Schultz: Vintage tackle auctions

“Going … going … gone!”

Those are familiar words at any auction — just as the gavel falls on a particular item or lot. If you’re the high bidder, those words can bring a feeling of elation. If not … utter disappointment.

Collectibles are auctioned around the world on a daily basis, and vintage fishing tackle occupies its own fascinating niche.

Almost like a subculture, collectors of angling artifacts number in the thousands, and they come from many different countries — including the Americas, Asia, Australia, South Africa and parts of Europe. And no matter where they hail from, all share a deep appreciation for anything old as it relates to fishing.

It might surprise you that many of these collectors don’t even fish. Yet they’re attracted to the tools that make our sport what it is. Whether it’s a lure, rod, reel or some other form of tackle, there are collectors out there looking for the stuff. And they’ll pay a premium for the items they covet most.

Lang’s Live

This past week, the gavel fell on more than 2,000 lots of vintage fishing collectibles during Lang’s Annual Fall Auction. Among them were a number of very valuable pieces, including an 1800s Haskell Minnow that sold for $28,000.

Add to that a 21 percent buyer’s premium, plus shipping and insurance, and that single lure cost the high bidder nearly $35,000! And that’s just one of more than 1,000 lures that were auctioned. Many others brought record prices, as well.

To participate, bidders had several options: They could submit absentee bids prior to the auction, call in their bids via live phone bidding, or bid live online though Lang’s personalized electronic platform. Anyone could participate, so long as they pre-registered.

This pair of 1908 Pflueger Monarch Musky Minnows brought $10,000 in heavy bidding.

The auction began Saturday, Oct. 10, at 10 a.m. EST and ran until late afternoon. Round 2 continued Sunday morning and wrapped up in the late evening. In all, more than a half million dollars in sales were generated.

Keep in mind, we’re talking about old fishing tackle here. Not fine jewelry, rare cars or oil paintings — fishing tackle!

Although many categories of tackle collectibles were offered, Lang’s billed this as the “Lure Auction of the Decade.” Indeed, it was quite an impressive lineup, drawing the attention of bidders from around the world.

Future auctions

If you missed this auction, don’t fret. Lang’s has another scheduled for next spring, and quite often, the spring auctions are even bigger.

If that’s not soon enough, then check out the upcoming auctions offered by Morphy’s and Crossroads. Both will host their own fall auctions this month.

Considered one of the most established auction houses in the business, Morphy’s is actually new to fishing collectibles. To help them tap into this growing market, they hired expert tackle appraiser and longtime collector, Joe Stagnitti.

Morphy’s auction is scheduled for Oct. 24 at 9 a.m. EST, and includes over 500 lots. On Nov. 7 and 8, Morphy's will hold a Discovery Sale to move 1,400 more lots.

On Oct. 30 through Nov. 1, Crossroads Angling Auctions will host its third annual fall show and auction, as well. So there are still plenty of buying opportunities ahead.

For more info, check out these websites.

This 1915 Heddon salesman's case is expected to bring six figures at the upcoming Morphy's auction.

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