Searching for Mitchell
"Gold" can be as elusive and captivating as the real thing! Collectors
and Mitchell DL specialist would agree locating these "gems" wears down
even the most ardent collectors. For 25 years, Mitchell produced in limited
quantities a special series of gold enhanced reels that were sold as either
Deluxe models (DL) or Gold Presentation (G) series. These fine examples
of aesthetically enhanced gold plated reels are the top prize for many collectors
who may spend years trying to secure a few pieces for their collection.
Of the many different
models and versions listed, each has their own unique history and development
that separates them from the others. The combination of limited production
and their original higher price are the contributing factors as to why so
few are in circulation. Mitchell, at times, used these Presentation reels
to mark an occasion or to give as gifts to select individuals. A number
of different versions exist with special inscription, ornate scrollwork,
and unique embellishments commemorating those special situations. These special
versions, including Mitchell’s regular DL & G series, combine to make
collecting these very beautiful pieces an art form. There are collectors
that just specialise in this one type of model and nothing else.
There has always been
speculation that Mitchell made other DL reels but for whatever reason,
their existence was never validated. One of those mystery reels was a 308
DL manufactured for the UK market. There is also research into the possibility
that Mitchell made a 440 DL given to select individuals on a very limited
basis. We also heard of the existence of a Model 900 Presentation. Based
on what we know about Mitchell, we are sure they produced other special issue
reels over the last 60 years that we have yet to discover.
The "G" series was an
interesting addition to the Presentation models. This was the first time
Mitchell provided custom-designed reels for a specific vendor. Bass Pro™,
a US sporting goods Retail Company, had two different models customised
into a proprietary design specifically for sale by Bass Pro. These two models
were based on the very popular DL presentation series originally offered
by Garcia. The debate as to the rarest version of the DL regular series
brings much discussion. Consensus is the 408DL takes top honours and the
408G a close second. The 301DL was the only right-hand wind Presentation
reel produced by Mitchell for Garcia in the US. It was speculated that a
498DL model existed. This was never substantiated and I doubt very much that
Mitchell ever completed such a reel. We also know of special issue DL made
for the Vatican as a gift inscribed in Latin, as well as a pair of DLs given
to US astronauts for the lunar landing in 1971. The list goes on.
Most collectors do not
realise that the DLs originally produced by Mitchell are also part of
a larger DL family. We will not go into the particulars but the following
DLs are considered family. Abu 1500CDL, 2500CDL, 3500CDL, 4600CDL, 5000CDL,
6000CDL, 7000CDL, 8000CDL, 10,000CDL, and Abu Cardinal 33CDL. Garcia introduced
these ABU models in the 1960’s.
Garcia Mitchell 300 DL (1961-1974)
released in 1961, Mitchell presented their first Presentation, gold trimmed,
DL (Deluxe) spinning reel. Initially, the catalogues listed the reel with
a 15cm x 30cm oak presentation box but it appears this was just an artist
rendition. The actual box size was 15cm x 15cm when released in the summer
of 1962. This first version was fitted with the original chevron type anti-reverse
system and "4-Star" gold painted drag nut. Gold plating was added to most
of the external components and trim, including an attached nameplate. This
first version was only offered in the US & Canada. Approximately 4000
reels were manufactured during this period.
Garcia Mitchell 300 DL (1975-1976)
Mitchell’s second version
of the 300DL incorporated their new lever style anti-reverse mechanism
and "3 star" gold painted drag-nut, which was now being utilised on all
Mitchell reels. Marketing for this reel was limited to the US, Canada, &
the UK. What is interesting about this particular version was the short
amount of time it was offered - 2 years - with an estimated production of
less than 500 units. It was towards the end of 1976 when production was
discontinued on all DL models. For a number of years, speculation was that
a special issue 300DL was released by Garcia Mitchell to commemorate the
US Bicentennial. Unfortunately, the existence of this special engraved
issue is unconfirmed.
300 DL (1962-1974)
Mitchell, in 1962, produced
a generic version of the 300DL. This reel was available only in Europe
and was inscribed "Mitchell 300DL" without the addition of a vendor’s name.
Not too many were manufactured by Mitchell (approximately 4000) which adds
to the overall collectors’ value. Packaging was in the standard 15cm x
15cm oak presentation box. Theory has it that Mitchell might have made
a second version of this model having the lever style anti reverse &
3-star drag knob. Currently, there is no documentation to support the theory
of a second generic version.
