Clay pigeon shooting, horse riding and fishing are popular across Derbyshire and that wealth of rural tradition is something I’m keen to celebrate in the auction world.I grew up on a small Derbyshire farm, love the great outdoors and enjoy rural events like Ashbourne Show.
On February 19 we’re holding a Sporting Guns and Country Pursuits Auction - and you just might have an item sitting at home that would fit the bill.
One quirky object on my desk right now is a century-old horse’s hoof honouring trusty steed Bunchie, who lived from 1899 to 1924. The devoted owner had a single hoof crafted into a storage compartment, with the horse’s name and lifespan engraved on the lid.
All types of equestrian-related items and taxidermy fall into the country pursuits category. However, more familiar territory for many readers will be angling.
The keen fishermen – or women – among you will be aware of the name Hardy, a company famous for its high-quality fishing tackle.
The Hardy story began in 1873 when William Hardy and his brother John James launched a business as gunsmiths, whitesmiths and cutlers.
By 1874 an advert in the Alnwick Mercury listed rods, reels, salmon, lake and trout flies, baits, other angling goods rod building and repair services – a comprehensive range to fulfil the needs of the angler. This expansion proved profitable and enduring. The company’s headquarters remain in Alnwick.
At first the Hardy brothers brought in most of the tackle they sold but, to maintain quality, a decision was made to open a factory.
Hardy’s promotional techniques were impressive. They highlighted tournaments won and royal warrants awarded to the company. The names of the products were well chosen, too. In the 1890s you could fish with an Ideal rod, to which you attached a Perfect reel, while your feet were protected by Invincible brogues. Keen selling points indeed!
While Hardy is mostly associated with tackle for game fishing and, within that, fly-fishing in particular, tackle was made for other branches of the sport.
Hardy rods, reels and accessories for fly-fishing, spinning, coarse fishing and sea fishing have passed through our saleroom.
In our February sale is a Hardy ‘The Super Silex Multiplier’ reel. Made in the 1930s, it shows development in reel design with the addition of gearing to increase the speed of line retrieval. This innovation came decades before the invention of the Multiplier reel anglers are familiar with today.
The reel impresses thanks to the quality of engineering and finish. Such was the pride taken in reel manufacture, the men who made them stamped their initials inside. This reel was built by Robert Marshall Scott, who worked for Hardy from 1916 to 1967. It comes complete with its original box.
So, bring us your Hardy tackle. Any item, even the smallest accessory which is stamped Hardy, can have a surprising value. We offer regular free valuations of sporting guns, hunting and shooting collectables at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall. Entries are invited until February 1 for our next Country Pursuits Auction. To arrange a free valuation with our angling expert Derrick Hale, email [email protected].