Antique Lures



55 + ideas you can use now!

By Gabby Talkington

Most long-term collectors have tried everything you can imagine to find lures. During the past couple of years, I've had a running dialog with almost everyone I know about what they do to dig up lures. Following is a list of some of the best ideas I've heard for surfacing closet collections.  My feeling is that the more closet collector material in circulation, the more will be available for the serious collectors. Let's face it, most of the known good stuff is already in the hands of the collectors. Let's work on getting the undiscovered material out. fh12.jpg (118276 bytes)
  1. If you don't enjoy making finds in the field, go to eBay and just bid directly on anything you want for your collection.  On the other hand, if you like the thrill of the on.

  2. Enter a portion of your collection in your local County Fair.  Forget the blue ribbon (although you'll probably win with the only "old tackle" entry).  Spend the whole day at the fair with cards with your name and phone # on them in hand.  Say nothing to those who are just walking by and looking, but when people comment to one another on your collection step forward, introduce yourself, and hand them a card.  Now it gets touchy, and you'd better handle this one just right.  Don't become a
    pest to people who may not care about your collection.  No more than two sentances from you are needed.  If they ask questions, answer them, but say no more.  DO NOT GO ON AND ON about your wants.  If you make a pest of yourself, these people can't wait to get out of your sight and throw your card in the trash.  On the positive side, there's no better way to
    share your collection with such a broad range of people., and just maybe...........Mike Kerr

  3. If you accept the theory that a great deal of the lures and reels are in the hands of closet collectors, then maybe the way to get in touch with and exposure to closet collectors is to run a For Sale ad that you have something they want. When they call to inquire about your For Sale items, you get to know them and ask questions about their collection!  Think like the prey.

  4. Go to the gun shows, or any collectable show where they are not concentrating on tackle. Think outside the norm and make connections with people who are collecting in other areas. I have a friend who collects nautical antiques, finds a ton of tackle and much to my dismay, actually uses it for decoration!

  5. Find a nice, small display cabinet to show off a small portion of your collection.With the permission of the owner, leave your display at your local hunting, fishing and camping store.  Be informative.   Identify the lures in the display with lure name, manufacturer and date of patent.   Change the lures every few weeks.  You might even play "identify the lure" with one piece  in the collection.  Give its identity when you change up the lures at a later date.  This keeps them interested, and coming back. 

  6. Put an ad on beer pads and distribute them to bars for free! Do napkins or table place covers with your logo and contact info and give them to restaurants to use on their tables. If it's free, someone will use it.

  7. Another friend of mine collects guns and is in the extermination business. He has access to many houses in a wealthy residential area and finds and buys more guns than anyone I know. All he does is pass out his card in case a wife wants to get rid of the gun (tackle?) her (deceased or divorced) husband kept in the house. I suspect anyone in that business has access to all the tackle anyone would ever want to see.

  8. Try the fist-full-of-cards tactic with Realtors who list the homes of older individuals. I've seen some Realtors buy the contents of a house that is going to be sold before the seller moves out. Make contact with Realtors who can call you when they list a home of an elderly person. One guy I know places Luckey's #4 with name stickers which say that he wants to buy lures like the lobby of retirement homes.

  9. Place an ad in those free papers they throw in your driveway. Typically the ads are cheap, but they are read by older individuals and who do you think has the tackle? Typical copy: Wanted, old fishing tackle for my collection, call... (use your full name, because people don't like to call a stranger). If you want to get a little more sophisticated, you can offer a reward or top dollar you will pay for one or many items.

  10. Place an ad in the Farm Bureau newspaper if you live near one of the areas that has a Farm Bureau. Loads of tackle in farming communities.

  11. Send a letter to family of obituary notices indicating willingness to appraise or buy tackle. (I totally dislike this idea, but someone told me they did it! It bothers me greatly.)

