For sale here is a very scarce and potentially unique Edward Vom Hofe trout fly reel. Purported to be made between 1875 and 1880, this early version of what became known as the Peerless model features hard-rubber sideplates and rims, made prior to the next version in approximately 1880 that incorporated protective german silver bands to protect the hard rubber. It also features bolstered german silver pillars, while the pillars on earliest reels did not have bolstered pillars. The recessed handle crank was also an improvement in design that prevented the line from getting tangled in the handle arm. The maker's mark on the headplate is faint but still easy to see under magnification. There is one very faint hairline crack in the rim at the four to five o'clock position in the last photo. Most of these early all hard rubber rimmed models did not survive due to the brittle nature of the unprotected rims.
The dimensions of this reel also make it unusual compared to its early peers, in that most of the very early Peerless models were much smaller. This reel has a diameter of 2 3/4" and a pillar width of 13/16". The reel weighs 3.85 oz. The reel foot, straight and unmolested, measures 2 5/8" in length.
Mechanically the reel remains in excellent condition with a fixed click and a smooth winding operation.
In the book, "Land of Little Rivers" by Austin McK. Francis (which will be included as part of this sale), there are four early Peerless reels shown from Hoagy Carmichael's collection. These four reels represent other early and smaller versions of the Peerless reel. You can easily see the evolution in the designs of these models and where the one we have for sale fits in timing-wise. The first reel shown, and all german silver model sold years ago for ~$28,000 at auction. In the below photo, the same maker's mark can be seen on the crank arm of this first model. If you are interested, please email me and I can send you a photo of these four early reels.
For reel collectors out there, this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire such an early gem from the legendary Edward Vom Hofe. Reasonable offers are encouraged.