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Oct. 23rd, 2004 - Vintage Fishing Auction Wrap Up

Saturday, October 23 brought fishing collectors from across the Midwest to Indianapolis, Indiana for a special sale of vintage fishing items. Riding on the enthusiasm of the first such sale held in March 2004, this sale offered more than 300 cataloged examples of vintage fishing lures, bobbers, reels, creels, rods, and a substantial sampling of advertising and display pieces, as well as numerous lots of uncataloged items pulled from the shelves of many notable collections. Collectors from across the globe were able to bid alongside this spirited live audience via eBay, telephone and absentee bidding, with live bidders paying a 10% buyer's premium and all other bidders paying a 15% buyer's premium.

In a sale that included everything from rods, reels and creels, the greatest attention was reserved by and large for the diverse selection of bobbers and lures. Kicking off the sale with a number of lots estimated between $25 and $50, many items ended below estimate, including a lot of 10 colorful vintage floats and bobbers, closing at a collector-friendly $5. Other items fared better, including a lot of 3 Heddon Prowlers in new condition, which closed close to high estimate of $50, at $40.

In fact, sales in this area remained even-keeled, but there were a few zingers, including a Heddon Scissortail, offered in excellent condition in its original box. Estimated at $25-$50, this excellent Pike Scale bait nearly doubled its high estimate, ending at $90.A lot of four interesting miscellaneous fishing items enjoyed similar results, also closing at $90, while a Creek Chub Baby Dingbat in Frog, also expected to bring $25-$50 closed at $60.

The sale continued at its quiet pace, peppered with surprises, including a True Temper Bass Pop with Rare Frog Chunk, estimated between $40 and $60 that sailed past it high estimate to end at $250. Sharing its good fortune was an Al Foss Musky Size Empty Dry strip tin. Offered in like new condition and expected to bring between $50 and $75, closing price for this item reached beyond expectations to end at $110. Meanwhile, a South Bend Midget Minnow, estimated at $50-$100 closed at $160, as did a Rare Old Bait tin in leather holder. A Heddon 210 Surface bait with Frog Finish, also estimated between $50 and $100 closed at $140.

A Heddon Punkinseed Crappie in excellent condition and expected to bring $50-$100 squeaked past high estimate to close at $110. A nice lot of empty lure boxes, also estimated between $50 and $100 shared the same ending price, while an early unmarked large salt water reel, estimated at $50-$100 closed at $140.

An unusual bait by the Tropical Bait Company, the makers of the Bug-eyed Babbler, offered in excellent condition and expected to bring $25-$50 more than doubled expectations when bidding ended at $130. A Flying Fish Bait, also by the Tropical Bait Company closed at $110, while a Heddon 9630 Punkinseed Bluegill, offered in excellent condition in its original box and estimated between $100 and $125 closed at $170.

Among the reels offered was an 80ft. Louisville Casting reel, bringing in low estimate of $100.

Among the glass minnow traps was an Orvis Glass minnow trap with a screw on lid. Dirty but nice, this trap was expected to bring $100-$150, but closed below low estimate at $80. Meanwhile, rare glass minnow trap with brass hardware, offered in as-is condition with cracked glass just squeaked past its low estimate of $100 to close at $110. A Joy Glass Minnow Trap, banded Carrier from Fort Smith Arkansas, in very clean condition fared much better, exceeding the expected high estimate of $150 to close at $210. An early Submarine type minnow bucket with green paint sold below its low estimate of $100, at $80. An unusual shaped galvanized minnow bucket sold well within its estimated $100-$300, closing at a comfortable $250. On the other hand, a rare and unusual copper minnow bucket offered in nice condition sold precisely at low estimate of $400.

However, there was more fun to be had, and the sale switched into high gear when a Rare Allocock Paragon Minnow, circa 1890 hit the block. Expected to bring $100-$200, bidders watched anxiously as the price for this classic early metal bait with Tiffany set glass eyes soared to $425. A Creek Chub Lucky Mouse, offered in its correct box marked 3602, also closed above its estimated $200, ending at $250.

A lot of 25 Olivers and Langs Catalogs ended just below high estimate of $200, closing at $190, while an Outing Bassy Getum in nice condition exceeded high estimate of $200, closing at $225. A stormy Petrel, new in box with paper, fared even better, storming past its estimated high of $200 to close at $300.

Also exceeding expectations was a TALBOT Gus Habich, Indianapolis Reel. Estimated to bring $200-$300, this reel doubled high estimate to close at $600. An early and rare Worden's Combination Bait, nice but lacking its hair squeaked past high estimate of $700 to close at $750, and a very rare South Bend Fly Rod Lure Catalog, 1922, closed right at low estimate of $750.

Among the most notable bargains of the day was a Wonderful Vermont Basket Weave Creel. Estimated to bring between $300 and $500, this beautiful creel in nearly new condition waltzed away at a surprising $45. Meanwhile, a Rare Carved Trout Winchester Advertising piece, estimated between $300 and $500 went home with a happy collector for a mere $90. A framed collection of Miscellaneous fishing tools sold at nearly half its estimated low of $800, going home for $325.

An outstanding early fly fishing creel made by the George Lawrence Company in Portland Oregon, established in 1857, estimated at $1,500-$2,000, closed just below estimate at $1,450.

A rare Woods Expert offered in its correct box and fresh out of an old tackle box, exceeded high estimate of $3,000, closing at $3,200.

Auctions through the end of the year include the monthly Arts and Antiques Auction on Sunday, November 14, a Christmas Gifts and Collectibles Auction on Sunday, November 28th, and a Costume, Bakelite and Estate Jewelry Auction on Sunday, December 12. Consignments are still being accepted for these sales as well as the monthly Arts and Antiques Auction in January. For more information about these or upcoming auctions, visit our website at or call (317) 251-5635.

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