  12. Word a newspaper ad where you offer to buy just old metal and wood tackle boxes. Don't mention the lures and then ask how much they want for the lures to go with the box when you offer to buy the box. The ethics of this method are questionable.

  13. Get back issues of the Gazette and send letters to members who may have stopped collecting due to financial problems or burnout. I know one collector who did this and didn't have much luck a few years back, but now many of those collectors are getting to be over 65. It would require a great deal of time and luck to pull this off.

  14. Winner of the most novel idea goes to a friend in Ky. He looks in junk yards for wrecked cars with trunks. In the trunks are the old tackle boxes no one cared about!

  15. If you don't have it, get caller ID on your phone. I'm constantly amazed at the number of people who will answer an ad and not leave a message on the answering machine when I'm out of the house. But, with caller ID, you've got a number, frequently their name, and the time they called. If you don't have caller ID, you don't realize how many calls you miss during the day when you are not at home.

  16. I've seen individuals offer "bird dog fees" or "finders fees" as a percentage of the "buy", but I think this is a mistake as the opportunity to make a lot of people mad is too great. You don't want to get a reputation for "stealing" as some individuals who do this have done in the past. The reason is because the finder may never know what the buyer actually paid for the tackle and if the buyer cheats the seller, the finder is a part of the theft. There is nothing wrong with making a profit, but some individuals tend to apply enormous resale mark ups based on their "expertise"and leave the seller wanting. What goes around, comes around! Avoid the practice and the people who do it.

  17. Run an ad looking for something other than tackle which will get you in the door or the garage so you can ask direct questions about lures, tackle boxes, etc. I heard about one guy who advertises for picture frames in the New England area just to get a look in the attics of people who respond. He also goes door to door asking if they have picture frames. I know another guy who goes door to door asking about old magazines or papers as a way to gain entry. Another friend runs tackle ads in the town where he vacations the week before he goes to the town and then accepts visitors to his condo while there.

  18. I realize this is obvious, but go to the tackle shows all over the country. This is the expensive method, but that's where the stuff ends up at one time or the other. If you go to enough shows, you are going to meet many of the dealers and they can be an endless source of information and contacts. The first year I started collecting lures, I went to about six shows all over the Eastern US, and met many of the same people at each show. The NFLCC National is the mother of all shows and the ultimate source, but also the seat of the high prices. Smaller local shows tend to be better for meeting people and making the connections that last a life time.

  19. Fork over a ton of money and run a display ad in your local mainstream paper. You'll be amazed at the calls, but it is expensive. Use pictures for sure. I've done this and had great success, but it only worked for a short time and the calls diminished after about two weeks. On the other hand, if you live in an area with loads of tackle, it may provide the best return on the invested dollar.

  20. What the ad says is almost as important as the ad itself. I find using the phrase "for my collection" is good because it differentiates me from a dealer who doesn't want to buy for his collection, but to buy cheap and resell the item. I also find using my full name is better than just "call Mike". Women who live alone don't want to call some guy they don't know, but a full name is more official I guess. If you can get your wife or girl friend to go along, all the better. Keep the threat to a minimum. If you run an ad in the paper, put both "Bob and Mary Collectikowsky".

  21. Factoid: men die and their wives sell their tackle at yard sales for a dollar each! Go to yard sales and be the first one there. Go a day early. Call the night the ad comes out for the sale. Be aggressive. I know for a fact that there are people in our area who go through the newspaper publisher's trash in the middle of the week to get the Friday garage sale setups. Amazing!

  22. Have a well made calling card with your name, address, and phone number. In this case, "Less is NOT more". Cram as much info on the card as you can get. You may not get a second chance to give them the card. Be sure to put an image of something related to fishing for a mental jogger.

  23. Wear one of those "I collect fishing lures" tee shirts in the grocery store. It's amazing how many people will stop and ask you about your hobby.

  24. As obvious as it seems, try to find your wife's grandfather's, or uncle's tackle boxes. If you get really desperate, even ask your ex-wife to check her family. Hey, we're talking tackle here!

