The reel below was entered into our vintage tackle contest by Dale White on behalf of a neighbor who is looking for the value, as he wants to put it in a shadow box and give it to his great grandson. Dale did some research on his own trying to find out if this reel was made by famous designer Julius vom Hofe, but a definitive answer was nowhere to be found. No worries, Dale. Resident tackle expert Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog has your back.


Dr. Todd says:

“You have a really rare and interesting 19th century fishing reel on your hands. It was manufactured by John Kopf of Brooklyn, a notable (if often overlooked) reelsmith of the Victorian era. It’s called an Acme Wire Click Reel and came with a click patent manufactured under license to vom Hofe, and an optional line guide (which yours has). These reels are scarce and very collectible. Concerning value, I contacted Jim Schottenham of Lang’s Auctions and he wrote: “It looks like the reel has its original handle — a big plus — so with normal use wear, I’d place the value between $300 and $500.” I agree with the Lang’s reel guru, with the proviso that it could go for twice that much if two interested parties butted heads at a well-advertised auction. To see a catalog cut from 1885 from Jim’s web site, click here. To read the definitive history of John Kopf by preeminent reel historian Steve Vernon, click here.”

Hopefully that appraisal doesn’t make it more difficult to just hang the reel on the wall. Hurry up and tell your neighbor the good news! Thanks for sending and enjoy the Berkley Digital Tournament Scale that’s headed your way


If you’ve already sent me photos of your vintage tackle, keep checking every Thursday to see if I chose it for an appraisal by Dr. Todd. If you haven’t and want to enter the contest, email photos of your old tackle to, along with your name, mailing address, and story of how you acquired the gear. If I use it in a Thursday post, you get a Berkley Digital Tournament Scale (left, $40).