0203: Abbey & Imbrie, Empire City - Special Grade, 9-1/2’ 3/2, 6-strip bamboo. A mere 6-1/2 ounces (reel seat included). 5-1/2” cork grip made up from ~ ¼” cork rings, in a cigar configuration. Full nickel silver, rolled and soldered reel seat with full-length raised rails and soldered pocket. "Abbey & Imbrie, Empire Cit(y), Special Grade” trademark and the A&I logo is roll-stamped into the reel seat. There is a nickel silver 'hosel' (winding check) and the early, innovative, strap and ring hook keeper.
All guides are English twist steel snake guides except for the nickel silver stripper-guide with agate insert. The snakes do show a little surface rust but should clean up easily. (I have purposely NOT done any cleaning for historical reasons) Both tip joints sport nickel silver tiptops with agate inserts. Each tip joint has a different caliber ring and agate - I believe as issued. The rod is wrapped in black silk with red silk intermediates running the full length. The nickel silver ferrules are rolled and soldered with soldered welt rings on the females, and waterproofing disks on all. The ferrules are pinned, as well.
The varnish on three of the four joints is dark but not heavy, possibly just due to age. Interestingly, the second tip joint seems to have been spared any aging affect and thus shows the beautiful original cream color of the cane, and the true wrap colors. Thus we have a rare glimpse of what the rod may have looked like when originally offered for sale perhaps more than 110 years ago. All the joints are amazingly straight, I suspect from being well taken care of and stored on the wood form.
The wood form, with black velvet cloth covering, holds all four joints securely and is in very nice condition. One end has a leather ‘end cap’ that appears to be incomplete. The other end is open to allow removal of the rod joints from the form. The light canvas sleeve has had a few tears repaired but is otherwise original and fits the form nicely.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: I had originally listed this as being a Thomas & Edwards rod due to its similarity to a rod described in A.J. Campbell's book "Classic & Antique Fly-Fishing Tackle" - 1977. However, recent research has cast doubt on this attribution. That research provides compelling evidence that John G.Landman & Son probaby made these rods in their Brooklyn N.Y. facility as trade rods for A&I in the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth century - 1890-1910. (The American Fly Fisher, Spring, 2012)
I do not want to mislead anyone, so I will leave the decision up to you, the purchaser. Either way this is a rare and desirable collector's rod, now a bit controversial. "Abbey & Imbrie, Empire City - Special Grade", in excellent vintage condition, $675