A few months back I bought two rods that range from one end of the spectrum to the other. One appears to have been abused and the other appears to have been well cared for. Both are from the early 1950's. Does this mean one was "loved" and one wasn't? Absolutely not. Maybe it just means that someone didn't care as much about the way one looked as opposed to the other one that might have been handled with kid gloves. There's not a way to determine whether someone really enjoyed a rod based solely on the condition of it.
First up....the beater. This is a 1951 Model 1270 two piece 7'9" 6 weight rod. It is a yellowish colored blank with green wraps. The decal has long since been rubbed off, the wraps look horrible and the cork is well used. It still goes together well and has a pop when pulled apart. The fish this rod must have caught and the stories it could tell. For $17.50 I couldn't pass it up.
Next we have a 1955 model 1250 two piece 8'6" rod. It is a brown colored blank with green and yellow wraps and an all green real seat. The decal has apparently been sliced through but overall it is in very fine condition. It came with the original cardboard rod tube and plastic sleeve. While fished, it was apparently very well cared for.
Both of these rods can be fished and, to me, both are collectible. The first one might not be a wall hanger by any stretch of the imagination but that doesn't make it any less desirable. Both are fine examples of what I am willing to spend my money on... much to the dismay of Melissa. They also give you an idea of what is out there in the vintage glass market. Even if you can only afford the first one, that is OK. I would still highly encourage you to do it. Glass is not dead!