The local Apache Junction Auction is an inexpensive source of entertainment. And at times it can be profitable.
Liz and I go every Saturday evening, and try to cap our spending to less than $50. We look for oddball items and useful items that we normally would not buy for ourselves, but when they can be had for a bargain…
We also keep an eye out for unusual items that we can resell on eBay for a profit, to pay for the night. Last week I saw a table with boxes of fishing tackle. These are very common here, as we have three very large lakes with good fresh water fishing.
I knew that certain lures were collectible, but other than that, did not know much about which lures were valuable. one of the boxes was chock full of old wood fishing lures. I told Liz we had to take a chance on that box – and when the bid reached $30 I got very anxious.
That night, after the auction, we did a crash course on vontage fishing lures. My fears were allayed – I was certain that our purchase would pay for itself. Already a vintage Heddon River Runt has been bid to more than we paid for the lot. Everything else, as they say, is cake.
For the most part, researchng the lures was easy; they all had maker’s marks and names on them. There were a few Heddons, which are among the most collectible. There were quite a few argogast, some wood, some plastic. But three unmarked lures confounded all of our attempts at identification. I suspected they were handmade.
I searched every conceivable string of terms with Google set to display images, and came up empty. The lures are distinct, wood bodies with metal tails, and painted orange and black eyes. I knew they had to be 1940’s vintage, possibly early 50’s – or possibly folk art crafted.
today I searched for images of Argogast Mud Bugs – because these lures are similar in design, with a few distinct differences – Argogast tails have three scallops whereas these have two. And these all sported Luxor links – Luxor is a highly regarded manufacturer of fishing equipment.
I stumbled upon a photo on a fishing blog that featured Argoast Mud Bugs as well as two lures similar to mine.The blogger stated they were Wood Bombs by the Bomber Lure Company based in Gainesville, Texas.
A search of Wood Bombs yielded a surplus of information. The company, started in 1944, is still in operation today. These wood lures were manufactured between 1944 and 1949, more than likely. In 1949, the company switched to plastic lures, which bombed. The plastic lures performed so poorly, they almost went bankrupt.
The early lures were entirely hand made. Even after machinery was added to the production line, assembly was all by hand. The Red Head (red and white lure) and the Black Lure (duh – the black one) – the official names – were all probably hand dipped in paint. The Frog (the green one with yellow spots) apears to have some airbrush work.
The eyes are all hand painted – using the heads of nails. Onenail would be dipped in orange paint and touched to the ure, then a smaller nail would be used to apply the black.
Anyway – there have been no bids on these lures as of yet – so we are going to change the description to include the name of the lure. The sell in the five dollar range on eBay – and very few go unsold when properly identified in the listings.
All in all, it was a profitable risk – I will be looking more closely at the fishing tackle boxes from here on out.