Phillipson Premium 8652 DFS

Phillipson Premium “51” 8 1/2′ – 5 1/2oz – Dry Fly Special

Grade: Premium “51” Dry Fly Special
Length: 8 1/2′
Weight: 5.5oz
Sections: 3/2
Ferrule Size: NA
Grip: Elliptical
Reel Seat: Black Anodized Aluminum Locking Reel Seat
Tube: Original Bronze Phillipson Aluminum Tube (No Label)
Bag: Non-original Cloth
Condition: Good, All Original
Location: Lyons, CO
Status: Private Collection, Not For Sale

SKU: PR-8652-2 Categories: , , Tag:


The Premium represents the top of the Phillipson bamboo rod line. The catalogs describe it as: “Perfect action, perfect balance, extreme sensitivity and tremendous power for every ounce of weight.”

This 8 1/2′ – 5 1/2oz Phillipson Premium “51” DFS (Dry Fly Special) is in Good condition. The Dry Fly Special was Phillipson’s ideal taper for casting large dry flies on “breezy”, Western rivers. This DFS has blued ferrules with cane that has a deep reddish color that’s richer and darker than many other Premiums. This one has had the male mid ferrule reset at some point and is now approximately 3/4″ short. The black anodized aluminum reel seat has some slight wear on the base, but is in great condition overall. The Phillipson “patent pending” elliptical grip is in excellent shape. Wrapped with pure black silk thread tipped with gold and black. Comes with non-original cloth bag and original bronze Phillipson aluminum tube (no label).

The “51” rods were marked as a reminder to Mrs. Granger and Agnes Marshall who reportedly told him, “You won’t last five years on your own.” In Phillipson’s 5th year in business—1951—Bill had some rods of each model marked “51” as a subtle way of saying, “It’s been five years, and I’m still here.”  According to the employees this was an inside joke and that is why the “51” marked rods were never cataloged.”

The 1951 Catalog (pictured below) shows the Phillipson Premium 8 1/2′ – 5oz as one of eight models offered that year.  Also available in 7′ 7.5′, 8′, 8.5′, 9′, 9′-6oz and 9.5′ lengths.

1951 Phillipson Catalog
1951 Phillipson Catalog


The Premium represents the top grade in the Phillipson line. It was introduced as—and remained—the top grade from the very beginning of the Phillipson Rod & Tackle Co. in 1947 until the early 1950’s when the the bamboo embargo had a dramatic effect on the availability of Tonkin Cane.

As introduced in the 1947 -1948 Catalog, “This is the finest of all fishing rods.  Perfect action, perfect balance, extreme sensitivity and tremendous power for every ounce of weight.  It is a rod that will win the heart of the most particular angler who loves the very finest equipment.” Each Premium has the “exclusive Phillipson natural grip (patent pending)”—aka the Elliptical grip.  Much like the Granger Registered, the Premium was available only as a Fly Rod—no Bait Casting or Spinning rods were ever offered in this grade.

Beginning in 1947, the first Premium’s were outfitted with “brown plastic and metal locking reel seats”. Ferrules were 18% black plated nickel silver. Perfection chrome plated butt guide and tip tops. Tungsten steel snake guides. Wraps were “pure black thread tipped gold”. Packed in cloth and plastic rod case.

Changes in listed in the 1949 Catalog were minor, the ferrules were no longer listed as black plated, but polished 18% nickel silver. Rod cases for 2-piece rods were changed to aluminum, while 3-piece rods remained in plastic.

Premium rods according to the 1950 Catalog brought the most significant change from a brown plastic reel seat to “black anodized aluminum locking reel seat”—a change that saved a tremendous amount of weight. Ferrules were cataloged again as 18% black nickel silver. All Premium rods were now packed with aluminum cases.

As noted in the 1951 Catalog, the wraps on all Premiums were changed to “pure black silk tipped with gold and black”. This year also marks the 5th year in business where rods were inked with a “51” after the grade name.

The only significant change listed in the 1952 Catalog is the switch from tungsten steel line guides to stainless steel. This was the final last year that varnished bamboo rods were listed in the catalogs, however, Phillipson continued to supply its dealers into 1954 until inventories were exhausted.


Phillipson Rod and Tackle Co. ads in the early 1950’s followed a similar format the previous era, however there was one major change… The reel seats on the illustrated rods show the change from plastic to the “new all-metal ‘no-rock’ locking type reel seat”.  This is also evidenced in the 1950 Catalog where 3 grades (Premium, Paramount and Powr Pakt) are listed with new aluminum reel seats.

This phase also represents a significant transition in rod design for Phillipson. With the weight savings derived from the reel seat swap, Bill Phillipson was able to add more power to the rods for the same overall weight. The earlier rods with plastic reel seats possess thinner tapers, whereas rods with the aluminum reel seats have enhanced swells in the butt section for added power.

Early 1950’s ads list the Phillipson address as High Street, Denver, Colorado.

All ads shown here were scanned directly from their original publications.
April 1950 Sports Afield Ad
April 1950 Sports Afield Ad
June 1950 Outdoor Life Ad
June 1950 Outdoor Life Ad
May 1951 Outdoor Life Ad
May 1951 Outdoor Life Ad
June 1951 Field & Stream Ad
June 1951 Field & Stream Ad
1952 Sports Afield Fishing Annual Ad
1952 Sports Afield Fishing Annual Ad