Thursday, August 22, 2013

EARLY SHAKESPEARE BOWS: 1959-60 MODEL 100 - MODEL 600



Shakespeare Wonderbows 
1959-60 Models 100-600
1959 Magazine Ad for a Model 200
I was given a homework assignment by one of the foremost experts of vintage bows, Rick Rappe, Author of Vintage Bows I &II:


My assignment was to write about the early Shakespeare bows and I will try. Teacher, please be kind.

Shakespeare has been producing fishing equipment since the late 1800's. In 1959 Shakespeare acquired Parabow Archery Inc. and began the Shakespeare line of archery equipment. They first produced solid fiberglass longbow and recurves. The style of these bow were simple and they were often the first bow of a youngster. In 1959, along with the Parabow line, Shakespeare introduced the 100 through 400 series of recurves. These were beautifully crafted laminated wood and fiberglass. They had leather wrapped grips, and if right handed, had the name of RH-100, 200, 300, etc. If left handed, they of course were LH-100 and so on. The Model 100 and 200 were the top for the line, the Model 300-400 mid-price range. In 1960 Shakespeare added  Model 500-600 as lower priced ambidextrous bows.  In 1961, the leather grip was dropped, so was the RH 100..LH100.. designations which were replaced with the X Models and the bows took on a more sleek design, showing the Ernie Root influence.

The RH and LH 100-600 bows were the first composite wood and fiberglass bows made by Shakespeare archery. These bows have been described as hybrid bows. Of course that is a recent term. They are semi-recurve; fully working recurves but has traits of recurve as well as long bows. The riser is not more vertical than modern recurves, showing less reflex.
My 1959-60 Model LH 100 66inch AMO
Lewis Kent's perfect 1959-60 Model 200 with original feather rest and strike plate
a fine example of a 1959-60 Model RH-300
 
another excellent of a Model RH 300

Jon Patterson's 1959-60 RH-400


Lewis Kent's beautiful 1959-60 Model RH-400

My 1960 Model 500


My 1960 Model 600

1960 Shakespeare archery catalog
1959-60 Model 100 66inch AMO

1959-60 Model 200 60 inch AMO

1959-60 Model 300 62 inch AMO

1959-60 Model 400 64 inch AMO

1960 Model 500 60 inch AMO

1960 Model 600 56 inch AMO

·         Weights 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, and 65

·         Contoured handle with spiral leather grip (except for Model 100- no leather wrap)

·         Handle of laminated maple, walnut and beefwood (red Australian hardwood)

·         Glass face is buff, maroon, red, brown, white depending on model

·         Full working recurve

·         Brace height  7 ½

·         Sight window 7 inch

·         Laminated  limb tips

·         Model 100-400 (1959 & 60) were available in RH or LH models

·         Model 500-600 (1960) were ambidextrous models


These were considered a poor man's bow but were competition for the Bear Kodiak and Grizzly.  The physical appearance is very similar and both were excellent shooters. However Bear bows have always held higher value and the Shakespeare are more desirable now than they have ever been. Based on previous auctions the price range of the Shakespeare Wonderbow Models 100-600 vary from $40 for heavily used to over $200 for a perfectly mint bow. 



My LH 100 with new plate and feather rest, Lewis Kent's RH 200 with original rest and plate

 Lewis Kent's RH 200 is nearly perfect. It shows some minor use but  the original arrow rest and strike plate is in outstanding condition.  He used his as a model to make a new strike plate for my bow. The new arrow rests available online are much smaller than the original rests. I hope to find a larger feather arrow rest.
The bows that I own are a 1959-60 Shakespeare Wonderbow LH100 50#, a 1960 Wonderbow Model 500 30#, and a 1960 Wonderbow Model 600 45#. My Model 100 was a disaster but I didn’t pay very much. The bow had two holes drilled through the riser and there were four holes on the back of the bow as well as three small ones on the sight window. Above the arrow rest there was a small area that had routed out to insert a bristle rest. The finished was crackled and the riser looked as if it was carelessly clamped in a vise. However the limbs were straight and in excellent condition but the Shakespeare logo was a ghost. There was also an insert for bow fishing or stabilizer added which is not original. I spend a lot of time giving the bow new life and I actually don’t mind the battle scars, it gives the bow character.The bow is extremely smooth to draw. I like the deeply carved string grooves which make it easier to string. When I shot the bow, I was shocked but its performance. OK -no lie; my first shot was at a half dollar sized target from thirty five yards, drilled it dead center!!! The remainder of the afternoon was not always as perfect, but it was always my fault and not the bows. The bow is deceivingly powerful. The draw is so smooth that it felt like I was pulling a lighter bow and my aim was high because I perceived that the cast would be weaker. Towards the end of the day my arrows were right on target. I also tested this bow on a chronograph and its speed was 182.25 FPS, faster than many newer bows. I would love to test this bow against the Bear Kodiak of the same era. This is a great shooting bow, light handling, smooth to draw, and an excellent addition to my collection. I also own a Model 600 which I shoot left handed. It has red glass on the back and white glass on the belly. This bow isn't actually a recurve it looks more like a longbow because the limbs don't actually push forward. My Model 600 is a 45 lbs bow and shoots very well. The arrow speed for this bow is slightly over 170 FPS. My #30 Model 500 is very similar to the #45 Model 600 except it is longer and it has maroon and white glass. Both of these bows are more reminiscent of a modern reflexed longbow than a recurve.








