"What I'm collecting is the history of fishing."
Anyone who has ever gone fishing knows how addictive the sport can be,but the attraction goes well beyond just throwing out a line. Fishing in the past was a necessity, a means of survival dating back over 40,00 years.
Now it's mostly a recreation,and fishing is one of the country's fastest growing sports. That growth is reflected in interest off the water as well. Antique lure collecting is a popular hobby, growing as fast as the sport itself, with collectors getting hooked as easily as a Lake Erie Bass.
Joe Walkowski is a long time angler who always had an interest in old lures, but a chance meeting turned that into a lifelong pursuit. " I met a guy at a sportsmen's show, and he was a collector, he had cases and cases of old fishing lures. He mentioned the National Fishing Lures Collectors Club, I joined, I bought references, and from that, I just got specific and started collecting more and more."
Today's fishing lures are produced on a large scale, and most have little interest for collectors. The real attraction are older lures, mostly those made pre World War II. As the old saying goes, "They just don't make 'em like that anymore", and Walkowski agrees." The lures were hand made, they have as many as seventeen different coats of paint , spinners were put on, they were drilled, and they weren't mass produced at all, they were made one at time, there was painting done by hand, they're just vintage."
Though the lures are the main quarry to the hobbyist, the boxes the lures were packaged in are even more rare. The boxes were made of wood or cardboard, and their fragile construction makes them even harder to find than the lures themselves, and finding them together can add value to the lure, explains Walkowski.
" Some people like to have the complete package. Not only the lure and the box, but usually a little pocket catalog that goes inside of it, and the catalog again, would add half again the value for it."
Given our proximity to Canada and the Great Lakes, it should come as no surprise that Buffalo once was home to a number of fishing tackle manufacturers. " The Lowe Company was in Buffalo in the 1880's" says Walkowski " Lyons and Colson, although they didn't make their own tackle retailed tackle from other companies. Bill Baylor made vey un usual fishing lures in Buffalo around 1926, there are some very unusual pieces made in Buffalo."
Though there are lures that are worth a pretty penny, for the most part, antique lure collecting is not a lucrative endeavor. The value of the lures goes far beyond mere monetary worth.
" It's very personal. What I collect someone else might not care about, and what someone else collects, I may care about. It's all an individual thing."
If you're interested in buying,selling or just talking fishing lures, you can contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org