Allcocks Unventilated Roller-Back Aerial sold for £5,800

I'll always remember when my Grandfather visited me as a child. He was a successful businessman hailing from Leeds with a penchant for the finer things in life. He would often visit, arriving it seemed in a different car each time. The car interior was always polished carefully and the windows were like mirrors reflecting pristine images. His fastidious attention to detail made you feel lucky and a sense of special occasion surrounded each stay.

The hum of the auction room cleared as people began to prepare for the start of Lawrence's three day Antique and Collectables sale in Bletchingley, 11th December 2012.  Lot number 132 described a Farlows salmon fishing reel and leather case together with a centrepin reel, estimating the value between one and two hundred pounds.  The description led readers to believe the Lot was rather insignificant, but to Allcocks collectors it was the emergence of the silver ghost, the holy grail or a mirage as most of us will experience. Bidding started at a meagre £1,500 (tongue firmly in cheek) and steadily rose to its final hammer price of £5,800 plus commission.  One lucky bidder will sleep well tonight.

The Farlows salmon reel took backstage as the centrepin in question was the Allcock Unventilated Roller-Back Aerial produced between 1900 and 1916 model 5101-T2. The reel was never actually catalogued by Allcocks, instead it featured inside Forrest of Kelso's, available only in 4.5" size. The Roller-Back got its name from the four brass pillars, visible from the rear aluminium plate, which were introduced to assist the angler to cope with forces inherent when playing larger fish such as Salmon and Pike. They acted as sturdy guides allowing the reel to spin freely under pressure.  Ebonite drums, rather than aluminium, were used to prevent overheating under contact with the rollers. The reel was sold with a tension regulator, six brass spokes, line guide, unventilated ebonite front flange with a nikel silver rim, see through copper caliper check mechanism, horn handles and the word 'Patent' was often embossed on the front flange as in this example.

To most people, especially fanatical fishermen and collectors, the Allcocks Aerial exudes an understated class and beauty, instantly recognisable style, quality engineering and a simplicity which is reminiscent of childhood visits from my grandfather.

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