B. James & Son Richard Walker MK IV Avon c1952.
Exceptional condition & rarity. One owner from new.
Where 10’ is long enough (surprisingly often) and the fishing demands reel lines of 3 – 6 lbs, this is a really delectable wand of a rod. It’ll handle any float tackle and make touch ledgering a joy. Smaller rivers, weedy canals and overgrown pools are its home waters.
If you like to own and fish with a small selection of really fine vintage rods, you will want a MK IV or two, an Avocet, an Avon Perfection, an early Oliver’s Kennet Perfection, a 1940s Allcocks Wizard and this MK IV Avon.
How, you may impertinently ask, do I know that this is one of the vanishingly rare 1952 examples? I’ll keep it brief. B. James made a handful of MK IVs and asked for Walker’s approval, which he gave, but he didn’t like Jim Bruce’s Indian ink inscription. He offered to sign a dozen or two until the transfers of his signature were delivered. This rod is one of the first to receive a transfer.
Again, how do I know this? Well, all very early B. James rods had quite widely spaced broad-ish intermediate whippings, tied with size A silk. You can see these en masse in the picture of a load of Avocets being taken to a show in Kevin Clifford’s book on the history of carp fishing. They were whipped in-house. When the Walker rods were in full swing, sales rocketed and at that point, Jim Bruce’s maggot supplier Frank Murgett suggested (without consulting her) that his wife could do the whippings as an out worker. The reluctant Mrs Murgett had a gift for this and her style was different. She close-whipped the rods with much finer silk. Her work is synonymous with the highly collectible rods of what are known as the ‘Trumpet handle’ era.
This rod, like the ‘Daily Mirror Prize Rod’ Avocet we sold a while ago, predates the close-whipped Trumpet handle versions. Its lovely dark red whippings are quite well spaced in the early style. Also, it has very rare & fine agate lined nickel silver butt & tip rings.
Specification: 10’ 2-piece made from superbly energised and resilient hand-made split cane, the work of the great Bob Southwell of Croydon. The knots are staggered in the 3 x 3 configuration and there are no odd strips of bamboo introduced from non-matching Tonkin poles.
The slim 24” cork handle is in very good condition, with its trumpet shaped top and all fittings made by WR Products of Shepherds Bush (makers of the Speedia reel). The original 1¼” diameter red rubber button is in place.
The firm-fitting ferrule is the reinforced splint end suction pattern of the sort only found on these very early MK IVs. It has a lacquered bronzed finish and the original mahogany and cork stopper is in place.
Rings are the original and clean chrome plated full-open bridge type, with matching genuine agate-lined nickel silver butt & tip rings.
Whippings are dark red silk throughout. The original hook keeper ring is in place immediately above the handle and the transfers are perfect.
The rod is completely straight and original. We cleaned it very gently with a soft cloth and turpentine and then preserved its original and intact finish with a flawless coat of natural resin-based varnish.
The rod comes in its original bag.