28 comments:

  1. I saw that Shakespeare RH?00, he has it in his item specs as a RH200, does he not know what he is selling???

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  2. I think he knows exactly what he is selling, it IS a Shakespeare Wonderbow RH-300

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  3. Glad you got the bugs worked out, S/A. The section looks as good as it ever did. Saw a 50# RH400 on Ebay the other day, but don't know what it finally went for, I think it was at about $70 when I lost track of it. Thanks for keeping the Shakespeare story alive and well.
    Jon Patterson

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  4. The guy with the Model ?00 is really ssomething. He knows that he is selling a Model 300 so why is he listing it as a Model ?00 and then in the item specs, have it as a Model 200?? Is he intentionally misleading buyers knowing that a Model 200 is worth more? He has had it listed for months and I am sure that SOMEONE has let him know that he has the model and an inflated price. No one is going to buy it at the prices he is asking, especially since is is missing the decals and with the information your blog has painfully researched. Is he stubborn or just plain stupid?? thanks for all the hard work!!!!

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  5. The seller of the "RARE 1959/60 Shakespeare RH-?00 Recurve Bow 65#" can try to sell his bow at any price he wants. I think he might have paid a lot for what he thought was a '57 Kodiak Special and he is trying to recoup that mistake.

    I have a bridge in Brooklyn I need to sell.

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  6. I have been a watching nice 1959-60 Model RH 300 on eBay. This blog accurately estimated the value of these bows. It sold for just over $137.00
    The seller of the RH-?00 (or RH 200 as he calls it) can sell his bow for any price he wants.
    You can buy his bow if you don't mind over paying by over $350. lol

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  7. to much, he has dropped his price by $100, now it is only overpriced by just over $250 and he still has it mislabeled. I want to ask him why he has it priced so high but I am afraid of getting my head chewed off or blocked on eBay

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  8. I am getting sick of the R U Strong mis-labeled RH 300.

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    Replies
    1. this bow has been on eBay for nearly a year!!!
      I think if he had not been so stubborn that he could have had it listed correctly AND reasonably priced is bow would , have been sold months ago!!
      I guess he learned that there are no "idiots" or "fools" on this blog

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    2. I hope he sells it, a year is a long time. The price is close to where it should be, it is a nice bow.

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  9. I looked for the book you mentioned, "Vintage Bows vol.I" by Rick Rappe, on Amazon.. They had one new copy at $24.95, and 6 used copies ranging in price from $83. to $85.. Guess what one I bought? Joe H

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  10. I was on eBay and saw this:
    RARE 1959 Shakespeare RH-200 Recurve Bow 65# Draw RU Strong? Collectible...
    It doesn't look like a Model 200 at all. It has been on eBay for a very long time. It seems pretty obvious that he has it described wrong, so why the high price on a mis-labeled bow? Has anyone let him know it is listed wrong?

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    Replies
    1. I just noticed that he has finally has it listed correctly, thanks to our persistent blog members.

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  11. thank you for your comment
    Yes this bow is listed wrong. I tried to let him know his price was way to high and that it was the wrong model but he got pretty nasty. Other people have has similar problems with him. You can try to contact him, maybe he has learned that people don't like rude emails.
    good luck

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  12. I recently bought Rick Rappe's "Vintage Bows I". In the Shakespeare section, he calls the X-25 "Necedah" rather than the correct "Trident". In fact, this is the only specific Shakespeare model mentioned. Since copies of these books are expensive, I hesitate in ordering "Vintage Bows II". Could you give me an idea of what Vol.II contains? Thanks, Joe H

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    Replies
    1. Hi Joe
      I never noticed that before. I think it was a typo, I read it over and saw it as a x26 but noticed it when you pointed it out.
      I think there is a lot a valuable information that gets covered in both books, vintage bows II goes into string selection, arrows, styles of shooting, ethics, refinishing, and he adds more on the major bow manufacturers. I think it is well worth it.

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  13. Thank you for the reply. I did order a copy of Vol.II. Another question...I 've noticed eBay ads saying that stress lines in older bows are "common" or "normal". My Trident does not have any, but it has a few dings that show it was used fairly often. Just how common ARE stress lines? Thanks, Joe H

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    Replies
    1. Hi Joe
      Some bows have Stress lines due to constant stress caused by longer draw lengths. 28" is the standard draw so a 31" draw might contribute. They are common in shorter bows and are sometimes found in longer bows. They are usually are not a problem.

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  14. The RH 300 has finally sold, for close to the price I had suggested over 15 months ago. The seller was a little bit stubborn, if he had been more willing to take advise it might have been sold a long time ago!

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  15. I have the bow on its way. I paid a fair price and yes I am strong lol. Cameron

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    Replies
    1. But do you have lumberjack strength??
      He once had the price as high as $695 for that bow, Glad it found a good home for a sane price!!!

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    2. 65# will be stout for sure. It should be a good match for a new bear 59er 60# that came in last week. New vs old, d97 vs Dacron. I've got to get some stiffer arrows.

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  16. The 59-60 wonder bow was designed by who? As mention above Ernie Root was involved with the x models. The spiral grip is similar to my early 50's game master. In a seven day period I have 3 Shakespeare/ Root bows on the way for months nothing then bang. Making a total of 4 on less than 3 weeks. Cameron

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  17. Ernie Root most likely designed them. There have been suggestions the Bear made them but when you look at the profiles and the laminations that are clearly Root influenced

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    Replies
    1. Music to my ears. Going to have a battle of 59er's bear vs wonder bow should be fun.

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    2. That would be a fun contest. Send photos!!

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