  25. Go through old back issues of the NFLCC Gazette and call members who may have quit collecting. It is a tough nut to crack, but if you find one guy who is tired of his collection, it will be worth all the rejection you are going to face from the ones who don't want to sell. Many of the early collectors are getting to that certain age where they want less stuff around to dust and store.

  26. Talk to old fishing guides about reels and lures. They had them and they know where they are now. In our area, the wealthy individuals owned the tackle, but it was the guides who maintained and kept the stuff. Track down the old guides. I've found this to be a good source of reels.

  27. Search the old newspaper morgues for hardware stores which sold tackle during the early part of the century and then track down the families or employees to see if any material still exists. This is first class detective work, but one hit and you are home free for the rest of your life. Hardware stores are where the stuff was sold in the early part of the century. When they went out of business, who bought the unsold material?

  28. Try the Goodwill store. Prime the pump with cash for the guy who sorts the stuff when it comes in the door. Make a friend by paying more than anyone.

  29. Build up a string of "pickers" who frequent flea markets, garage sales. Pay them well and above all be fair. Paying the people who do the leg work is important if you want them to come back to you.

  30. Produce a want list on the computer with details of what you are looking for in your collection. Hand out these lists to anyone you think will find tackle. Start a Web site if you have the time and money to do it.

  31. Buy several copies of Luckey's book, highlight the types of lures you like to collect and then give those books to "pickers". It's the best way to communicate what you are looking for in the field. Yes, it costs $24, but if they find one lure...

  32. Inspect storage container sales. Watch the papers for the auctions of these containers and be there when they are opened. Sometimes an antique dealer will buy it and will be glad to sell the tackle to recoup his costs.

  33. Just heard this one: set up a table with display in the local mall on a rainy day and take names and phone numbers as they come up to tell you all about the old tackle they have at home. Great idea!

  34. I've heard about people getting on local radio and talking about tackle. Sort of like guilt by association instead of the hard sell. Try all the media, papers, TV, radio, flyers. If you can get the newspaper or TV to do an article on you, you will get calls for a year afterward.

  35. Hire a kid to bike the neighborhoods and handout flyers with what you are looking for in tackle. Do a first class job on the won't get a second chance to do it right. Do a color flyer insert in the paper. Expensive, but effective. Target the areas you send the flyers. There are computer data bases you can buy now which target specific populations in a given phone directory area. Use one of these lists to find the over 60 crowd.

  36. If you are going to advertise in the paper or elsewhere, be sure to have an answering machine on the phone you list in the ad. If you don't have Caller ID, get it and put the screening appliance on the phone line to catch those calls that absolutely will not talk to the answering machine. You'll be amazed at the number of people who call and don't leave a message. The Caller ID is the only way to track those calls.

  37. Radio ads work if you run them long enough. With any kind of advertising, running for long periods cost a lot, but gives the best results.

  38. Change the content of your ads frequently. The brain filters out repetitious information and if someone sees the same ad over and over, they tend not to read it after a couple of times. Visual aids like lure drawings help too. Unless you look like Cary Grant, forget putting your mug on the ad.

  39. Use the Antique Trader magazine ads or any of the other publications which go to antique dealers. There are many regional antique newspapers. Take out a small ad in them and be prepared to wait, but the calls will come.

  40. Antique dealers can be a great source, but they have to be motivated to save anything for you. Their mentality is to created traffic in their shops and typically they don't call anyone except great customers when they have a find. Make darn sure they know you are a collector and not another dealer.

  41. Attend every auction in your area. Even furniture actions have tackle sometimes. Talk to the other people at the auction and let them know what you collect. Auction addicts are always interested in buying and selling something and most are gatherers of some ilk.

  42. Offer "stupid" money for one or many lures. Run an ad saying you will pay umpteen zillion dollars for such and such and see what happens. The high price is the ticket to the better stuff. Be cautious here though, careful wording of the ad is essential. There is an NFLCC member who offers $2,500 for a certain lure and he gets the first call I can assure you.

