A Vacation In Your Tackle Box?

Frank Calabrese Sr., left, and Joseph "The Clown" Lombardo, who were named in new indictments released by federal prosecutors, June 2, 2005, in Chicago, which provide more details about the crimes of alleged organized figures in Chicago.
People have been fishing for food since the days of the caveman, reports Collectibles Expert Tony Hyman on The Saturday Early Show. But fishing collectors say that their Golden Age was 1900 to the mid-1950s.

Hundreds of companies, large and small, preyed on the hopes of fishermen by selling them more than 10,000 different shaped lures and 100,000 color variations.

There are so many different color lures because any bait shop owner or any fisherman could custom order a lure painted any way he wanted in quantities as small as a dozen. While common lures might be worth less than $10, some of the paint jobs are so rare, they can be worth thousands.

Find out about other collectibles described by The Saturday Early Show's Tony Hyman in the Collectibles Archive or visit Tony Hyman's Web site.

If you think you have a collectible worth a lot of cash, send an email to with "What's It Worth?" in the subject line. Or write to "What's It Worth?" The Saturday Early Show, 514 West 57th St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10019.

Some lures are legend: Pikey Minnow, Crazy Crawler, and Jitterbug were sold in staggering numbers. A total of 36 million Bass-O-Reno were sold in one year, and they were on the market for decades. A Bass-O-Reno in the fisherman’s favorite color (red and white) is $5 in fine condition. If that same identical lure is painted in natural colors with scales and glass eyes, it's $50.

You can usually tell by the size and ruggedness whether your lure was made for ocean or lake fishing. Collectors are paying up to $1,000 or more for some empty boxes, so Grampa’s tackle box might pay for your vacation if you sell it right.

If you have a lure’s original box, you’ll see that most lures have been given names like “Bass Grabber” by their makers. Most have names followed by code numbers to indicate colors. The name is most important when talking to a collector.

Five especially popular lure manufacturers are Heddon, Creek Chub, Pflueger, South Bend, and Shakespeare.

Lure brand names that collectors don’t want include Flatfish, Lazy Ike, Bombers and most Daredevils.

Here's how you can tell the difference among fresh water, salt water, and trout lures apart:

  • The big heavy sturdier lures (four or five inches or more long) are salt
    water lures.
  • The smaller (inch and a half to four inch) multi-colored, articulated lures with propellers, diving lips, fins, or other attachments are fresh water lures.
  • Trout lures look similar but are very small, an inch or less.
There is no alue to any spoons, and spinners from the 1940s and '50s. If your spoons and spinners have plastic beads, nickel plating, or any plastic part, collectors don’t want it.

Also, if it’s made in Japan or elsewhere in the Orient, collectors don’t want it.

Lures and information courtesy of Rick Edmisten, the co-author of "Fishing Lure Collectibles: An Identification and Value Guide to the Most Collectible Antique Fishing Lures" (Collector Books, $24.95). Rick is happy to evaluate your lures and other fishing gear and answer any fishing tackle related questions. You may reach him at or (818) 763-9406, if you call between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET. Also, you may fax him at (818) 763-5974 or write to him Box 686, North Hollywood, CA 91603.

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