300 Balzer DL (1964-1974)
Balzer, a German vendor of Mitchell
products, primarily issued the Balzer 300DL in Germany in limited quantities.
What distinguishes this version from other 300 DLs is the inscribed Balzer
logo on the body of the reel above the handle. Essentially, the reel was
a generic 300DL with the addition of the Balzer identification logo affixed
to the cover plate. Reel is fitted with the old style anti reverse lever
and "4-star" drag knob. It appears at this time that only Garcia &
Balzer applied their logo to the DL series. There may also be a second version
of this model with the new style anti reverse lever. Very few made during
Mitchell 301DL (1966 – 1976)
The only vendor that Mitchell made
a "South Paw" (right-hand wind) version of the DL model was for Garcia.
The 301DL was produced in very limited quantities and was marketed in the
US & Canada. A few 301DLs were distributed in the UK through Garcia
Ltd. Of the many DL / Presentation models offered by Mitchell, the 301DL
was the only right hand wind presentation model ever produced. Listed in
the 1977 catalogues but not available after 1976. Less the 500 produced.
Mitchell 300 DL Commemorative Issue (1974)
The story behind this reel is very
interesting. Mitchell produced approximately 25 of these specially engraved
300DLs to commemorate June 17, 1974, which was the day Garcia became principal
ownerof Mitchell of France. These 25 reels are a single day’s production
& inscribed "Garcia Mitchell 300 DL - June 17, 1974". Another interesting
fact about this model is that not all of the 25 reels have the gold nameplate
on top of the reel housing. Why Mitchell did this is not sure, but it appears
in the rush to provide these 25 reels on that day, the nameplate on a few
pieces were not attached. This is the first time we see a 300DL with the
new lever style anti reverse system, 3-star design drag nut & roller
line guide. It was also the last time a roller guide was used on a 300DL.
400 G Limited Edition Series (1987)
400G represents the first issue of a presentation / gold reel made for
a vendor since the original DL series was discontinued years before. Mitchell
manufactured 1000 of these reels exclusively for Bass Pro™, an American
sporting goods company, from the mid-west. Bass Pro, wanting a very different
look, opted to print the letter "G" (Gold), next to the model number for
their new Limited Edition Presentation Gold series. Similar in detail to the
earlier DL models yet the 400G is a very different reel. Mitchell Sports
manufactured this reel utilising a standard black body 400-model aesthetically
enhanced with gold-plated trim. Each reel is unique having a sequential serial
number printed on the face of the body. Sold exclusively by Bass Pro in
Mitchell 410 DL (1971-1974)
With the great success of the 300 DL, Mitchell decided
to introduce a fast retrieve version to compliment their initial offering.
Mitchell’s new entry into their DL series was the introduction of the 410DL
in 1971. Mitchell, achieving great success with this reel, sold out all
inventories made during those years. What is interesting is the fact that
less than 1600 units were manufactured. The 410 DL was the first model in
the presentation series that is painted mid-night blue. This version was
sold in the US, Canada, & the UK.
Mitchell 410 DL (1975-1976)
Mid-way through production,
Mitchell had modified the 410DL with a roller line guide in lieu of a tungsten
guide found on early versions. Why Mitchell decided on this one change
mid-stream is not certain. The 410 DL & 300 DL were the only two models
that were manufactured in a generic form, no vendor name. Production numbers
for this and the first version are combined for the total as indicated above.
It appears the roller guide version is the rarer of the two with approximately
300 reels sold.
Mitchell 410 DL (1974-1976)
The 410DL was the only
Presentation reel other than the 300DL that was made in the generic form
without a vendor’s inscription. Marketed exclusively in Europe with distribution
handled by Arca of Belgium, Albatros of the Netherlands, & Balzer of
Germany. Mitchell opted for a sticker printed with the word "Special"
used in place of a vendor’s logo, or in some cases placed over the vendors
inscribed name. Other parts of Europe also sold this model but we are not
sure if the reels were acquired from Mitchell or from one of the three vendors
listed above. The UK versions had either "Garcia" or "Special" indicated
on the reel. Less than 500 sold of this version.
Mitchell 410 DL Global (1971)
Probably the rarest of the rare in terms
of a presentation series. Only two were made! Presented in 1971 to Mr Robert
Mimeur, General Manager of Mitchell France and to Mr. Louis DeSimmone, owner of Impecco
Ltd of NY. Impecco was the importing arm for Garcia Mitchell in the US.
