Antique Lures


 How to Collect Antique Lures

Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced  


  • Beginners: people who know little or nothing and want to learn.  Color them green.

  • Intermediate: people who thought they knew something and have been screwed-over enough times to have learned for sure they know nothing and need to learn more.  This person wears rose colored glasses and looks a slightly darker shade of greenish-brown.

  • Advanced:  people who  have been screwed-over so many times they are convinced they will never learn enough to succeed at this hobby.  Expect to see them totally dressed in black with a tall pointed hat which has a crescent moon and stars above.

If you are among those of us who count themselves as beginners, first let me welcome you to the Club.  The Club is composed of a bunch of nutty guys and gals who love to buy, sell, or trade old fishing lures.  For additional information on the Club, I refer you to the article on the NFLCC.  That should clear up any misconceptions you may have concerning with whom you are dealing.

As a beginner, you have no business buying anything priced over $30 until you have attended at least one major tackle show and completely read Luckey's book from front to back at least twice.  If you ignore this advice, you are in serious danger of losing the rent money to a man who will gladly relieve you of your hard earned money.  Since you will want to understand you are in good company and there are lots more people like yourself out there.

What should you collect as a beginner?  Collect only a few things and all of them should be in excellent condition.   If you don't understand excellent, look at the information on grading lures.  Once you figure out how to grade lures, then start looking at boxes.  After you become totally confused from those two articles, you should study the various factors that change grades.  Now you are ready to make a purchase.  Do not go to eBay and buy anything.  You don't know enough to do it yet.  You need to hold a lot of lures in your hands before you bid on eBay.   

First you have to decide what you like.  If you like Creek Chub, then you need Smith's book on Creek Chub.  Want to dive into Heddon lures?  You will need Luckey's book as well as Edmisten and Murphy's book to help you identify the various lures and colors.   Colors are important and you have to know what is rare and what is not.  Look at the two pages of Heddon colors for a sampling of lures so you get the idea of what is rare and what is not.  Don't even think of collecting early miscellaneous to start.  It's too difficult and you'll get ripped six ways to Sunday buying in that area to start.  Wait a couple of years if that area is of interest or get a mentor to help you with the fine points.

Speaking of a mentor, if you are fortunate enough to have one, count your blessings.  With eBay coming on so strong, getting in a position to acquire a mentor at at show is going to be difficult.  The advantage of attending shows is the chances or you meeting someone who will help is much greater.  If you only buy on eBay the odds are zero.

Often, what you collect is what you find in the field or is given to you by a relative.  Acquiring an existing collection is the best start possible because you are going to need a way to make up your mind what you want to "major in".  Like college, you will change your major area of interest more than once.  The objective is to learn with each change.

Speaking of learning.   Click here for about 30 pages of Knowledge for you to read which covers all kinds of topics and you need to study this information along with your identification books.


Assuming you have gotten past the accumulation phase of collecting.  I suggest you refine your education with visits to the NFLCC National or regionals in the northern states surrounding the great lure belt around the Michigan and Ohio area as often as possible.  That is the seat of learning the fine points.  It's where the old dudes live and speak in tongues of the lure.  Here are some articles which may help you better understand some of the thinking I've been through, but nothing will serve you better than experience.

So you want to INVEST in lures...beware.

If you think you know what you don't want to  collect at this stage, the best advice I could give you is to specialize and learn everything you can about a given area.  No one, other than a couple of people I can name, can learn it all, so it's best to specialize.  I specialized in early Shakespeare and certain areas of Heddon.  Outside my little areas I read about, I really don't think I know much.  But, I do know where to look it up or who to ask if I don't know the answer.  Kind of like school when the teacher told you to go to the library and look it up.  I can do that.  


Who the heck am I to tell anyone what to do or collect that thinks they are advanced?  God help us both.


Have lures or reels you want  to sell?   Contact Gabby Talkington:  Contact information

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