Saturday, March 27, 2010

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

Deconstructing Old Ads:
The Value of old Advertisements
In looking at old ads, it is important to be able to extract valuable information from them while being able to ignore what is advertising hype or in some cases downright falsehoods. A case in point are these two ads from National Sportsman. Both are Heddon ads. The first is from May 1916 and deals with the Heddon Crab Wiggler and the New Baby Crab Wiggler. Warren Platt sent me this ad that purports to quote Jim Heddon saying, "If I could have only one Dowagiac in my tackle box it would be a crab wiggler." There is one BIG problem with this statement. The advertisement states the Crab Wiggler was introduced in 1915 and the Baby Crab Wiggler in 1916. Unfortunately. Jim Heddon passed away in 1911!

The second ad presented here is from May 1919 and is one of my favorites because it answered so many questions that were unknown to collectors 25 years ago. It tells us that "Red Scale" color was introduced in 1919. It tells us that the Deep-O-Diver was introduce in 1919 and shows us that the first model of that bait is the one with the nail in the middle of its back to hang pork rind on. It also shows us that the change had already been made on the baby crab wiggler from the "U-collar" to the later round collar.

When you see the Deep-o-Diver listed here in "Natural Scale" don't be fooled. This information needs to be processed a little. 1918 was the first year that Heddon offered a scale finish. There was only one and it was simply called "Scale Finish." It was cataloged as color 9D. In 1919 when a second scale finish was offered ( i.e. the "Red Scale" ) the name of the first scale finish (9D) was changed to "Natural Scale" as seen in this ad. The following year as more scale patterns were offered the name of color 9D was changed once again to "Green Scale." It was the same color all along, although the earliest versions had that aluminum and black colored stripe down the back that collectors like to call "Deluxe Green Scale."  

This 1919 ad also ask us to send for a "Circular" showing their rods and minnows. We know now that there was no large Heddon catalog  in 1918 or 1919. Only "circulars" were offered these two years. By the way that 1919 circular is very, very rare. Our friend Joe Stagnitti has the only one I've ever seen. Read this ad carefully and you will find there several more things that can be learned.

-- Bill Sonnett

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