Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Vintage, Antique & Collectable Tackle Jumble

The Vintage, Antique & Collectable Tackle Jumble

Lately there has been some discussion on the subject of the definition of "vintage" and "antique." I have written about this for some time now, and even put up a poll this week to see what others thought of the term "vintage" and how they defined it.

But let's start with the word "antique." The U.S. Customs service defined an antique as any item over 100 years old back in the 1930s. As far as I know that is how many established dealers define the word. There is an interesting discussion of this word here.

I think more confusing is the word "vintage." I wrote the following a few years back on ORCA's Reel Talk board:

Vintage is one of those nothing terms; a "vintage" item to someone in their 20s is different from that of someone in their 70s. It is all about perspective. It originated with wine makers, of course, but as the following link shows, there is an enormous gap in the way people define it.

Several people took exception to this, but they were wed to the definition of vintage as a noun and not as an adjective, as it is always used in the fishing tackle sense. Vintage as a noun is defined by as:

6. The class of a dated object with reference to era or production or use: A hat of last year's vintage.

This is how some people want to solely define the term.

However, the use of vintage as an adjective, as in "vintage fishing tackle," has a totally different meaning. It is best defined in this usage, again according to, as:

9. representing the high quality of a past time: vintage cars; vintage movies.

So, as the poll suggests, vintage is left to the user to define. For one person "vintage fishing tackle" may very well mean pre-1900 tackle; for others, it may mean pre-1980.

The third word used commonly--collectable--is also in the eye of the beholder. Some people think Pogs are collectable and will pay hundreds of dollars for an item, and would likely think you crazy for spending the same amount on a fishing lure. I once watched in horror one dealer in Rantoul, IL at a flea market sell $10,000 in Beanie Babies in one morning (100 of a certain "rare" beanie for $100 each, when I came back he had sold out)...

So whether you collect antique, vintage, or collectable fishing tackle--or all of the above--please know that your definition may not be the next time. Remember this when you go out on a field find for "vintage" tackle and find a box full of 1990s Rapalas!

-- Dr. Todd

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