This Item was Sold on 13 November
2012 for $171
Other collectable boomerangs for sale can be found on the Collectable Boomerangs link.
Historical Pricing information for this item and similar collectable boomerangs can be found on the Boomerang Pricing Guide
This distance hook was constructed out of hardwood strips in the mid 1970s. This hook is not numbered, but it is signed. The surfaces are covered with orange/blue paint. There is a single half weight in the elbow and two half weights in each blade tip for a total of 5 half weights. Al signed this boomerang on the underside of the lift arm over the orange paint. Al only signed a boomerang if he approved of the flight. There is wear on the tips from throwing, but no cracks or dings or other apparent damage. This hook was made before Al started numbering his hooks. Ben Ruhe complained about the plain wood, so Al painted his early hooks with his high school colors. This is a rare and very collectable boomerang in very good condition. The weighting scheme is very unusual for a Gerhards hook.
Al Gerhards is one of America's most famous pioneers in the development of long distance boomerangs. Al was an active thrower, manufacturer and competitor in the 1970s and early 1980s. His most popular model is the Standard Weighted Hook which was made out of strip laminated hardwoods. The standard hook was occasionally made without weights, but the majority of these hook boomerangs had a single lead weight on each tip with a unique serial number stamped in the weight near the lift arm tip. The earliest examples (1970s) had an additional half weight inserted into the underside of the elbow. This was discontinued on hooks made in the early 1980s because the elbow weight was often the source for the initiation of strip delaminations. Al also made strip laminated large hooks, small hooks, omegas, traditionals and the awesome Big "U"s. The large hooks were sometimes called "White Lightning" hooks and Al used one of these to set a World Record in the long distance event with a documented throw of more than 125 yards in the late 1970s. Only 500 standard weighted hooks with numbers were made. The last one has a silver star inlayed in the dingle arm tip and this one is displayed in Al's living room in a specially made holder that also displays his world record "White Lightning" hook.
I visited with Al Gerhards in early 2006 and asked him about the integrity of his boomerangs after 25-30 years. Al assured me that he used strong epoxy glues and that he still throws boomerangs that he made 30+ years ago without any problems. Al recommends that the owners of his boomerangs rub the surface with Tung oil or Gun oil prior to throwing if it has been in storage. The boomerang should be oiled at least once every 3 months if it is thrown regularly. However, I discourage the throwing of old collectable boomerangs unless it is thrown under very carefully controlled conditions. I would prefer that the owner make a copy of this boomerang for his own use and save the original as a fine collectable.