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PNW Coleton
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All - posting some questions about a vintage Hardy Perfect reel I picked up awhile back but have been waiting on the right rod to pair it with. Have also posted on the Classic Fly Rod Forum - I know there's a lot of SMEs there on the subject, but I'm more familiar with this crew and never hurts to cast a wide net. Thanks in advance for your input!

On the Classic forum this thread was about a reel from the same era, so I added on. I have some questions I'm hoping to solve with the help of the community there and here.

Some details on my reel (that I know): came with a tag claiming it is a 1947-1956 era Hardy Perfect, 4 1/4". Based on what I've investigated the era seems correct. Does have the vertical text on the winder, and in two places a "21" is marked on the inside of the winder near the gear as well behind the spool on the body of the reel. Reel also has the locking screw which I don't think was on all models through this era. No line guard. Ribbed but modern size reel foot (I'm fairly confident). Some minimal wear.

Questions I'm hoping to find some answers on:
1) is the vintage correct? Any ideas as to the reel maker?
2) RHW --> LHW. Was advertised as being able to switch the pawls to change the retrieve. I have switched the pawls and, yes, it seems possible to fish it reversed as the outgoing check is the same but incoming check sound (relatively) sucks compared to the normal Hardy sound. Would love any guidance on proper method to switch the pawls if it is indeed possible and acceptable. If the answer is "no, you can't nor shouldn't try this" that is OK, happy to reel with the right hand on this beauty.
3) Cleaning: I've read and will continue to peruse the many threads debating this topic. But given the different finishes there may be a model specific method I should adhere to and thought it best to ask here. Similarly (and also seemingly contentious), what grease and oil is preferred with these older reels?
4) Value. No, not looking to sell. Just want to validate that I didn't get ripped off... Listed last as it's my lowest priority, but appreciate any guesses!

Thank you in advance. Pictures below, including the original box (no paperwork).
 

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The reel is circa 1960. A reel earlier than 1950 would have been leaded, not enameled as is this one. During the 50's, the reel would have been enameled, but for most of that period the foot would have been a ribbed brass. The ribbed alloy foot was later. The numbers are probably assembly numbers. On reels of this period, the reelmakers didn't inscribe initials.

It is a RHW reel. Some people do reverse the pawls and fish them LHW, but it was never meant to be reversible and the geometry really isn't correct for LHW, and personally I wouldn't do it. Others may differ. I switched from LHW to RHW just because I wanted to fish vintage Hardys.

Cleaning is best just with soapy water--just wipe off the grease with a paper towel and you can get it pretty clean. Then regrease/oil. I use Hot Sauce. There is a popular cleaning method using a vinegar/water blend (formula on Classic Fly Rod Forum), I've used it and it's ok, but overall I think soap and water is best.

Value is always subjective--but a 1960 reel in that size and this shape I'd say $500-550. Again, others may differ.

You have a nice reel, and it should give you a lifetime of enjoyment using it.
 

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18 foot spey rod DV8
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G’Day,
Congrats on your beautiful Hardy. The vintage of your reel appears to be a 1950 era reel. You should be able to reverse it to LHW with no difference in performance. Right now in the photo you submitted, both pawls are engaged and that gives a different sound, a purr rather than the definitive DPII ‘growl” with just a single engaged pawl. I’ve sent you a pm with further info.
 

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It is clearly a RHW and flipping the pawls over (what I believe you mean by "switching" them) won't make a difference in how it engages with the gear cog on the spool. But that doesn't mean you can't mount the reel so that the winding plate is to the left (reversed) ...;)
 

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The Skeena in the fall
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Coleton

I have the same reel.

A member of our club, Art Lingren, is a noted author, and one of our Hardy experts.
His note to me when queried about the reel.

"Jim, the Hardy wide drums were discontinued after 1966. Before WW II the writing was curved. In 1946 they went with a horizontal Perfect writing. Your Perfect was post WW II up to 1966. In 1978 Perfects were reintroduced but only narrow drum."
 

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I have a similar reel that is straight line writing but leaded. What I wonder about is the Tpost pawl mount,that was used for a while in the 30,s I beleive and then again for a while with these straight line reels. Does anyone have a time frame for this? That reel of yours looks to be in great shape Coleton. The ribbed foot will help to narrow the time frame to, but don,t have the knowledge to say when it was used. Also the material foot is made from,brass or aluminum is another indicator of years made. Daryl
 

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flytie09
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You've been given sage advice already. 1950s - 1960s. Ribbed alloy foot, straight line lettering, the box, the enameled finish and rarer 4 1/4" size are distinguishing features that date it. Value....I would say $250 - $350 as it lacks the line guide. You might get more.......you might get less.

