie, Dame Stoddard, or even Mom&Pop. Millions were sold - from low quality to very high quality. Millions may still exist. They did not merely sell finished rods, they also sold kits, blanks and hardware. Some of that hardware (and a few rare and very collectible rods) were designed by a Leonard disciple, George Varney. The man was a true master of hardware.

Although they would continue to supply trade rods to retailers, Montague changed philosophy completely by launching a massive ($250,000) ad campaign -including a film about fly fishing. They began to label their rods as Montague with names models, and would eventually produce about 100 different models ranging in quality and price from the Powr Built 50 that sold for $50.00 during the Great Depression, to the lowly Amateur that sold for $1.25 and came in a paper bag. Many of those rods were produced in sizes ranging from 6'6" to 9'6" (not including salmon rods). Many of those models also came in three different "actions": light trout, medium trout and bass.

The Montague Redwing was the most popular high end fly rod. Selling for about $25.00 during the Depression, people were as proud to own that manufactured rod as many of the bench made rods produced by famous makers. Frequently, you will find people who sell them as "my grandfather's pride and joy." Nine footers are not rare, even today. However, they are valued.

Are Montagues collectible? At the top? Yes. At the bottom? No. (Although I do know people who will buy the worst models if they are in good condition.)

How valuable are they? A Redwing sells on ebay for an average of about $245.00 in pretty good condition. I've seen them sell as low as $98.00 and as high as $450.00. However, I would say that, if a 7'6" Redwing is offered on ebay, it will fetch in excess of $600.00 and perhaps more than $1000.00. I know of about 20 collectors (including me) who have great desire. but little hope of ever owing that rare jewel. A 7'0" Manitou "double enamel?" fuggitaboutit.

ANYWAY here is how I price Montagues in my mind for collecting:

RULE OF THUMB PRICE GUIDE FOR DECALED MONTAGUE RODS (Post-1926)
Values LISTED BELOW are for 9’0” and 9’6” fly rods or Salmon rods in excellent original condition with tube and sock.
ADJUSTMENTS for size, diminished condition, etc. are at the end.

Double Built: ( Double enamel)
Powr-Built 50 $250
Powr-Built 35 $225
Powr-Built 25 $225
Powr-Built 20 $200

Montague Zephyr Series (No 9 footers)
Little Smoky - 7 - 8 $300 - 8 $225
Sierra - 7 - 8 $300 - 8 $225
Classon Brook - 7 - 8 $300 - 8 $225
Midge - 7 - 8 $300 - 8 $225

Celebrity Line
Winthrop - $200
Bradford - $200
Webster - $200
Palmer - $200
Churchill - $200

Top End Regular Offerings: Nickel Silver Fittings. Heat treated.
Produced in separate facility.
Manitou - $275 (A+ cane quality) (Rare, short rods like a 7 or 7-6 would bring a minimum of $600.00 even needing restoration)
Redwing – Game **** label $275
Redwing -$250 (Rare, short rods like a 7 or 7-6 would bring a minimum of $600.00 even needing restoration)
*Montague/Orvis Impregnated - $225
Trail - $200

Produced in Regular facility.
Flipline - $175 B- cane quality)

Blue Streak - $175 3 guides on tip sections. Chrome plated, nickel silver, hand welted ferrules
Fishkill - $175 nickel silver, hand welted ferrules (often blackened) three guides
Comet - $175 Rolled welt nickel silver three guides
Splitswitch Fly - $160 Rolled welt nickel silver three guides

The Rapidan is the Mid-level "everyman's" Montague model. It has improved ferrrules that are not of the quality of the rods listed above, but better than those below. It sometime is offered with the same nickel silver and scrulock reel seat as the higher models. Trading can be brisk for the seven footer, while the 9 footers can be found frequently for $50.00. There are many thousands in existence. Theoretically, a superb 9 footer could bring $150, with a superb 7 footer bringing $300.00. Good, fishable rods can be found for half that -or less if one is patient.

Common” Offerings: “These models use what I think of as shortcut tapers. Easy to produce and not much chance of making bad strips. The butt and mid have minor tapering end-to-end and step down at each ferrule station. The tips have more of a taper end-to-end, but again at the tiptop are much larger in diameter than the higher end rods.Quoting my e-friend "Old Cane". Ferrules are also nickel/chrome plated brass with an increasing tendency to split as you move further down the lineup.
Rapidan - $150 Flash - $150
Leaping Brook - $150 Beaver Run - $150

Madison - $125 Comanche - $125
Lakeside - $125 Apache - $125
Acadian - $125 Iroquois - $125
Ausable - $125 Rainy River - $125
Broad Brook - $125 Beaver Run - $125
Mountain Lake - $125 Pelham Brook - $125
Bear Lake - $125 Lakeside -$125
Sunbeam - $125 Clipper - $125
Flashfly

Cold Spring - $100 (C quality Cane?) Sonora - $100
Deerfield - $100 Leaping Brook
Barton Brook - $100 Eagle River - $100
Ausable River $100 Timberlake - $100
Lake Pleasant - $100 Clear Lake - $100
Mt. Tom - $100 Highland - $100

Pocono - Amateur
#11579 - $75 #500 - $75

Combination Rods: $100.00
ANP Special Combination Fishkill Combo
Splitswitch Combo Rapidan Combo
Eel River Combination


Gaspe Dry Fly Salmon - $160


adjustment
Values above are based on 9’0” and 9’6” fly rod or Salmon rod in very good original condition or excellent restored condition with tube and sock.

• Add $25.00 if light trout action. * Add $50.00 if 8-6
• Add $75.00 if 8’- 0” * Add $150.00 if 7’- 6”
• Add $175.00 if 7’- 0” * Add $ 175.00 if 6’- 6”
• Add $50.00 if MINT condition. * Add $20.00 perfect tube label.

• Subtract $50.00 if full, not excellent condition, but fishable as is with minor varnish touchup or replacement of one guide,
• Subtract $50.00 if rod has been restored in whole or noticeable part.
• Subtract $50.00 if restoration is less than excellent
• Subtract $25.00 if only one full tip
• Subtract $75.00 if major restoration is required or if no full tips. Actually, for Rapidans on down, they are worthless ifthey have no full tips.
• Subtract $10.00 no sock.
• Subtract $30.00 no tube.

Again, it's theoretical. Some of those models haven't been seen. Some heretofore unkown models have probably shown up in the last year. Note that this list does not include proprietary trade rods like Sears French River that is the quality equivalent of a Redwing but may be slightly more valuable due to rarity.

I must acknowledge the master. If you are searching for more (and better) information about Montague rods, search the internet for Rex TheMontyMan.

Last edited by Shoalwalker; 09-28-16 at 12:28 PM.
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