Walker’s signature.

Just sign here Walker …

In 1952, Jim Bruce Snr sent a rod to Richard Walker for his appraisal. RW replied with a full report, mostly practical suggestions, but he was very blunt about Jim Bruce’s Indian ink inscription. RW said it wouldn’t do at all. He suggested that Bruce Snr should have transfers of his signature produced to be applied to the rods. In the meantime, he’d sign them himself and customers would buy their rods with the reassuring knowledge that he’d inspected them and written on them. Nobody seems to know how many rods Walker signed. Blanks came from master hand-builder Bob Southwell. It was 1952, two years before rationing ended. Jim Bruce probably didn’t want to drive back and forth between Ealing to Hitchin any more than he had to.

Twenty Walker-signed rods? Two dozen? Certainly not many, and perhaps a dozen have surfaced in the last thirty years or so. They’re known to the cognoscenti as Signature MK IVs. Very rare. Very nice. Walker had superb handwriting. We know of one that has woodworm in its tip section. Woodworm is rare in bamboo. Unlucky, that.

This is a superb (and worm-free) example of the collector’s Holy Grail- a dark green whipped B. James & Son MK IV signed by Richard Walker in 1952.

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Here’s the all important signature again. For Walker fans -and who isn’t- this is equivalent to having your own piece of the Rosetta Stone, a page of the Magna Carta or a mint 1st edition of Dame Barbara Cartland’s 1932 masterpiece A Virgin In Mayfair.

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As well as a constantly changing inventory of pre-owned rods (we mustn’t call anything second hand anymore, we’re very sensitive and caring) landing nets and reels, we continue to build your split bamboo rods to order, custom-build carbon and fibreglass rods and enjoy watching Lord Alfred give chase. This week, he’s run a cat up a tree, worried a Muntjac and given a nasty fright to a hen pheasant and her six poults.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. It’s a jungle out there.