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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:05 am • #  
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Hello Mates,

A Garcia Mitchell 540 on a 66 inch Conolon rod just sold on eBay for $1,332.77. I thought this would be an interesting topic for several reasons. The rod is balanced for an ultra-light 508 and more interesting is the Garcia sticker. I have never seen any evidence of a Garcia distributed Mitchell 540 which is why this sold so high in my opinion! I do hope Garcia is engraved under the sticker. Any thoughts on this?

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Regards, Wallace

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:45 am • #  
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Hi Wallace,

Thats a great reel,  worth every cent if you ask me, Super rare and in that condition very hard to find.

Your question on the Garcia sticker would send chills down my spine if i had just bought this reel, looking at a 540 in D. Roberts book shows a Garcia 540 auto-dab though the GARCIA sticker is in a somewhat weird position should it have Garcia engraved underneath it, he also states the reel was not offered in the USA so why the Garcia sticker?

Regards Martin


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:47 pm • #  
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Hello Wallace and Martin,

I was also looking at the very early Mitchell 508 combo from the same seller and  the Conolon sample rod ..awesome
It could be possible that the 508 and 540 combos were amongst the first 500 series that went to North America.
The Garcia sticker on the 540 looks genuine  to me .


regards  Dries


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:00 pm • #  
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Hey Martin,

I'm always happy to see any very rare Mitchell reel sell for big bucks and I agree it's worth every penny. Remembering there were three different Garcia distributors during this time (USA, Canada and The UK) it's possible these were sold in Canada and not the USA but if Garcia's name was engraved, why not sell them through all three? Why are all known schematics for the 540 marked European only not to mention no Garcia advertisements that I've ever seen?

Hey Dries,

I have studied both original and fake Garcia wedge stickers and found the originals are thick whereas the fakes are very thin and not as well made by far. Unless you have the two together in hand, they are hard to tell the difference especially in a photograph. The Mitchell 510 was first introduced in North America but you may be right about the "combos" especially in Canada.

Regards, Wallace

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:39 pm • #  
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Hi Wallace,

Just a thought on the engraving then my friend, do you think it possible for the sideplates for these reels to NOT have Garcia engraved beneath the sticker?, standard Mitchell 540 sideplate with a sticker placed on the sideplate just like some of the "special" stickered reels for europe.

Regards Martin


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:18 am • #  
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Hi Martin,

I spoke with probably the largest collector of the 500 series reels and he thought the same thing. Since it was being sold by Garcia in Canada, why wouldn't they add their sticker? This is another reason I try very hard to never use any sticker as a definitive proof of authenticity. If someone placed an Albatros sticker on one of these, does that make it an Albatros? Engraving is the key in my opinion to certify any reel's distributor. Of course there are exceptions mainly in the very early years.

Best Regards, Wallace

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:40 am • #  
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Hello Mates:

I don't know if this will come any closer to answering the question of whether "Garcia" is engraved under the sticker of the 540, but here are some additional insights.  I had a chat with the seller of these items (I will not reveal his name at this time for privacy purposes), and it turns out that he was one of the top photographers working with Bob Crane, Advertising Director of Garcia.  He was a very nice fellow to talk with.  He started photographing with the company in 1962, when there were only 7 photographers.  This grew to 80-some photographers in the heyday of the late sixties and early seventies.  I believe he was an employee of a seperate company that did all of the photographic work for Garcia. 

In any case, he became president of that company, and told me that he would shoot pictures of all first-run items that were then presented in all kinds of advertising, including the tackle magazines and fishing annuals.  They would move around the Garcia and conolon stickers on the rods to get the best presentation, and when they would do that, Garcia would not sell these to the public-----so he being in that upper management class kept a lot of goods, especially the rods.  I did not ask him whether they put Garcia stickers on any reels to dress up the photo's, but given what he said, this could be a real possiblity.

He mentioned that the 510 was produced in 1970 and that the 508 came later in 1972 (he is accurate there).  However, he thought that the 540 was the only one of its kind, and I told him that about 1,100 had been produced.  He didn't know that.  He did say that although he thought the 540 combo was the best piece of fishing equipment made at the time, that the forked-foot series did not go over well because the only way to get them was to buy the rod, too.  He said that the 1970's recession in the the U.S. was just starting and people were beginning to cut back on expeditures for fishing equipment.   

Is it possible that Garcia put the sticker on an (un-engraved) reel for the photo shoot with the intent to sell them in the U.S. or Canada, but with two years of low sales decided to drop mass production in the U.S.?

On another note, he told me that the conolon rods were really top quality rods being hand made by women Japanese workers in California.  All eyes, ferrules, windings, and coatings were put on by hand.  He also lamented the downfall of Garcia, because he said they were a fantastic company to work for and so many people were affected.  He indicated that Garcia had bought Mitchell (majority owner?) in the mid-late 1970's, just when the recession in the U.S. hit hard.  He said Garcia had just bought Mitchell, and had some huge bank loans out there.  The banks were experiencing very hard times and requested that the bank loans be paid up, instead of extending them.  He said that part of what caused Garcia's bankruptcy is that French law stated that workers could not be laid off.  Workers were hired for life and only the worker could decide whether to leave a company.  When the recession hit, and people cut back on buying fishing equipment, Garcia could not scale down operations in France, and this factor contributed to the bankruptcy.