This 410DL Global was made special by Mitchell to commemorate the 20 millionth
reel sold during 1971 & Mitchell’s jubilee. What makes this reel so unique
is that all the countries where Mitchell sold their product are inscribed
on the reel’s rotor. Included with this inscription on the body is the additional
inscription of 20,000,000 reels. Mitchell was recognised for producing
special issue reels for different occasions. Reel is fitted with a special
oak presentation box.
Mitchell 408 DL (1971-1976)
wanting to expand their DL presentation series, decided to introduce an
ultra light version. In 1971, they offered on a very limited basis the 408DL
in the US & Europe. Demand for this reel was "off the charts" even with
a selling price of $125.00 US! Dealers were given very few based on a quota
system which made demand for these reels go even higher. That 125.00 US
dollar retail price of yesteryear is equivalent to 500 US dollars or 350
British pounds in today’s economy. Less than 650 manufactured in the few
short years of production. Always considered the golden child of the Mitchell
DL family, the 408DL may be the rarest of all regular issue DLs.
Mitchell manufactured only two versions
of the "G" series. Of the two, the 408G represents the rarest of the pair.
Both marketed at the same time with approximately 1000 reels manufactured
by Mitchell for Bass Pro™ Sporting Goods in 1987. Not being able to use
the DL inscription, Bass Pro opted to imprint the letter "G" next to the
model number to indicate Gold series! The reel is similar in gold trim as
compared to the earlier 408DL model. Manufactured by the Mitchell Sports
regime utilising a standard black body 408 that was aesthetically enhanced
with gold plating & trim. Each reel was unique having a sequential serial
number on the face of the body next to the model number. The "G" series
was only offered for one year making it almost as rare as the 408DL!
300 Silver Presentation (1971)
particular model produced by Mitchell was very special. It was not available
to the public, only for private distribution. Approximately 20 silver-plated
model 300’s, serial numbered and mounted into a special frame, were produced
to commemorate Mitchell’s Jubilee & 20 million reels sold by Mitchell
of France. The year was 1971 when Mitchell developed these special presentation
reels for select corporate officials & others to celebrate the occasion.
The entire reel is silver-plated and polished. The combination of low volume,
precious metal coating, and the extreme scarcity of these reels place
them in select company with collectors.
300 Gold Presentation (1971)
One has to look no farther than the great
success of Mitchell of France to underscore the reasoning behind the making
of this special presentation reel. To celebrate Mitchell’s Jubilee Anniversary
& 20 million reels sold, approximately five of these unbelievable reels
were completed. Presented to the top executives of Mitchell & Garcia,
these 24K gold-plated 300 models with special encasements were gifted to
these individuals. Each recipient’s name was etched on a nameplate mounted
on the frame. The combination of low volume, precious metal coatings, and
the extreme scarcity brings the value of these reels into a league all their
own. Photo shown is not the actual reel but is almost identical except
Mitchell 300DL (1964) (Special Gold Presentation)
In 1964, Mitchell designed a one-of-a-kind
special presentation reel decoratively scrolled with gold plating inlay.
This was given to the editor of the "Fishermen’s Digest" and appeared on
the cover of the 1964 edition of the magazine. Mitchell at times produced
customised works of art for various occasions for select individuals. This
reel was embellished with a raised motif of fish on the rotor and raised
scrollwork on the body and rotor. Gold trim was used following the DL format
and the recipient’s name engraved on the attached nameplate. A customised
rod was made special for this one-of-a kind reel, an extraordinary piece!
330 Quartz Gold Presentation (1997)
addition into the presentation series, Mitchell in 1997 released for the
first & probably the last time, a gold series reel. One of the unique
features of this reel is the two-tone black & steel grey patterned
paint finish. Mitchell manufactured a limited edition 330 gold series (a
non-auto bail) model. Having modest gold plating, the 330 Gold represents
a tradition by Mitchell since 1961. This is the first gold presentation Mitchell
offered since 1987 and will probably be the last in a long line of tradition
by Mitchell. It is doubtful Mitchell will produce presentation versions
in the future; all egg-shape models are no longer manufactured as of 2000.
This model came with an eye catching plastic presentation case with additional
spools. All sets are sequentially serial numbered. Approximately 2500 were
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