How Do I Identify Antique Fishing Lures?

How Do I Identify Antique Fishing Lures?Collecting antique fishing lures will take you through the history of fishing. Until about the late 1800s, people made their own lures. After that time, lures were mass produced. These manufactured lures are the most commonly found antique fishing lures.

Despite being mass-produced, many lures from the late 1800s to early 1900s are highly collectible and sometimes are worth a lot of money. Whether you're collecting as a hobby or for an investment, you'll find a great diversity in sizes, shapes and designs of antique lures.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Antique lure identification book
Step 1
Read the box information if it comes with the lure. Although there were dozens of lure manufacturers in the late 1800s to early 1900s, the most popular were made by the big five: Heddon, Shakespeare, Creek Chub, Pflueger and South Bend.
According to collector Joe Yates in an interview with "Collectors Weekly," only Shakespeare is still in business in its original form. If the box appears old and has one of these company names, it is likely an antique.
Step 2
Look for the writing on the lure. Some lures will have the manufacturer's name written on it.
Step 3
Evaluate the material of the lure body. Older antique lures were not made of plastic. Wood and other metals were commonly used before the invention of plastic. Yates says antique Native American lures would be made of bones and stones.
Step 4
Bring an antique lure identification guide with you when seeking out antique lures. Yates recommends books by Carl Luckey, author of "Old Fishing Lures & Tackle: Identification & Value Guide," and Karl White, author of "Fishing Tackle Antiques and Collectables."

Article Written By Lynn Anders

Lynn Anders has more than 15 years of professional experience working as a zookeeper, wildlife/environmental/conservation educator and in nonprofit pet rescue. Writing since 2007, her work has appeared on various websites, covering pet-related, environmental, financial and parenting topics. Anders has a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies and biology from California State University, Sacramento.

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