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5 Antique Fishing Lures Worth a Pretty Penny

These are the five most valuable antique fishing lures.

Image via Lang's Auction/Wall Street Journal
Lang's Auction/Wall Street Journal

Have you ever stumbled on some vintage tackle at a garage sale or in your relative's attic and wondered, "Is this stuff worth anything?"

Well, if you've acquired any of these five lures, I've got some good news for you: You're flush.

These lures are worth thousands and thousands of dollars. In fact, the antique fishing lure pictured above, the Giant Haskell Minnow, sold at auction for $101,200.

You could buy all the tackle you'd ever desired with that amount of scratch, or better yet, buy a spiffin' new boat.

So what makes these vintage lures so valuable? In general, the value of an antique fishing lure is determined by its scarcity, beauty, craftsmanship and condition. The five lures highlighted in this slideshow are all super rare, and most of them were made more than a century ago.

Once in a while, a collector will turn up with one of these lures or claim that there are more in existence, but really there are only a few of them out there in the big wide world.

Most of these vintage lures are featured on Bassmaster's list The 35 Most Valuable Antique Lures. Their list is definitely worth checking out.

Check out the 5 most valuable antique fishing lures.

1853 Giant Copper Haskell Giant Minnow

Lang's Auction/Wall Street Journal

The coveted 1853 copper Giant Haskell Minnow is arguably the rarest antique lure of all time; There's only one of them known to be in existence. In 2003, the lure was sold at Lang's Discovery Auction in Waterville, N.Y. for $101,200.

The auction company said, "It's Holy Grail of fishing lures." The six-inch copper lure has a rotating fin with two upward hooks on its tail. It's so valuable because it is the only lure of its size and type in existence. Gun maker Riley Haskell patented the design in 1859. He also made 4 1/2 versions of the Haskell Minnow, which have an auction value of $10,000-$15,000.

Heddon Frog

Live Auctioneers

The Heddon Frog Lure is another contender for the rarest and most sought after antique fishing lure. In 1897, honey-maker James Heddon started hand carving wooden frog lures to give to honey distributors as a way to persuade them into buying his honey.

Heddon went on to found the first artificial lure company in 1902. His company made several other wooden lures, but none are as sought after as his first wooden frog. The crude lure has a hook on every leg and a large treble hook on its underside. There are only eight Heddon frog lures in existence today. They typically sell for $30,000 at auction.

Krantz & Smith Chautauqua Minnow

Live Auctioneers

The Chautauqua Minnow is an incredibly rare find for antique fishing lures collectors; only a handful were ever made. Produced by Krantz & Smith of Jamestown New York 908, the Chautauqua Minnow was advertised as America's first weedless lure.

It's pretty, but it wasn't very good at catching fish. That's why only a small batch of them were ever produced. If you own one, you might be able to put your kid through college with it; Chautaqua Minnows have sold for $35,000 at auction before, but their estimated value is around $12,000.

Heddon Night Radiant

Live Auctioneers

The Heddon Night Radiant is second rarest vintage Heddon lure. The company released this topwater plug in 1912, but never listed in their catalogs.

The Heddon Night Radiant comes in two variations: a five-inch lure with four treble hooks and a four-inch edition with three treble hooks. Some were white with a painted black stripe down the back, and others were plain ivory color. The Heddon Night Radiant is worth around $10,000.

Comstock Flying Hellgrammite

Live Auctioneers

The Comstock Flying Hellgrammite is considered by some collectors to be the first wooden lure ever made. It's an imitation of a larvae-stage dobsonfly, also called Hellgrammites.

This lure has a wooden body with beady red glass eyes and copper parts. Harry Comstock claimed to have the first Flying Hellgrammite lure design, so when rival lure maker Pflueger released their version, he took them to court and won. Pflueger released their own version of the Hellgrammite, which is also among the most sought after antique lures.

Comstock's version is worth around $12,000 while Plunger's knockoff, also called the Flying Hellgrammite, is worth around $10,000.

5 Antique Fishing Lures Worth a Pretty Penny