I will try to find more out about the Garcia sticker on the 540, but he seems to be a fairly private man.  I will let you know.

Best Regards,

Wayne 


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:11 pm • #  
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Hi Wayne,

Thanks for the information but we are not questioning the seller's integrity in any way. Can you find out where the pictures of the Garcia Mitchell 540 he took were published? I would love to find any ads, schematics or documentation that this reel was engraved or even just advertised Garcia. I appears his dates are for when they first came to Canada, not when they were first made. I think everyone will agree the 510 was first made (in France) circa 1968 and soon after came the 508, the 540 and the 524 in that order.

Best Regards, Wallace

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:40 pm • #  
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Hi Wallace:

I was not trying to boast his integrity, but rather to provide his background as he is not your average ebay seller with his connection to Garcia, and he had some neat information that I thought I would pass on.  Sorry about the date mistake.  Perhaps those are the years that he photographed the 510 and 508 for publication in the Garcia fishing annuals?  I will contact him to see if he recalls having seen a Garcia engraving on a 540, or where the pictures of the 540 may have been advertised.

Best Regards,

Wayne 


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:40 pm • #  
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Hi Wallace,

I can understand what you say about stickers and how misleading they can be, if we go back to the Mitchell Mates Conference Mike kindly let us handle some of those fantastic reels from his collection, the one thing above all that stood out for me was that wonderfull RED Garcia sticker on the 301 combo reel, hoping oneday with Mikes permission if required we can have a talk about this reel, it sure does interest me.

Regards Martin


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:54 pm • #  
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Hey Wayne,

I know mate, just making sure everyone else does. I had a little contact with him myself and found him to be very pleasant.

Hey Martin,

It's funny you should bring that GM 301 up, I was thinking about it myself. That sticker was definitely added but I checked and it did have Garcia engraved. It was also a DL on a custom DL rod. I was the owner of this combo and would be happy to share.

Kind Regards, Wallace

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:32 pm • #  
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Hi Wallace:

After further conversations, he said that after photographing the 540 that he did not see any advertising associated with his pictures of the 540.  The dates that he previously gave me for the 510 and 508 (1970, and 1972) are the years that the first pictures of these reels appeared in the Garcia fishing and tackle magazines, respectively.  He figures that they didn't publish the pictures of the 540 because of the fairly poor sales of the 510 and 508 combo's, and instead made a decision to not produce any 540's for the U.S. market. 

He also said that the Garcia sticker on the 540 was on the reel from the factory, but doesn't know if "Garcia" was engraved beneath it.  He said that the original stickers were paper thin to begin with, and that Mitchell coated them in varnish when on the reel.  This may be why they seem thicker than the reproductions as you have observed.  All of the reels and rods that he photographed came to him in shipping boxes straight from the factory.

He is good friends with the former packaging manager of Impecco, and will call him to find out if he knew whether any 540's had stickers, were engraved, or otherwise meant for sale in the U.S.

It may be that the only way to know for sure, is if the new owner of this reel removes the Garcia sticker and comes forth with the answer.  I will keep you posted on conversations with the packaging manager.

Best Regards,

Wayne


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:30 am • #  
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Hi Wayne ,

Thanks for the info , great ! All the items that were listed from this seller were super rare and definitely worth writing about .

best regards   Dries


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:02 am • #  
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Rock wrote:
He also said that the Garcia sticker on the 540 was on the reel from the factory, but doesn't know if "Garcia" was engraved beneath it.  He said that the original stickers were paper thin to begin with, and that Mitchell coated them in varnish when on the reel.  This may be why they seem thicker than the reproductions as you have observed.  All of the reels and rods that he photographed came to him in shipping boxes straight from the factory.

He is good friends with the former packaging manager of Impecco, and will call him to find out if he knew whether any 540's had stickers, were engraved, or otherwise meant for sale in the U.S.

It may be that the only way to know for sure, is if the new owner of this reel removes the Garcia sticker and comes forth with the answer.  I will keep you posted on conversations with the packaging manager.

Best Regards,

Wayne
Hi Wayne,

Both stickers original and fake are thin but I assure you the originals are not only thicker, they were made out of different materials.  The fakes can be stretched whereas the originals will break. Maybe our friendly seller in Canada has not seen these fakes?  If he did, he would agree.

"Garcia" reels were engraved for Garcia Tackle in Canada, Garcia Tackle in The UK and Garcia Corporation in The USA. Regardless of the wedge sticker, the "Garcia" engraving underneath would make it a Garcia Mitchell 540. It would be VERY interesting to study this reel!!!

Thanks for all the information you are providing Image

Best Regards, Wallace

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:42 pm • #  
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Hi Wallace:

Thanks for the information on the stickers.  Based on your detailed observations of the stickers, I think we can safely say that our Canadian friend is not that knowlegeable about them.  I talked with him the other night, and he said that his Impecco contact did not have any further useful information regarding whether Garcia's name was ever engraved on the 540.  I told him to pass on my phone number to the fellow that bought the reel, but have not received a call yet.  He probably won't know either, unless he peels back a corner of the sticker.  Unlikely, so the mystery will probably live on.  I will try a bit harder to contact the buyer, since you are interested in studying the reel.  Maybe he'll oblige.

