Ambassadeur 5000 History
November 1952, ABU advertized in the Magazine Sportfiskaren, an
announcement that you could buy an ABUrfabriken Record 5000 for
Christmas in 1952 .
The Magazine pictures below are
from December 1952
This was the Swedish magazine as ABU used for
publishing news about its reels.
facts for Record
5000. I think it´s the most discussed reel in the family of Record
manufactured by A,B.Urfabriken.
1. Green, Red and black, were the first reels Göte Borgström
Here are some pictures on this
He produced a lot of them as
I think it was minimum 100 off
No 2. Now Göte
Borgström decided red was the colour for the Record 5000.
The difference between the no 1 and no 3 is
the brake plate is produced in aluminium for no 1.
And no 3 has a grey colour.
Thanks to Mikael Riseberg
My friend Espen Olav Sjaastad
Notes the following in regard to
the Black Record 5000
Some of these black
record 5000 reels were among the very first Ambassadeurs ever produced, so I'll
try to piece together some of the story. As many will know, the Record
Ambassadeur 5000 was designed by Åke Murvall, starting in the late 1940s. The
first units were produced in 1951 or 1952, marketing began in the Autumn of 1952
and the reel was first cataloged in 1953.
The story of the black version begins with a trip to Stockholm to test consumer
preferences with respect to color. Here's how Len Borgström tells it in his book
and Garcia: What Happened? (p. 59):
"Until this point, all reels had been either nickel- or chrome-plated. Since the
Ambassadeur was made of aluminum, it suddenly became possible to manufacture
reels in different colors. We presented a variety of colour models and decided
to let the sport fishermen choose which color they preferred. In those days,
ABU often participated in
a Stockholm exposition, which was very well attended by the general public. We
displayed four different colors at the exposition: red, black, gold and green.
The visitors were asked to vote on a color, which we would then use in
production. By a large majority, the voters selected the green; however, my
father preferred the red, so the first Ambassadeur reels produced were red."
This story has been told and retold in coffee shops, books, and on websites over
the years. Everybody agrees about the red, black, and green reels. Variation
mostly concerns the fourth (and sometimes fifth) color. Borgström, who should
know, says gold. Others say yellow, purple, or blue. The black reels come to
auction fairly regularly. The green reels are exceptionally rare. But I have
never seen even a photo of the "fourth color" reel, and no Swedish collector or
retired ABU employee I
have spoken to knows the present whereabouts of such a reel.
There is disagreement about the numbers produced of these test reels. Some say
20 of each color, others say 100, or something in between.
On his Swedish website...
...collector Mikael Risberg notes the relative "abundance" of black reels
compared to green reels; according to him, as many as five black reels were
traded in 2008 to 2009. Why the disparity?
Daniel Skupien, in Vintage Fishing Reels of
Sweden, offers one explanation (p. 70):
"Some of these are early prototypes used by
ABU in the early fifties
in a market study of color preferences. Others were manufactured as special
orders. It is rumored, for example, that a number of black units were ordered in
the mid-fifties by a car dealership in the USA. It was intented that they would
be thrown in as a bonus with the pruchase of an automobile. The sale did not go
so well, however, and the remaining stock was returned to
ABU in Sweden. Many years
later, these reels found their way to a tackle shop in Stockholm's Gamla Stan
(Old Town) where local collectors picked them up."
A further clue to the "proliferation" of black reels comes from Borgström (p.
"Only the conservative British continued to insist on black reels the first few
years. The thought of a red fishing reel by a fine Scottish salmon river was a
shock to them."
British erythrophobia might also explain why production of the black 5000
continued after "Record Ambassadeur" was changed to "ABU
Ambassadeur" (around 1957) and why
ABU also produced a black 6000.
What this means is that there are probably different versions of the black 5000
around. The earliest test reels should have a polished brakeplate and a gray
starwheel; later versions should have a gray brakeplate (ca 1953-1957) and a
black starwheel (ca 1954-1957). There might have been changes to the spool along
the way. There might even be black reels with the S.G. designation on the
tailplate (ca 1952-1953) or with a "neither Record nor
ABU" tailplate (ca 1957),
although I have never heard of any. And Risberg reports that the reels sold in
2008 and 2009 had roman numerals (color codes) scratched on the inside of
sideplates and frame; these were apparently absent on the first test reels.
The red reels were serialized from about 1956. Would any black reels produced
between 1956 and 1957 have been serialized? I don’t know.
It would, in any case, be interesting to see some pictures of your reel and its
details. I’m afraid I can’t be any more specific with regard to expected price.
Anything from the Greek economy to a sudden outbreak of bidding fever could make
a huge difference. If I were to sell a reel like this, I’d send it to one of the
established tackle auction houses. For very valuable reels, ebay bidding is
suppressed by the presence of fraudulent sellers, so paying the substantial
auction house fees is quite possibly a sound investment. Unfortunately, I have
zero experience in terms of selling reels of this calibre; others here might be
able to offer better advice.
Images of Black Record Ambassadeur 5000