Re: Orvis Far and Fine 7' 9" 5wt
Time to tell what I think I know............
The rods produced between 1974 / 75 & 1983 / 84, were the original Orvis Low Modulus Graphite shafts. To the best of my knowledge they all came with raw aluminum down lock hardware & cork inserts. The 'LMG' rods were designed to replicate the actions of the popular Orvis bamboo and some of the fiberglass rods they had made their name on for many years.
What the graphite rods did was to combine the light weight and higher line speeds with the medium action that was and is a great joy to cast with. Off the top of my head I can think of a few early graphite rods that took on the names of some of the Orvis companies most popular cane rods ie the Limestone Special, The Far & Fine, and The All Rounder. Some of the earliest specimens I've seen had no name at all but were either 7.5 - 8' in length and simply called Orvis Graphite Rods.
When all the original recipe blanks and materials were used up they introduced a 'second generation graphite', this being very similar but in my opinion just a tad faster than the original blanks. With this second generation circa 1985 - 1987 came the introduction of anodized (black) hardware in up locking configuration and usually coco bolo wood inserts instead of cork. The grips also changed a bit from the super fine cigar style of the first Far & Fines to the semi western style with the superfine front taper.
The vintage 1774 - 1984 rods are very desirable and the prices paid regularly attest to this fact. At auction, typically a mint 1980 Far & Fine will sell between 250 and 385 dollars. There are some flukes where no one is bidding seriously and in such cases the rods sell rather cheap considering their quality. On average 250 - 325 dollars is a fair selling point. As many of you know I have been fishing with one since 1979 and use it a great deal. I believe it to be the very best fly rod I own.