As far as cleaning and lubrication.....I'm not touching that subject again. I'd say follow SalmonCane and you'll be fine.
 

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These are some of the Perfect reels I have from this Era. The two on the right are similar to yours both are 4 1/4” with enamel finish and straight letters. They have brass ribbed long foot so I have always dated these from the 1950s. The reel to the far left is a 4 1/2” Perfect Dupl. Mark II lead finish curved writing so I dated in pre 1940. The one next to it is a 4” leased finish, brass ribbed foot, straight letter so I dated this late 1940s.

You reel is very nice in good shape does not take much maintenance just basic clean of inside and then regrease and reoil. I would value it the $500 - 600 range that is what I have seen these go for from the 1950s era.
 

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Relapsed Speyaholic
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My only input to add would be on the value side. The value of Perfects seems to have dropped a tad in recent years. This seems to have corresponded to the reissue of the Perfects from Hardy. My guesstimate on yours is in the $400 range. I wouldn’t think the floor would be much less than that but the ceiling could go $50-$100 above.
 

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Anglish spoken here
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561 Posts
These are some of the Perfect reels I have from this Era. The two on the right are similar to yours both are 4 1/4” with enamel finish and straight letters. They have brass ribbed long foot so I have always dated these from the 1950s. The reel to the far left is a 4 1/2” Perfect Dupl. Mark II lead finish curved writing so I dated in pre 1940. The one next to it is a 4” leased finish, brass ribbed foot, straight letter so I dated this late 1940s.

You reel is very nice in good shape does not take much maintenance just basic clean of inside and then regrease and reoil. I would value it the $500 - 600 range that is what I have seen these go for from the 1950s era.
Hello.. As far as I´ve had it, ribbed alloy feet was introduced in 1958. Straight logo came around 1950. Would agree on the 4" shown here, transition era, late 40s. Nice reels, BTW. Yours borano20
 

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PNW Coleton
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Discussion Starter #12
Keeping her RHW, thanks for the guidance!

Jim and SalmonCane (and everyone else who chimed in) - thanks for your advice. After the great feedback and some fun phone calls with Jim talking fishing and reels I've elected to keep it RHW. Jim shared the technical reason to fish RHW click n' pawls even if you cast RH on top - best for the fish taking the hook for the set w/out risking the handle catching. For this reason, and for reel authenticity, I will fish it RHW.
  • For those who are curious - it sounds like a new pawl could make it possible to reverse. A reel specialist, such as Jim, can fabricate these if someone similar is interested.

It is a RHW reel. Some people do reverse the pawls and fish them LHW, but it was never meant to be reversible and the geometry really isn't correct for LHW, and personally I wouldn't do it. Others may differ. I switched from LHW to RHW just because I wanted to fish vintage Hardys.

Cleaning is best just with soapy water--just wipe off the grease with a paper towel and you can get it pretty clean. Then regrease/oil. I use Hot Sauce. There is a popular cleaning method using a vinegar/water blend (formula on Classic Fly Rod Forum), I've used it and it's ok, but overall I think soap and water is best.
Hot Sauce should be delivered this week, then it's time to give here a cleanup! Will go with the Dawn dish soap approach.

G’Day,
Congrats on your beautiful Hardy. The vintage of your reel appears to be a 1950 era reel. You should be able to reverse it to LHW with no difference in performance. Right now in the photo you submitted, both pawls are engaged and that gives a different sound, a purr rather than the definitive DPII ‘growl” with just a single engaged pawl. I’ve sent you a pm with further info.
These are some of the Perfect reels I have from this Era. The two on the right are similar to yours both are 4 1/4” with enamel finish and straight letters. They have brass ribbed long foot so I have always dated these from the 1950s. The reel to the far left is a 4 1/2” Perfect Dupl. Mark II lead finish curved writing so I dated in pre 1940. The one next to it is a 4” leased finish, brass ribbed foot, straight letter so I dated this late 1940s.

You reel is very nice in good shape does not take much maintenance just basic clean of inside and then regrease and reoil. I would value it the $500 - 600 range that is what I have seen these go for from the 1950s era.
John - beautiful collection of reels you have there!

Thanks again all for your guidance! Best of health and (if you can safely) happy fishing!

Coleton
 
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