How to Add to your Collection on Less than $50 a Day
I have a lot of collector friends, some with very deep pockets and some with, how shall we say, less deep pockets. Few have shallower pockets than myself. Actually, I'm not really sure that shallower is a word--maybe more shallow is apropos. Anyway, I have never let a lack of liquid assets ever get in the way of building a collection. While the days of picking up Heddon 150s for $10 at a flea market are almost over, there are plenty of creative ways to collect for even those of the most modest means.
NFLCC Nationals is not just about $1000 lures and reels. I think one of the misconceptions is that you have to be ultra wealthy to enjoy the show or that only high-end items exchange hands. Room trading and table displays were full of reasonably priced tackle, and a number of dealers had enormous boards filled with $5 and $3 lures by the thousands. With some dilligence, a collector could add ten nice reels and fifteen decent lures for $250, an average of $10 each. All you have to do is be knowledgeable enough to sift through the bins and boards to find the very real bargains available on (and under) almost every table.
For example, I have been slowly but surely building a collection of snelled hook packets. My interest in the fish hook and its history is no secret, and since the third volume in my three book History of the Fish Hook in America is on the snelled hook, it is natural for me to seek these out. I found some really tough snells and some pretty common ones I had yet to add to my collection, and the best part is that they cost very little coin.
More expensive but still within the realm of reasonable are the following two snelled hook dealer boxes. The first is a really tough 4 Brothers 1/A Snelled Hook maroon dealer box; these would have contained the yellow Pflueger snelled packet shown in the above image.
A reasonable--and very, very rare--addition to the collection is the following Abbey & Imbrie Snelled Hook dealer box. This dates from the 1890s and is in nice shape considering the age. This would contain, as the side label noted in pencil, a half gross of A&I Snell packets with the same logo.
Hooks in general are always of great interest to me. The following is a montage of reasonably priced hook items, including a very large Pflueger saltwater hook marked "Pflueger, Akron, O.", a rare Horrocks-Ibbotson picture box, a Horrocks-Ibbotson box of German-made hooks, a scarce Belknap Hardware Company hook box, and a colorful Minnesota Tackle Co. hook packet.
Sample hook packets can be tough to find, which was why I was happy to add the following set of salesman samples from Pflueger and O. Mustad. These were given out as freebies to promote new hooks.
I have concentrated of late on collecting trade reels, and was able to add some neat ones to my collection for reasonable prices. The first reel was a real find, even if it isn't a trade reel. This hard rubber model is a rare 60-yard model made by Cozzone, a maker most noted for large saltwater models.
The second is a nifty Pennell model made by Montague and marketed by Edward K. Tryon of Philadelphia.
The third is a nice Congress Quad model marketed by Supplee-Biddle Hardware, also of Philadelphia, and made by Union Hardware of Torrington, Connecticut. I wish I would have had a chance to add this model to my article on Supplee-Biddle in the December 2006 NFLCC Magazine.
Speaking of which, my recent article on The Vim Company in the May 2007 The Reel News could really have used a photo of the following item, a rare 1929 Vim Co. line spool in a Vim marked box with the 2222 Diversey Street address. My thanks to Don "The Lure Guru" Ludy for adding this tough piece to my meager collection of line spools--trust me, I't will never rival my friend John Etchieson's collection!
I did not find as many lures to my collection as I would have liked. But I did add a new fluted spinner to my collection for the first time in almost a year--a Henzel Fluted Spinner on the card. Henzel was best known for the "Henzel Booster Bait" and this is the first of these I have ever seen on the card. This also came from Don Ludy, who has another one if anyone is interested in adding a super tough piece of metal to their collection.
Not all of my collection is antique. I added an Arbogast AC Plug in Rainbow in the largest size to complete the color set.
My final piece from the Louisville Nationals is special in every way. It is not the kind of thing that I usually buy, or can afford to buy for that matter. A friend of mine (who shall remain anonymous so as not to arouse any hard feelings) came up to me and told me I had to see an item that he had, and set down a briefcase.
The leather briefcase had a metal plate marked "VL&A." I took a deep breath. Then he opened the case. My mouth fell open when I saw what was inside. Two VL&A tournament casting reels, one in the box and the other in a correct marked "VL&A" leather case. A 1927 VL&A catalog. And 10 mint South Bend Callmac Bugs on mint VL&A cards. An absolutely amazing find and I was lucky enough to add it to my collection.
It was a serendipitous find, as I had earlier that day told Dudley Murphy I would be writing on VL&A for the next issue of the NFLCC Magazine (after he had—and rightly so--rejected my proposal of an article on sex and fishing tackle advertising). You will assuredly see pics of this in the VL&A article!
There were a few other pieces I added, including a number of books such as Albert J. Munger's Fishing and Collecting Old Reels & Tackle & History, Dean Murphy's Made in Missouri, 2nd Edition, a 1964 Herter's Catalog, a 1925 Elmira Arms Catalog, and some other assorted materials.
So the NFLCC Nationals was a huge success both personally and from the standpoint of the club. My thanks go out to my friends old and new for all the fun.
Only 360 days until Peoria!