There are three ways to acquire antique fishing lures: buying, trading or finding. Regardless of the method, many collectors find the hunt to be challenging, interesting and all consuming. Sometimes, a lure is found in the most unexpected places.
Start with what is most familiar. Look in the attics and garages of relatives who were avid sportsmen. Look in the usual places, such as tackle boxes and boats, but also in unexpected places, such as dresser drawers and old trunks.
Branch out to garage and estate sales. When scouring garage sales, the collector is likely to discover the best finds early, so arrive before the sale opens or ask for a pre-viewing. Many owners will accommodate this request as they are more than happy to sell you their old lures, especially if they do not know the value of what they have. Don’t limit your garage sale visits just to sporting areas; weekend fisherman living in cities have some valuable items as well.
Look for estate sales. Relatives of recently deceased sportsmen may sell their antique lures without truly knowing what treasures they have. Look for more casual, informal events, as sales that go through a third party antique dealership will probably have collectibles recognized and priced according to their value.
Set up a booth at the local fair or swap meet to trade, exhibit or sell some of an existing collection. Pass out cards with contact information, indicating that you wish to purchase antique fishing lures. It is amazing how many contacts can be met through such casual exhibitions.
If a collector does not want to do the legwork, he or she can purchase items online or in-person from a number of reputable dealers or from an online auction site, such as ebay. If buying on ebay, review the feedback for the prospective dealer. If the dealer does not sell primarily fishing lures, they are probably not an expert so the buyer should beware. When buying from either a real or virtual storefront, look for someone who has in-depth knowledge of fishing lures and can quote reference materials or membership in various collector’s societies. Verify that a collector is trustworthy by asking other collectors at trade shows or collector’s club meetings. Beware of deals that are too good to be true; a reputable dealer will charge competitive prices for quality merchandise.
Collecting fishing lures is a fun, exciting and rewarding hobby. Beginning collectors can learn a lot about both art and history, as well as make friendships that will last a lifetime.