Antique Lures


  How to identify pre-1940 wood fishing lures and lure boxes

By Gabby Talkington

1.  Lures or boxes:  Remember this is about pre-1940 lures and boxes.

  • Lures:  Is the body of the lure made of wood?  If you answered yes, then continue and go to 2

  • Boxes: If you have a box in legible condition (you can figure out what it says on the box), please proceed to number 4 and read about grading boxes.

2.  Eyes: glass, decal, or painted?  

  • Click here to see the difference in types of eyes.

  • Many times the approximate age of the lures can be determined by the type of eyes.  Glass eyes are the oldest (pre-1950) and painted or decal eyes  the newest...(post 1940).  In between were what are called tack eyes and they are also too new to fall in the pre-1940 time frame.   

  • Does the lure have painted or tack eyes?  If you answered yes, then stop here. 

  • If the lure has glass or no eyes, then continue to step 3.  ( Note...some older lures have no eyes.)

3.  Condition of lures:

  • Condition is important because there is little interest in collecting lures in bad or used condition.   If the paint and varnish is in great condition....continue.

  • First determine if the paint is complete, that there are no chips of paint off down to the wood, and no deep surface scratches?  If you can answer yes to these condition questions, then continue to step 4. 

  • If the condition is only about very good, then stop.  I don't collect lures which have scratches, paint missing, chips, or are in generally used or heavily fished condition.

4.  Grading lures and boxes:

  • Next you need to determine the approximate grade and condition of the lure or box.  The objective is to eliminate lures in less than very good condition all together.  Boxes are a little different matter as there is no paint to evaluate.

  • Grading lures  Grading is very hard to do, but you need to determine if the lures are in very good condition or better and especially if they are somewhere near excellent.  The exact grade is not important.   What we want to do is eliminate discussion of lures that are beat up or have paint chipped off.  I only buy and collect lures in excellent minus or better condition, but in some circumstances, older (pre-1920) lures are of interest if in very good condition.   But, if there is paint missing from the lure, there is no interest.

  • Grading boxes  I buy and collect a lot of different kinds of boxes. (Click here to see a list of the various miscellaneous companies I collect.)   After you grade the boxes, you need to figure out if it has a number on the end of the box.  Here are some examples of Heddon boxes with the numbers on the end of the box: Heddon box numbers.  Other companies put numbers or descriptions on the top of the boxes or on paper labels on the end of the box.  If you know the numbers and description on the box, you pretty much know what you have.  I buy boxes in all kinds of condition, but I need to know the company and numbers on the box.

5. Measuring a wood lure: when you measure a lure, measure it from wood end to wood end.  Not hardware to hardware or tip to tip.  Wood to wood end.  Lengths of certain wood lures will differentiate them.  Three hook lures usually are smaller than five hook lures, etc.

6.  Who made the lure or box? 

Now we want to figure out which company made the lure.  The best way to do that is to look at examples and see if you can come close to the various examples on this site.  Here's a list of the major companies:

Wanted: Lures, boxes, catalogs, advertising, or brochures by smaller and miscellaneous companies like these...
  • Flood Minnow
  • Charmer Minnow Co
  • Ans. B. Decker
  • Detroit Bait Co.
  • North Channel Minnow
  • Detroit Glass Minnow tube
  • Jim Donaly
  • Enterprise Mfg. Co.
  • Haas Tackle Co.
  • Riley Haskel metal lure
  • Chippewa lure
  • Kalamazoo Fishing Tackle
  • H.C.Kaufman Co.
  • Harkauf Minnow
  • Fred C. Keeling Co.
  • Woods Expert
  • Moonlight Bait Co.
  • Outing Mfg. Co.
  • Fred A. Pardee
  • Joe E. Pepper
  • Pontiac Mfg. Co.
  • Louis Rhead
  • Fred Rhodes
  • Shakespeare Tackle Co.
  • Vann-Clay
  • Welch & Graves glass tube
  • Wilson Bait Co.
  • Clinton Wilt Mfg. Co.
  • Winchester Co.
  • F.C.Woods Co.
  • F.G.Worden Bait Co.,

Call or e-mail for prices on miscellaneous company lures and boxes like these...

Click here to CALL FOR QUOTES

Examples of Lure prices and more types wanted

A Full list of the type of lures wanted by photos

Now that you have some idea what you have, look at the prices for the types of lures we collect:



Now send me an e-mail giving me an approximate list of the kinds of lures or boxes you have.  The contact information is at the bottom of the page or call me at home in the evenings.  If you want to get the highest price for your lures, communication is the answer.  I've done all the work for you up to this point.  Now you have to make that call or type the e-mail.

  Click here for Contact information for selling your lures



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

Lure and Lure Box Prices We Pay


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