Best Regards,

Wayne


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:21 am • #  
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Hi Wayne,

I talked to Doug DeSimone, son of Louis DeSimone, President of Impecco, and he said he never even saw a Mitchell 540. These are so rare they're valuable regardless of who the vendor was. Thanks for all your efforts.

Kind Regards, Wallace

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:06 am • #  
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Wow Wallace!!  That is just amazing!

Regards,

Wayne


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:32 pm • #  
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That was probably the 4th-5th 540 I have ever seen. My first one was at the ORCA National in Rochester,NY. I found out way late on Friday that ORCA existed. Myself and family too, drove my wifes 1985 Ford T-Bird from Albany to Rochester as quickly as I could, barring tickets. We arrived late but I joined ORCA on the spot. Met Dennis Roberts for the 1st time as well as Ben Wright and others. Some poeple were starting to pick-up so I had to walk quickly to see everything. Dennis's friend Larry C had a nice pair of reels on matching poles. They were a 508 combo and 540 combo. Was asking $500 for the pair. I had just dropped some money on other items so I was a little light. Should have talked him down, probably could have. He really wanted to sell the pair. I figured I could find them elsewhere at a cheaper price. Was I wrong!!!!!!!! Tried buying them about 2 months later but they were sold. One of the last times I ever let something go thinking I could do better. I saw 2 other 540's with boxes sold on EBAY. In the $200-$300 range. Was always outbid. Wish I had a picture of the box. Still hoping to close out the 3 SISTERS but it might take a miracle and a big wad of cash..............
Kim


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:43 am • #  
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hello Kim,

I've seen several Mitchell 540 reels but only one in the box complete with matching rod ...
The box has in my opinion the same value as the reel or maybe more .
Unfortunately most of the boxes were thrown away ....after the reel left the tackle shop.

The 540 is one of Mitchells most wanted now by collectors !!

regards  Dries



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:36 am • #  
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hello mates
i have a 540 buy in france last yaer
i have the garcia sticker on the reel and i do not think garcia is engraved under the sticker
the reel is brand new  never used  but i do not have the box
cheers
decorte johnny


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:35 am • #  
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Hi Johnny,

You are one lucky man owning such a reel, as an auto bail collector it is THE REEL for me to collect, however i dont think i will ever own one.
I have been promised a look at one when i meet Mike read again, something i look forward to very much  where ever it may be.

Regards Martin


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:12 pm • #  
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Hi Johnny,

Any chance of you removing the sticker? Image

Regards, Wallace

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:32 pm • #  
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hello walace  i can remove the sticker buth way ???????????
johnny


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:22 am • #  
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Hi Johnny,

I'm trying to find a Mitchell 540 with Garcia engraved under the sticker. I don't believe these were made but would love to be proved wrong. If you can tell there's no Garcia engraving without removing the sticker, then it is not necessary.

Regards, Wallace

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:11 pm • #  
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Hi Group,

This one is for all who want to watch what this one may make 280577491241 looks to be a good one.

Regards Martin


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:46 am • #  
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hi Martin,

Amazing reel ! one of the most wanted especially in this condition .The selling price in 1971 was about 110 mark.
let's see what is going to happen with this one

regards  Dries


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:15 am • #  
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Hi Dries,

IF only way back then we knew what we know today I would of bought 10 of them, hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it? The box looks superb.

Regards Martin


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:02 pm • #  
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I checked the ebay listing for this reel. Noticed the paperwork with the serial number on it. Was that normal for boxed reels sold in Europe??? Also the paperwork has BALZER and MITCHELL on it. Why wasn't BALZER etched on the sideplate??? I have a NIB 218 with the same Balzer/Mitchell paperwork but NO BALZER etched in the sideplate................Anyone know why?????
Kim


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:58 pm • #  
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Hi Kim,

From my records I keep about interesting facts there is this which I kept from the reel museum, In 1971 Mitchell was celebrating 20 million reels being sold. Balzer of Germany helped celebrate this event by advertising and selling the first “Dual” series. These were the 500, 508, 510 and 540 offered as a “set” with a matching Conolon rod. Neither the rod or reel had the Balzer name inscribed but instead, the Dual Wedge.
Hope this answers your question.

Regards Martin


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:11 am • #  
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Hi Martin,

If I may elaborate on your statement; the "Dual" series was available before this Balzer advertisement. They just used these reels in an ad campaign to both celebrate and promote these rod/reel combos:

Image

Hi Kim,

I see what you're talking about with the serial number dating this reel in the late 1960s, probably 1969. I know Balzer, Arca and Albatros sold generic Mitchell reels without their logos engraved. I also know Garcia never did this but again, the other major distributors sold many Garcia branded reels. Why they did this I do not know except for clearing out overstock especially after Garcia's bankruptcy in 1978.

Best Regards, Wallace

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