  43. If you go on a serious buying call, be sure to take adequate money. The worst thing that can happen is to find the mother lode and be short of cash. Flashing the long green will sometimes get the deal done. Money talks, and BS walks.

  44. I've found it beneficial to carry a set of 4x6 photos in a display folder of what an excellent lures in my collection look like when I go to buy lures offered for sale. The reason is that so many people think any old lure is valuable. When pricing a lure out of the book, you have to make sure they understand that price reflects excellent condition and you better be able to prove it. This is why you need what is called a "frame of reference" or a standard like close-up photos of excellent condition lures.

  45. Tell everyone you know that you collect and what you collect. You can't be shy. There is nothing negative about collecting lures. The same can't be said for collectors of antique condom tins. Ask them to hand out your cards. People will be amazed that you really collect that old stuff, and then think you are really crazy to pay for it!

  46. Famous collector Ken Webb had a message on his answering machine that says he collects old fishing lures and asks for your help at the end of the message.

  47. Put up a sign with photos of your collection at the place where you work. You'll be amazed at the number of people who have old tackle and didn't know you collected. This technique is only good for a while as the exposure tends to drop rapidly.

  48. Give a talk at Rotary or other service clubs. They are always in need of knowledgeable speakers.

  49. Offer a "reward" for tackle. Getting leads is important. A reward sounds better than a certain price. The trick is how much reward....$250, a $1,000? Be careful with this one. It's only once removed from the dangerous "finders fee" trick.

  50. Try targeting a specific group of people who you think may have tackle. For instance residents of older communities or people who don't move but once in a life time. Don't waste time going to areas where there is a high turn over of younger families unless you try the "I want to buy your grandfather's tackle" route.

  51. Get on television. This is the ultimate method and only a few guys ever do it. Those who do, get loads of calls. Local cable TV is great for this kind of thing. Rick Edmisten is still getting calls about the shows he did years ago.

  52. Go door to door with a "I collect fishing tackle" tee shirt on and ask if they have old tackle. I know a guy in Florida who does this and gets to look through hundreds of tackle boxes. This technique really works, but you have to have the personality to be non-threatening. I don't suggest showing up with a two day growth of the beard. I know another guy who tried this, but his lack of a shave, no haircut, and the gold tooth just didn't get him through the door.

  53. Set up a small display in the local barber shop with lures in a shadow box. You can get lockable display boxes at tackle shows. Same technique for tackle shops who will allow it.

  54. Use a roadside lighted display sign...blinking with neon of course!

  55. Try the local pawn shop, but understand that these people are in the business of loaning money not selling antiques. I've found reels, but rarely have I found worthwhile lures in a pawn shop. They just don't understand fishing lures. I had a friend who placed an ad in a pawn shop stating that "I buy tackle" and got a lot of response, but it's a rare owner who will allow such an infringement on their territory.

  56. Put up nice posters with pictures of lures or reels you want at trailer parks, farm shows, anywhere people who fish gather. A friend of mine in Florida does a standup talk with an antique lure exhibit for the Pro Fishing Tackle shows and get tons of leads that way.

  57. Make friends first. People want to know you care. Old tackle may have been in the family for ages and belonged to a close member of the family. Be respectful. Treat the people and tackle with the respect due someone or something of age who survived a great many ordeals. Remember, it could be your wife or mother next. What goes around, comes around!

  58. I was recently told about a new collector who delivers medical supplies and uses his daily contact with older people to get the message out that he collects. He also tells the other delivery people in the business so they can tell people too. The idea is he is contacting the age group who will have the tackle.

  59. Of course you can just forget all the suggestions here and sit there and buy off eBay.  But what fun is that after the tenth or twentieth lure?



Have lures or reels you want  to sell?   Contact Gabby Talkington:  Contact information

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